Marketing for Artists – The Four P’s + Free Worksheets

Girl Shelling Peas by Winslow Homer

P’s are not just for shelling – they are great way to look at your marketing activities!

Next to creating your art, the most important function in your art business is marketing. If you are not concerned about marketing then you are more likely just pursuing your passion or engaging in a hobby. If you are looking to grow your brand, expand your markets and make money, then marketing should be on your list of business skills to master.

What is marketing?

There are a lot of ways to look at a subject or concept and marketing is no different. People confuse marketing with sales or marketing with advertising. Marketing is a broad concept that encompasses much more.

According to the American Marketing Association, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large “ While this is certainly a comprehensive definition what does it really mean?

The Four P’s of marketing

The 4 P's provide a framework to plan your art marketing efforts

The 4 P’s provide a framework to plan your art marketing efforts

One way to look at marketing is what has become to be known as the Four P’s. The concept of the Four P’s was developed by E. Jerome McCarthy in his 1960 book, Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach as a way to categorize the main elements that go into marketing. As a business owner or marketing manager you have control of how you use these elements in your marketing efforts in what has become known as your “marketing mix”.

The Four P’s stand for:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place (Distribution)
  • Promotion


This part of the model is about your art, your products and the services you provide. You may have a hard time of thinking of your art as a product but to succeed in the marketing world you will need to put these thoughts aside. Here are some of the ingredients that go into the Product part of the marketing mix:

  • Product offerings – originals, prints, reproductions, designs
  • Service offerings – consultations, hanging, coordination, framing
  • Selection, options
  • Sizes
  • Packaging
  • Genre, style, fashion
  • Service and support
  • Guarantees and warranties


  • The price element of your marketing mix relates to your pricing strategy. Some of the ingredients of price are:
  • Your overall pricing strategy with respect to your competition and your market.
  • Payment and terms your offer
  • Discounts and other types of sales promotions
  • Pricing for retail, galleries, wholesalers and other channels
  • Types of payments accepted


Place is better described as where you distribute and sell your art. Examples of distribution alternatives include: selling out of your studio, having a gallery represent you, utilizing an art representative or selling on the internet just to name a few. The Place components of your marketing mix include:

  • Channels of distribution – gallery, studio, retail, shows, internet
  • Geographic coverage – local, regional, national, worldwide
  • Inventory levels and management
  • Transportation and delivery
  • Order processing and fulfillment


When most people (and many business people as well) think of marketing they are really describing the Promotion piece of the marketing mix. As you have seen there is much more to marketing! Here are a few of the components that go into making up the Promotion part of the Four P’s:

  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Selling
  • Promotions
  • Internet
  • Social media and networking
  • Direct marketing

The bottom line(s)…

Ok, these are the basic elements of marketing. I invite you to download these free worksheets to help you organize your thoughts on what should go into your marketing mix here: Creatives and Business 4 P’s Worksheets.

Take some time and think about what you want to change about your marketing efforts. In future articles we will discuss ideas and strategies on how to really stir up your “Marketing Mix”  Good Luck! – Neil


Neil McKenzie 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