The core decision-making principles of marketing professionals are the same regardless of whether you are marketing your art on a ‘shoe-string’ zero budget or have gazillions to spend.  Learning how to make decisions like a marketing expert will directly benefit your bottom line. Follow these five principles for success.

  1. Objectives & Plan – where are you now, where do you want to be and how will you get there? By following a clear strategy, when you are making decisions you can ask yourself ‘will this get me closer to my goal’ or is it a ‘distraction’. Don’t be afraid to turn down opportunities if it doesn’t fit with your overall plans. Avoid shiny pennies and jumping from one plan to the next.
  2. Market Research – Know your niche and target customer. Be clear about the type of artist you are and what makes you unique. Identify what kind of potential customers desire your work and learn as much as possible about them. Benchmark yourself against successful artists who are already operating in your niche (your competitors).  You can then easily decide how to engage more successfully with new customers or target existing buyers more easily.
  3. Brand –  ensure your brand values and essence are reflected and communicated accurately across your marketing mix (4-ps), see next point. In layman terms, your brand is the impression you give people, it is a timeless concept. As an artist, your brand essence is a blend of your artwork, your attitude, your story and your goals. This also may involve the use of logos, a consistent tone in copy and content, style of photographs of your artwork, stationary, etc.
  4. Marketing Mix – 4Ps These are at the heart of your strategy for decision making.
    •  Product (artwork) – essentially this will cover everything from your physical artwork (medium, style, subject) to framing and decisions as to whether you decide to license your artwork, specialise in originals only or allow limited editions.
    •  Price – Know whether you are charging the right fees for your artwork in your niche. Monitor and review regularly. 
    •  Place – Select where your artwork is sold and also exhibited. Decide your distribution strategy whether that is independent, represented, or a combination.  Online, Galleries, Publishers, Museums, Art Consultants, etc.
    •  Promotion – PR, marketing and communications to your target customers. This will cover online (website, email, paid for advertising, social media, blogs) as well as traditional offline channels such as events and PR.
  1. Measurement – determine key metrics so you can monitor and review if your marketing activity is working. For social media, you can look at analytics such as shares, likes, comments, click throughs. If you are brand building you can review google analytics. Or you may want to look at sales conversions (revenue). The same goes for your email campaigns for open and read rates and click throughs. Establish your baseline and review regularly.

There is an old adage that 50% of money spent on marketing is wasted. Even if you aren’t spending physical money on promotion, there is still a cost to your time. Some marketing works and some don’t, so it’s important to determine which 50% is working. Following the above steps, you will be able to make decisions like a marketing professional.