Matching Your Art with Your Customers

If you have been reading Creatives and Business you should know how important it is to segment your products and services (your art) as well as segment your customer or customer groups. The next step in the planning and marketing process is to match up your product segments with your customers groups. Once you have matched the right product with the right customer group you can then begin to develop effective marketing strategies for each combination – this is called “Target Marketing”. The opposite of target marketing is often called “Shotgun Marketing” – you might as well drop leaflets from an airplane in no place particular!

A little review is in order:

Segmenting Your Products or Services

The idea here is to put your products or services into broad categories where they have commonalities. For example you could group your art into landscapes, still lifes, original art, reproductions, prints or possibly by size. You might have categories that overlap such as landscape originals, landscape prints, small landscape originals or any other categories that make sense for your business. Here are the basic steps in segmenting your products or services.

Identify the various products or product groups you sell and create a list. See: Business Plan Basics For Artists and Creative Entrepreneurs – Your Product List for more information.

For each of your products or product groups identify the attributes that make each group unique. See: Business Plan Basics for Artists and Creative Entrepreneurs – Your Product Attributes for ideas on your product attributes.

Segmenting Your Customers or Customer Groups

As with your products, the idea here is to put your customers into broad categories of commonality. When you put your customers into groups it is easier to find out what, why and how they buy. When you put your customers into groups it is easier to find more of them – remember: “Birds of a feather flock together”. Here are the basic steps in segmenting your customers.

Develop a list of your customers or customer groups. See: Customer Analysis For Artists and Creatives (Part I) – Focus On Your Customers!

Segment your customers into groups based on their uniqueness or other attributes. See: Customer Analysis for Artists and Creatives (Part II) – Customer Segmentation and Target Markets.

Putting it together – The Customer / Product Matrix

Once you have a list of your Customer or Customer Groups and a list of your Products or Product Groups you are ready to see where you need to target your marketing efforts. The Customer / Product Matrix basically tells you what products you provide to which customer groups – simple! For each customer/product combination you will also want to start to develop a targeted growth strategy. Here are some ideas on how you may want to rate each combination or market segment.

  • This is a current market.
  • This could be a potential market.
  • There is no market or it isn’t something you want to pursue.
  • You want to grow this market segment.
  • You want to hold or keep this market segment steady.
  • You want to decrease your position in this segment.
  • Market Priority

Once you have developed the Customer / Product Matrix you are ready to begin to develop targeted strategies that will help grow your business in a sustainable way. Go for it!

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About Neil McKenzie

Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations. He is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto