WHAT IS 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:
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.