“Wealth is now defined, at least in part, by the ability to be offline whenever you want” Fernando Gros.
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Blog // Thoughts
October 13, 2014

On Marketing

Most creatives I know are squeamish about the business side of things. This makes sense. We want to be about the art more than the commerce. But, this makes us susceptible to bad advice, especially bad marketing advice and misplaced ideas about personal branding and content marketing. So many creatives are trying to be everywhere […]

Most creatives I know are squeamish about the business side of things. This makes sense. We want to be about the art more than the commerce. But, this makes us susceptible to bad advice, especially bad marketing advice and misplaced ideas about personal branding and content marketing. So many creatives are trying to be everywhere at once, obsessing about the way they present themselves through website or log design or simply trying to bolt every advertising idea out there onto their creative endeavours.

But, the best form of marketing is work. Do something amazing and people will flock to you. Then do something else amazing.

This sounds obvious. But, so many times I see fellow creatives doing good work, but it’s almost as if their interaction with the world, especially their presence on social media, hides the work. OK, so you’ve made an amazing short film, or recorded a great song, penned some riveting poetry or come back from an adventure with some breathtaking photos. Great! Can I see/heard/read your work in a format that really showcases it, without having to endure a bunch of other stuff I’m not interested in?

And, is there a way for me to pay you for the experience?

Marketing 101

All too often, we get marketing wrong, thinking it’s an exercise in simply adding – more tweets, more banner ads, more “content,” more engagement, more hard sell. But, talk to successful marketers in big companies, the ones who steward famous brands in multi-million dollar advertising campaigns and they will tell you good marketing is actually more of a subtractive process, removing excess ideas from the brand’s story, focusing not on activating every possible marketing option out there, but identifying the right ones for this brand, this product, this campaign. They don’t try to convince consumers to change their behaviour as much as they try to find the consumers whose behaviour already makes them likely to buy their products.

Marketing For Creatives

Today I’ve been looking at a set of images that I want to offer as photographic prints. It’s about three years since I last offered any prints for sale. Almost as soon as I made these images in February, I knew I wanted to offer them.

As photos they are good. But, the commercial question really isn’t are these “good” photos. In a way, it’s irrelevant if these photos garnered likes on some social media platform from fellow photographers. The question is, would anyone want to hang these in their home or in their office?

So many photographers I’ve spoken to, good savvy professional photographers, get stuck trying to make their online fans buy prints. They are always surprised when I suggest that instead, they find people who are already in the habit of buying prints (and decorating homes) and market to them instead.

The work isn’t just clicking the camera shutter, or choosing the right develop setting in Lightroom. It’s also figuring out how to turn photos into a unique and worthwhile prints, something creates a great visual experience on paper, in a frame, on a wall. And, it involves figuring out how to charge for the work and ship it anywhere in the world, in a safe, timely fashion.

Cash Registers And Professionalism

In 2011 I gave a talk on creativity and social media to packed room of PR, Marketing and Advertising professionals. At one point I made the comment that many professional creatives act like amateurs online, because they don’t have a cash-register on their site, which means a way for visitors to pay. It really wasn’t a comment about making every social media interaction into a commercial one, so much as a call to arms, for creatives to not apologise for doing the work they love in a serious and sustainable way.

As I often say; if your creative work is worth doing, then it’s worth figuring our a way to sustain and support the work, long term, for the rest of your life. This involves figuring out the financial side of things, putting up a cash-register when it is appropriate. The irony, of course, is I’ve been as guilty as anyone of not consistently doing this.

I’m really tired of visiting fellow creative’s sites that don’t have cash registers on them. But, even more than that, I’m tired of not following my own advice.

Responses
Toni 6 years ago

You need a folowup post, describing how to build a brilliant e-commerce site to make images available.

😉

But despite the smilie, I’m actually serious. I want to find a way to sell my stuff (not the junk, but there are some pictures I’m happy with) and need to find an outlet that works.

    Fernando Gros 6 years ago

    Toni – it’s something I touch on in the book and it’s certainly a theme I’ll come back to. For all the good sites like 500px or Flickr might do, they mostly put our photos in front of other photographers. This is OK if we want to sell workshops or how to books, but not so much for selling prints.

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