DO MARKETING AND ART GO TOGETHER?

by ryan




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DO MARKETING AND ART GO TOGETHER?

 

I recently had a conversation with a friend about 1) how awful marketing and marketers were and 2) how sad it was that artists had to rely on it and them. To be fair, what he really said was that he was concerned that those who promote and market the product of creative artists gain the wealth and those who produce it are cast aside, etc.

I do understand that concern. I understand it both intellectually and viscerally. It is exactly the crux of why Steve I started studying marketing. We control our “product”, and make most of the money from it. We published our novel ourselves and marketed it to be a best seller.

Many artists don’t have the inclination to take the reins like we have been able to (or even the realization that they can), which is why I continue to study marketing and why I support my friends when they are getting the word out about their own passion projects. If more artists would learn what some of the marketers like Pat O’Bryan, Armand Morin, Connie Ragen Green, etc. are teaching, more wonderful art would reach more people.

Far from being anathema to art, I think marketing is vital to art. There are obvious examples. I’m not a huge fan of most of Picasso’s painting, but he was both a master artist and a master marketer. So was Martha Graham, George Gershwin, the Beatles and Leonard Bernstein. The list goes on and on. There are and were artists whose art became known despite an abhorrence of, or, at the very least, a disregard for marketing (Van Gogh comes to mind, and J. D. Salinger) but that seems an exception. How many have we never known because they didn’t make us know them?

Many, if not most artists feel that marketing is somehow beneath them, somehow would cheapen the art itself. I understand this. I lived it for many years. But having no one but my file cabinet and my mother ever see my stories caused me to reexamine that whole notion. It dawned on me that building a better mousetrap (or at least writing a story about one) wasn’t sufficient motivation for the world to beat a path to my door, no matter what Mr. Emerson said. The world had to know the mousetrap existed, first, then that I built or wrote about it, and finally where I lived. And it was my job to let it know all that.

Anything worth being known is worth letting people know about. The best (perhaps the only) way to do that is to market it, which, at it’s basic core, means to bring it to market. Yes, an artist must spend his time and energy developing his art and his craft. He must also either find the time to develop his ability to market that art or find someone who will do it for him and share in the proceeds.




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