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The Secret of Weaving Art Marketing Magic: How not to break the spell…

by Helen Aldous

I have of late, due to my upcoming nuptials to Mr Artonomy, by necessity acquired more than a passing interest in wedding paraphernalia {which is all a bit weird for a girl more used to wearing Doc Martin boots than any kind of fairy princess palaver}.

The other day I found myself behind the beautifully liveried van of a wedding cake maker. As I am in the market for a wedding cake I took more notice than usual, noting that the company was local and thinking in my mind that I would check them out. The van was beautifully designed, adorned with photos of towering cakes and decals of fluttering birds, butterfly’s and confetti. I drifted in to a reverie, imagining one of their beautiful cakes at my wedding and possibly a cloud of tiny Disney style bluebirds chirruping in harmony above it…

And then I pulled alongside the van at the lights…

Driving the van was a scraggly man in a dirty white bakers coat that looked like it had never seen the inside of a washing machine. Dangling from his craggy lips was a fag with an impressively long layer of ash on the end and as I stared in my shock at the mismatch, he gave me an aggressive look and burned off as the lights changed leaving my rather pathetic Disney bluebirds day dream to evaporate in a sulphurous cloud of exhaust smoke…

I think I may bake my own cupcakes or something.

And herein lies the danger… a mismatch between your creative work and what your marketing says about you can mean the difference between sales and never selling anything at all.

What goes on in a customers head?

 

When someone thinks about buying one of your paintings, they are physically considering say a canvas 50x50cm with a landscape painting in blues and greens in oils, but in their heads there is a whole other conversation going on.

It may go something like this…

This landscape takes me back to being 8 again and running in the fields outside my Grannies house in Ireland. It makes me feel free and young”

or

When I look into the depths of this painting I see another world where I can escape the stress and sadness that encompasses my life at present”

or even

If I place this painting just over the fireplace, opposite the door, when Mr and Mrs Armitage, the dentist couple over the road with social pretensions who always makes me feel uncomfortable and small, visit my house for our bi-monthly cheese and wine evening, they can’t fail to notice it and will understand that far from being a dull businessman with a wife who is having an affair with the milkman I am in fact a man of exquisite culture and taste…”

They are buying a dream, fantasy or escape. Something magical…

 

Potential buyers of your work will weave their own magical story around your work in their mind. It becomes personal to them and their life.

You can never know what this story is but the important thing is DO NOT BREAK THIS SPELL with a marketing mismatch.

Suddenly coming up against a marketing mismatch will jolt them back to reality and make them feel less inclined to buy the work and even make them feel a bit daft for thinking about it and they will sidle off embarrassed, never to return…

OK. I believe you. Give me some examples.

 

  • You sell expensive and beautiful handmade jewellery for brides but your website is poorly built and contains spelling mistakes and badly photographed images of the pieces on sale.
  • You create exquisite hand made stationery and invitations but hand out a flyer advertising your services which is poorly photocopied on thin quality paper.
  • Your paintings are highly priced but anyone making an enquiry is given the contact email sexysimon@redhotlovemachine.com

Hmmmm. All these will succeed in breaking the spell…

So, take 5 minutes today to consider the marketing of your work, your website, and any marketing materials that you have. Are all your ducks in a row? Does it all communicate the message you want people to pick up about your work? If not, what can you do to improve it? Often some small improvements will bring everything into line.

Let me know how you get on, or about any glaring marketing mismatches you have seen {they don’t have to be art related}, in the comments.

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Helen Aldous June 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Hi Rachel, and thanks ;-) and congratulations on the birth of your wee boy too…

That sounds so positive with all your work coming together and your rebrand. Marketing can be its own particular type of creative magic. I have also found that the birth of kids can have a strange rejuvanitive power on our creativity too {once you get over the exhaustion!!} . Some kind of rebirth of energy. All very positive and lovely…

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Rachel Cotton June 3, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Hi Artonomy! Congrats on the upcoming nuptials! So dissapointing about the van driver… I got a little sad for you.
I am currently trying to restructure my brand and all of my materials. I have often painted in several drastically different style types at one time, and I know that is not generally accepted by the art community. Since the recent birth of my little boy, my work styles seem to have all come together into a single style that feels so right. In keeping with this newness that is resonating so deeply with me, I am feeling like this re-brand has amazing possibilities.
I would rather be in the studio, but I am viewing this marketing necessity as another way to reflect on my mission and purpose in both life and art. Magic in the Making!

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