Twenty years ago, the Cowboy Junkies released close to a perfect breakthrough album. It sold a bazillion copies.
Every since, they’ve been touring, making a living on the road as they’ve released almost twenty records, none of them monster hits in the US. The paradox occurs at their concerts… when they play one of the old hits, the crowd goes wild. The people most likely to come to their concerts are the ones most likely to encourage them to become an oldies act. Of course, once the group does that, people are going to stop showing up.
Marketers of all stripes face the same challenge. Your current customers want nothing but the old stuff, but the new customers don’t know you exist, so they can’t speak up.
[Clarification! I love the Junkies. I saw them last night. They were spectacular… I own more than half their twenty CDs and you should too… my point, which was defeated by brevity, is that the fans create the paradox. The fans, the ones that should be cheering on the hits and the misses, the ones that should be demanding the next thing, they are the ones that create the paradox, because they’re the ones that cheer loudest for the old songs.]