Myths, Art and Marketing

In the art world... there is a marketplace which is used for a primitive practice called trading. Where those with goods chase those with money and those with money chase those with goods, until they catch each other.  Unfortunately, it is not always so, sometime those with goods search in vain for those with money and vice versa.  Some magic is needed, to bring the two together...Professionals call this magic ’MARKETING’.  - Michael McDonald

  Many people have asked, is marketing advertising or is it selling?

 Let’s examine the association between these two communication functions objectively. 

A sale is one of the aims of the marketing dynamics; however, a sale is a culmination of various marketing undertakings. Furthermore, the functionality of a sale ignores the importance of product management, pricing, distribution and other forms of communication. Therefore, a sale is one facet of marketing - it is not marketing. 
     Advertising which is the public promotion of something such as a product, service, business, or event in order to attract or increase interest in it - is only one part of the ‘promotion’ factor in the marketing. Even though advertising is vital in the success of any public campaign and must be taken into account in any career strategy - it’s not marketing! 

Marketing, relative to the trade of artwork provides a coherent framework which assist mediators (art marketers) of artwork or artistic talent to formulate the courses of action to achieve their objectives. The marketing process is designed to structure the information gathering efforts needed to support the decision-making process. As a result, the facts uncovered is vital for formulating (sales approach or promotional campaign) effective strategies to score with the right audience. Scientifically stated, ‘Marketing is the bridge needed to understanding consumers and communicating with them via the marketplace.”
    Let’s objectively address the correlation between the marketplace and the inclusion of artwork from a historical perspective. The art market is not a twentieth century intervention driven by dealers and gallery owners to manipulate artists.  History indicates the art market originated over five-hundred years ago in the coastal town of Antwerp Belgium. During that era many artists peddled ready-made pieces hoping to attract and sell to passersby. However, as the demand for artistic objects became more complex, there was the growth of intermediaries (a.k.a. art merchants) who became the link between artists and benefactors. In the art world mediators are the industry orators of artistic value and produce most the marketing activities around the globe.

    Like any other industry the marketplace has its critics.

 There have been numerous authors claiming marketing clashed with the various philosophies of art and the values of artists:
  1)   According to those writers marketing is considered by some artists as “troubled, irrelevant, with an over-reliant on rules. The assertions are based on the premise, creativity is an experimental journey correspondingly, should the process of marketing.

(a)  Based on those claims, the process of understanding how the marketplace operates is considered troublesome, the interest of buyers is irrelevant and the contingent on the rules of the free market system is not appropriate when it comes to the diffusion of artwork.
(2)  In some artistic circles the “Marketing’s formula-based thinking focused too much on selling products rather than creating markets.

(a)  Even though selling is one use of the marketing function, the main task is gathering information needed to understand the marketplace so the artist can formulate a plan of action to effectively engage the targeted participants.

(i)   The information ascertained from a comprehensive marketing effort can be used for creating strategies, identifying markets, cultivating suppliers, understanding the local culture, finding funding resources and exploiting opportunities in existing markets as well.

              (3) Other authors have implied the ‘marketing concept” does not match the behavior and philosophy of a narrow group of artists because of those people personal values and the social norms, which allegedly impact the artistic creative process. In addition, in their view the marketing concept somehow interferes with creative production of today‘s artists.

                   (a) Those implications falsely assert that a philosophy of focusing on customer’s needs somehow disturb the artist ability to think artistically, and such interferes with creative production of the artist.
                       (i) Which also implied that most artists are easily distracted.
    So what do we know about marketing? 
 Modern marketing originated during the 1900’s as a normative management discipline. The term ‘marketing’ in some circles refers to a form of communication; however, ‘marketing’ is a lot more extensive than the general definition stipulated in typical dictionaries. The major role of the marketing function is to identify the environment, characterize the population and narrow the communication perimeter which associates with the specific market. The explicit information obtained from such processes help fuel the subsequent stages to produce the segment specific promotional and advertising campaigns. The construct of any campaign or endeavor is interdependent on understanding the details divulge from the marketing process such as the needs and wants of consumers, capacity to offer the product or services and the selection of channels in the form buyers expect.
Marketing is a critical function that defines the language, environment and channel needed to articulate a product offering as well as communicating its value to a certain market of buyers. As a function, marketing is a multiple staged management process.  The implementation can be implemented before, during or after the product is produced.  The marketplace and marketing coincide with premise - success is based on understand the needs and wants of consumers and providing them with the products or services profitably.

[1] E.A. Honig 1998, ‘Painting and the Market in Early Modern Antwerp, London: Yale University Press.
[2] E. C Hrischman 1983, ‘Aesthetics, ideologies and the limits of the marketing concept’, Journal of Marketing.
[3] G. S. Day and D.B. Montgomery 1999, ‘Charting new directions for marketing,’ Journal of Marketing.

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