These words headlined an article in the Sunday Times. A definition of manipulation is ‘shrewd management for one’s own advantage’ and since that is what is at the heart of pitching, what lessons can we take from the amazing Madonna.
First of all, she appears to leave absolutely nothing to chance. Her ‘bitchy’ brother recounts how every single minute of his sister’s day is planned and accounted for. The interviewer, Dan Cairns, paints a picture of ‘logistical and organisational rigour. Discipline, control, precision’.
Then she creates great content! As she says ” the song comes first”, from the early Material Girl through to Like A Prayer to becoming the most successful female recording artist of all time. However she is well aware that, while many appreciate her for the music, more buy into her as a “sort of cultural phenomenon.”
This is where her unique genius as a performer kicks in. She understands that people listen to her songs and react visually more than musically, that they remember the ‘imagistic’ things, cone bras, burning crosses, what she terms ‘manipulation, provocation’.
Finally, one commentator suggested her success was down to her ability to absorb knowledge to keep one step ahead. Her classy reply:
“Well, yeah. We can all take in information. It’s how we regurgitate it that makes us different. Right?”