Art Marketing – What are Your Really Selling?

Farmers Market

What are you selling, what products are selling more, selling less…

If you have been following the series of articles on the basics of Art Marketing you already know that a traditional way to describe marketing is called the Four P’s. The Four P’s are: Product, Price, Place (Distribution) and Promotion.  In this article we will take a look at the Product part of this marketing model and answer the question – “What are you selling?”

My Artrepreneurship students at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver are required to prepare their Product List as one of the first steps in developing their business and marketing plans. At first glance this seems easy, but trust me, it will require some thinking and examination into what products you make, what they are used for and who the end user is. The process usually goes something like this:

Neil: Ok Suzy, what products do you sell?

Suzy: Jewelry.

Neil: Any particular kind of jewelry?

Suzy: Rings and necklaces.

Neil: What kind of rings?

Suzy: I like to make wedding and engagement rings, they seem very popular. And I also make less expensive rings for daily and special occasion wear.

Neil: Who buys your rings, men or women?

Suzy: Well mostly women but I have made and sold men’s rings. I think I could do more, maybe create and sell both rings as a set.

Neil: So are your customers young or old? Are they just starting out in life or are they people who are getting married later in life?

Suzy: Well my wedding rings are custom designed and made with precious jewels. They aren’t the most expensive rings but they also aren’t cheap.

Neil: So your customers need to have a good amount of disposable income to afford your rings?

Suzy: Yes, I don’t compete with stores and other jewelry designers who sell inexpensive rings.

Neil: Tell me about the rings that your customers buy for everyday wear and for special occasions.

Suzy: …………

Ok, you should get the picture. Develop your list of the products and services that you sell and segment them by their intended use, customers who buy them and the function they provide. If you do this exercise right, you should be well on your way to answering the what, who, why and where of your product or service offerings.

Here are some product examples for artists

Visual Artist

  • Art for commercial advertising uses
  • Art for collectors, galleries, public spaces, gifts or fairs
  • Art for offices or homes
  • Original works or prints
  • Art by type/style – abstract, landscapes, still life, etc.
  • Art by size, price, and materials used.
  • Services provided such as consultations and installation
  • Whether the overall , regional or local market for the product segment is growing, stable or declining.
  • Whether my sales for this product segment are growing, stable or declining (used to help you determine your priorities).

Sculptor

  • Sculpture for collectors, galleries, public spaces or fairs
  • Sculpture for office, home or outdoor.
  • Sculpture for collectors, galleries, gifts, public spaces or fairs
  • Sculpture by type/style or function
  • Sculpture by size, price, and materials used.
  • Services provided such as consultations and installation
  • Whether the overall , regional or local market for the product segment is growing, stable or declining.
  • Whether my sales for this product segment are growing, stable or declining (used to help you determine your priorities).

The bottom line(s)…

Product Service Listing Form

Use this form to list the products and services your art business provides

Start putting together your product/product segment listing. All you need is a piece of paper or you can download the worksheet Creatives and Business Product Service Listing with this link. You are going to need a product list to develop your business and marketing plan – go for it!  Please share this article with your artist and creative friends.

If you would like to learn more about putting together a business and marketing plan for your art business I invite you to check out my book – The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox. Good Luck!

 

 

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