Writing a series on marketing has taught me several things.
1. It would be possible to write about this stuff every week and still not cover everything...and I am quite through with this!
2. I never say as much as I mean to, but can fill up this space quite quickly with observations.
3. There are lots of people far more qualified than I to talk about this, and I am going to leave them to it!
This is my final entry in this series, and I mean to quickly wrap up my observations!
1. The Questions I Consider About Marketing
2. Branding: Do You Have A Logo? Do You Need One?
7. Marketing 101: The Wrap Up!
I will endeavor to go through the last few points I want to make about this subject in this series.
1. Ghosts Of Marketing Past!
1. When I was a wee, baby storyteller back in the olden days, we used carrier pigeons to get out our message. Yes, then came Western Union and ultimately the post office...the thing we now call snail mail. These days, The David rarely uses the snail mail for marketing; contracts, yes, but that is about it.
This means we no longer send out postcards. I used to design these myself, and I enjoyed it. We used Modern Postcards back in the day because they were one of the few services that offered what we needed. Today there are lots of companies that offer services like this.
Barely scratched the surface! The coolest thing about this is that they will print and mail the cards for you. All you have to do is send in the designs. It is a no muss no fuss type of thing.
Personally, I love postcards, and we got an okay return. In other words, they paid for themselves plus a little extra. I, however, am not in charge of marketing in my company....The David is, and The David controls the budget.
What do we do instead? We have a vigorous online marketing strategy. The David painstakingly creates comprehensive email lists of schools and libraries in every state in which we market. He also finds out exactly who is in charge of booking cultural arts events for each school. This targeted marketing is much more effective in terms of reaching our potential clients. It also allows him to include links the client can click and instantly see the product they might be buying.
Not nearly as sexy as postcards, labor intensive, but the return is much better, and since he does it in-house it doesn't cost us a penny extra.
2. Online or Hard Copy Directories
There are companies that ask you to pay a fee, join a directory, and let them do the marketing for you. They say their directories are distributed far and wide, and your work will end up in front of thousands upon thousands of potential clients. We have signed up for things like this in the past. We no longer use them.
Now, that does not mean these services are not worthwhile for some artists, but we were never able to track the efficacy of these services. When it comes to our marketing budget, if we are shelling out cash for something, we need to be able to track the return. If we cannot see a return on our investment, we discontinue a service. We typically give such services like this two or three years.
There may be artists who have found such services financially lucrative or at least a good brick in their marketing strategy, but they have never worked for us.
The reason for this is that most of our work is in schools. The contacts for schools change on a regular basis. They have lots of other ways to find artists and are not as likely to use these directories. Libraries don't seem to use them either. If you work in theaters or have some other type of venue, these might work excellently well.
3. We no longer create marketing pieces in-house. They are always outsourced.
4. Is there something you used to do that you no longer do, but someone else might want to try? Leave it in the comments section!
2. Other Marketing Resources -
There are lots and lots of blogs that deal with marketing. Just type in what sort of advice you need into Google, and let the internet do its thing.
As for me, I have taken any number of workshops about marketing. There are, however, two that stand out as being exceptional.
Dianne De Las Casas offers an in-depth marketing workshop. You want to know how to reach people, get your name out there and shock the world? Find out where this woman is offering a workshop, and take it!
The other one that struck me as being a stand out in the world of marketing workshops was given by my blogging goddess mentor Karen Langford Chace, and the dashing Simon Brooks.
|Karen Langford Chace|
One of the coolest things about the workshop they designed is that it not only talks about marketing strategies, but offers a comprehensive look at what type of storyteller you are, what might be your strengths, and what you are most proud of as a performer. The questionnaires they created help you figure out not only how to market, but WHAT to market. It is a very clever approach, and highly effective if you are at the beginning of your marketing career, or thinking about taking it up a notch.
There is so much more that could be said about resources and books and people, but I will stop with these two. I did say that one could spend their entire life writing a blog about marketing, and that is not my intention! If you have a link to or a suggestion for who gives a bang up workshop, or a great book you read, feel free to offer that information in the comments section so we can all benefit from it!
3. The Marketing budget
How much money should you be spending on marketing?
Well, here are some questions.
How much did you actually spend on marketing last year? Do you know? Do you track that? What counts as marketing
-Hard and soft marketing
-Advertising in Publications
-Fees for arts councils
Can you make a good estimate as to which of your activities produces the most revenue?
Once you know what you spent and what you earned, you will be able to figure out what percentage of your gross was spent on marketing, and what sort of returns you got. This brings us to the burning question:
The simple answer is if you want to grow your business you have to invest in your marketing strategies. Not all marketing strategies are alike. It isn't a bad idea to sit down and evaluate your various marketing activities.
The best way to track efficacy is to simply ask anyone who books you how they found out about you. In fact, as The David just reminded me, it is the ONLY way to track that!
Some marketing strategies require time to reach fruition, some need to be rolled out at once, some are ongoing. How are they serving you? If there is something you are doing that is a continuous drain on your resources with no clear reason to continue doing it, then it might be time to consider reinvesting that capital somewhere else.
The more I write about this the more I realize there are lots of things I never even touched upon...but that will have to be for another day and another time.
There are lots and lots of ways to market yourself. I am sure you have come up with clever ways to get the word out about your work and the products you offer.
This series deals only with the paper products we produce, it does not touch on all of the other marketing that we do!
In future blogs, if I say, "You've got to market like crazy every year just to keep your hand in the game", this is the sort of thing I mean.
Producing and distributing marketing materials that are professional and effective can increase your bottom line, improve your market share, and let everybody know that we storytellers are not in this as a hobby.
Storytelling is a profession, and it deserves to be treated as such.
Happy Marketing -