Marketing takes a lot of time, effort and money but you probably already knew that. You need to be as efficient as possible in deciding “the what and to who you offer your art. Target marketing is matching up the right products with the right customers. The opposite of target marketing has been called Shotgun Marketing. Shotgun marketing has its applications but probably not as a basic marketing strategy for your art business.
The first step in target marketing is to define categories to describe what you are selling (your product list). Next define the categories or segments that best describe your customers or prospects (your customer group list. 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 why it is called “Target Marketing”.
In this article I will show you how to develop your customer and product lists and how to put them together so you can start to prioritize and plan your marketing efforts.
Your product lines – what are you selling?
The idea here is to answer the question: What are you really selling? 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 some ideas to help you develop the categories (product lines or segments) for your product line list:
- still lifes
- by size
- prints or reproductions
- additional services such as framing or consultations
Your customer groups – who are your customers or prospects?
As with your products, the idea here is to put your customers into broad groups or segments. When you put your customers into groups it is easier to figure out the what, why, where and how they buy and how to reach them. When you put your customers into groups it is also easier to find more of them – remember: “Birds of a feather flock together”. Here are some ideas to help you develop your customer segment list.
By where your art is sold
- fair or festival
By demographics or income
- young, old
- home owner or renter
- married or single
- income level
- stage in life
Type of buyer
- consumer or end user
- values & beliefs
These are just a few of the ways you might segment your customers and prospects. Choose the customer segment descriptions that make sense for you – there is no one proper way, in fact you might segment your customers in different ways for different purposes. The more you can learn about each of these segments the more effective your marketing will become.
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 (see graphic) 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.
- Profitability of a particular target segment
- Ease or expense of effectively marketing to a particular target segment
- Other things that make sense to you
I invite you to download and use the Creatives and Business Customer/Product Matrix Worksheet. This worksheet will give you a good start in matching your customers with your art and targeting your marketing efforts.
The bottom line(s)…
Once you have developed the Customer / Product Matrix you are ready to begin to develop targeted strategies that will help grow your business. It may take a different marketing approach for each product/customer combination for your advertising, public relations and social media. Also look for ways to market multiple products to a particular customer group or potential customer group. And don’t forget to prioritize your marketing efforts as you can’t do everything at once.
If you would like to learn more about target marketing 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 where he teaches “Marketing the Arts”.
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