Marketing      When it comes to visual art, there has always been confusion over what "marketing" entails. I venture that most artists think of marketing as a sharing of images, posting online and exhibiting. Marketing consists of some different aspects of consumerism that must be considered when designing a campaign. The two approaches most artist engaged in are posting (online) and exhibition.  Surveys revealed that most artists display their work online with no idea to whom they are attempting to connect with or the relative interest of the audience. However, a critical aspect of marketing most artists do not appear to understand is how to use the "Marketing Mix". As the title applies, it is a blend of critical perspectives which builds a successful campaign. The marketing mix consists of four unique but interrelating variables: Product - Pricing - Place and Promotion. 

What does this mean for today's artist?  An artist has a framework which he or she can develop an approach... therefore he or she can no longer echoed these two false premise:
1) Art speaks for itself and
2) Just put it out there.

Artists who are seeking to earn a living must focus on overcoming the challenges of connecting their artwork with the segment of the art's community that shows interested in the style, medium, or content.  In short, today's artist must view marketing their work from a buyer's perspective and as a critical activity in their day-to-day agenda. There are four key items; 1) Understand the potential audience. 2) What approach is required to attract their attention. 3)What it takes to turn a buyer into a customer and 4) What's needed to generate sales. 
        To earn a living in today's art market requires a marketing orientation which in itself demands the understanding of potential buyers behavior. Then matching buyer's preferences with equal product/service offerings: 
Making sure one's art and supporting attributes match a need.  
Ensuring the offering is available at a market price. 
Promoting those products/services on an appropriate channel.
Creating an optimum distribution channel that enable customers to access the product/services being offered.

 Examples of how an artist dismissal of art marketing activity resulted in lost opportunities:

Modern Abstract

Traditional Realism
 a) When an artist style is modern abstract, it's a total waste of time promoting such work to people who collects classical realism.

b) When an artist is completely unknown and believes his work will garner a price of $10,000. 

Negative consequences will also result when selecting venues or  exhibition space based on estimated number of attendees without uncovering the profile of potential visitors. The general outcome is a meager return and a lot of frustration. Knowing how to used the four P's as they relate to making decisions is critical for a successful career in the arts.
When it comes to marketing  "Art", the first stage of marketing is uncovering the three W's of customer profiling. 

 1. Who are the buyers?  - Knowing the buyers profile is essential to select the proper venue, developing effective communication campaign and selling.  For example,  you produce your efforts in English, and your potential buyers are French. 

 2. What is their interest? -  Identify the type of creative output. Example, J. Cohen collect legacy art. Therefore contemporary pop art may not attract interest.

  3. Where do they gather? - The places they tour to acquire art.

 The three W's is essential in identifying an initial customer profile and is a must have for those artists who are seeking to earn a living. The history of the artists does not include marketing.  Many noteworthy artists of the past relied on the wits of the generous benefactors, institutions, and the retail establishments of long ago.  Times have changed in some ways for the better and in others it has caused more artists to struggle. 

The second stage of the process and the most difficult for today's artist to grasps is how to attract the attention of today's buyers. This step depends on the type of art buyer and the market - secondary or primary - the artists is choosing to engage.  As Koons' once noted "As an artist, you've already found yourself in a position where one of the most challenging activities in your career is to attract more potential purchasers for your work."   Before an artist goes public, he or she should have an idea of what to do to attract the attention of a targeted group.  For example, an artist's is targeting young career focus professionals living in condos, they (YP) would be apt to response to a cool video. While an intellectual class are to attracted to classic visual form such as a magazine posting.   Today's artists must create content that resonate to the potential market, not content that sounds hip to them.  Location matters, an artist, should showcase at sites where their potential clientele patronize.  An example most traditional, contemporary art connoisseurs attend major art fairs like the Armory Show or Art Basel.  They review the Art Forum, and they visit upscale venues.
The third stage is communication, send your message to the target group using the channels the potential customers based prefers, not what you favor.  Here is where you must consider a promotion and sales strategy. Chose the media you based on the most preferred option of the target customer based. 

You may decide to contract this function out to a gallery, or  to sell via online galleries, or you may choose to set up your website. If you can get art writers, critics or other journalists to do a story about your work, that's  part of the promotional mix.
 All of these considerations are part of the marketing mix and requires artists who are serious about succeeding to step out of their comfort zone and get into the game. An artist must have a frame of mind which takes all these things into account as marketing will drive the right prospects, and attract the potential audience. "Build it and they will come," seldom works in the real world.

Global Art Network U.S.A. (GAN) is a business strategy and consulting firm in the professional art sector. Organized with six (6) specialized business units, providing art business leadership, human resources and capital generating expertise since being renamed in 2010. Our clients are visual artists, gallery owners and legacy art collectors from around the globe. Our customers received the industry most current and results-oriented assistance in the art industry today. You can connect with GAN at our website www.globalartnetworkusa.com, on Twitter, Facebook,  Pinterest Or email us globalartnetwork@gmail.com. 


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