October 18, 2017 – Los Angeles: Every morning in the African plains, a gazelle awakes knowing it must outrun the fastest lion or it will take its last breath. Every morning a lion awakens and knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up—you had better be running.
So how does one get an art business running? The answer is marketing. You need to know the basics of marketing.
It will make or break your business as an artist.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines marketing as “The commercial functions involved in transferring goods from producer to consumer.” Thus marketing includes everything from the beginning to the end of delivering a product or service to a customer, client or patient.
Marketing embraces all areas of advertising, promotion, sales, web sites, signage, logos and public relations and, in fact, permeates every aspect of any modern business from product or service development to promotion right on through to customers recommending your services to their friends and associates.
So marketing needs to be taken into account when naming your business, designing your letterhead, how your receptionist answers the phone and even the color of your furniture. Live and breathe marketing every single day and get all your staff to do the same. The most successful companies in the world do exactly that and any successful art enterprise also needs to do that as well.
Some of these actions can be outsourced but you will need to know what they are and how they basically work before you will be able to outsource them. Even with independent contractors such as designers, web programmers, etc., they have to be supervised and you have to know what you want.
If you ever talk to someone on how their art business is going, you will find the successful ones are knowingly or unknowingly using marketing. So make it easier on yourself, learn some marketing basics to boom your business. Marketing is what increases sales and profits.
You have spent all those years developing your art. Whether you are a musician, a singer, a writer, a sculptor, or a painter—you need to learn the basics of another technology called marketing.
There is lots of false and misleading information out there, so you need to keep your wits about you when undertaking marketing actions. If you search the term “marketing” on the search engine Google, you will find almost 15 million entries. So there are a lot of opinions on marketing.
The marketing process is in four stages:
Research—“know before you go” through market research and surveys. This is a vital, vital step that is often skipped or poorly done. Imagine building a house without a set of plans—no one would even think of doing it.
Strategy and Planning—the creation of the campaign. Once the research has been done, then you will need bright ideas based on your surveys on how to market your product or service. This would include a few or many tools of marketing. Often a new product is launched with public relations, then followed with advertising. A campaign is often used in a military sense such as “A series of actions embarked on to achieve an objective during a war”. In a marketing context, a campaign is a series of actions or targets to achieve an objective in alignment with the purpose of the business. Successful marketing campaigns are seldom a single action—it is typically many actions done in the correct sequence and fully coordinated. Management sets the goals and marketing gets them attained.
Execution—this is getting the planning done in the correct sequence. Creating a new product without doing research and surveys is the wrong sequence. Many business failures are due to “jumping right in” with expensive promotion of a product or service that no body wants except your mother. Remember all the dot.com’s that were somebody’s brainchild that are long gone?
Review and evaluation—adjust the campaign as needed and exploit all advances or to handle a problem. You will need to react quickly to opportunities or barriers to expand and prosper. Small businesses have a big advantage over big business as they can spot problems or opportunities earlier and move quickly to deal with them.
If you want to be a successful lion and not starve to death, get smart and learn the basics of marketing. Your survival depends on how well you do marketing. And any artist who is surviving by making money is in business!