Marketing is always a tough nut for the artist. All he wants to do is create, but then there comes a point where he must market what he creates in order to survive and continue creating.
It is tough when you have a product that you know is superior, but lose sales because some large corporation has more marketing clout.
This happened many times with me in the 1980s when customers would be on the brink of buying one of my bikes, then at the last moment opt for a Japanese Nishiki, on Centurion. Both good bicycles of that era, but could never compare to a hand built frame made by an individual craftsman.
The only reason they did this was marketing. These large manufacturers could place full page color ads in Bicycling Magazine. But at $10,000 a pop for a such an ad there was no way I could compete.
I had to rely on bicycle dealers to sell to a small group of hard core cyclists who could appreciate the difference between a limited production hand built frame, and a factory mass produced item.
Today the Internet levels the playing field somewhat but only slightly. It still takes time and effort for an individual to build a following with social media, websites, etc. Does the individual artist have the time or inclination to do that?
I also feel it is a big mistake to be too pushy. I don’t know about you, but it turns me off when the only message people have is buy, buy, buy, whatever it is that I’m selling. I am a strong believer that it is better to give than receive, and if a person keeps writing stuff that people want to read, his needs will always be met. Of course marketing professionals will cringe at this.
I remember back in the 1980s having a conversation with neighboring business owner about the way all our manufacturing jobs were starting to go overseas. He stated, “We will eventually become a nation of people selling insurance to each other.”
I remember his prophesy because it is fast becoming true, we are becoming a nation of marketers. Look at the ads on TV, Big Pharma and Insurance Companies. The only hope insurance companies have of getting new customers, is to steal them from another company. The cost of all this advertising is eventually passed on to the consumer.
With no one is creating or manufacturing anything. (At least not here.) We have an awful lot of people at this moment selling ideas on how we should all market ourselves. We have all manner of consultants, life coaches, and investment coaches. It is like a homeless man on the street begging for change, and being told, “Give me ten dollars and I’ll show you how to monetize your homelessness.”
The old cliché of “The rat race,” is never as true as it is now in these tough economic times, as people scramble over each other to get ahead. A certain amount of marketing is necessary to sell a product, but it saddens me to see worthless brands and ideas that serve no other purpose but to take people’s money. Don’t push your fellow man down to get ahead, help him over the obstacle first, and he in turn will help you over.