A must read: Understanding Marketing for Creatives

People holding icons of digital brands

There is no denying that talent and production are crucial elements to any creative’s success. This success is however subject to marketing, the key component that creates stars that lead the pack. Without marketing, no creative would have the reach they have and more so for the independent ones that do not have an entity working solely to expose them to audiences.

By Israel Sebenzo

Marketing needs to have a purpose and the first step towards fulfilling this purpose is to have a plan. 

With its importance, marketing comes with a lot of other components and tactics that need to be understood and explored in achieving the best possible outcomes.

Defining audience

Yes, we have established how crucial marketing is to the creative process but perhaps an even bigger question is, who are you marketing to? In this regard, it goes without saying that you need to define your audience as this helps not only in identifying fans, but goes on to create a platform where you can effectively engage with your fans and come to know how best you can simultaneously create value for them and yourself.

The broader and most common ways of defining audiences are through demographic, geographic, sociographic, psychographic and behavioural classifications. Do this and most of your work is done!

Analyse the market

Once you understand who your audience is, the next step is to understand the market you operate in. Here there are so many questions that you need to ask yourself and some of those are centred around knowing what your competitors are doing, where you fit in and how best you can bring in unique value, one that is not already offered by anyone else, to your audience.
Research, research, research and position yourself strategically in the market!

Set goals

Remember, marketing has to have a purpose and establishing goals is done so as to meet this purpose. Clearly define your goals for accountability purposes. A lot of creatives get carried away here. Always set goals that are realistic, actionable, and measurable and can be timed. This way your marketing is with a purpose.

Develop an action plan

This plan goes a long way in ensuring the process to achieving your goals is well thought out. Your action plan should clearly indicate elements such as PR, advertising, content curation and social media in contributing to the digital marketing elements. It is important to do scheduled reviews time and again in measuring efforts against goals. This can also help in indicating what is and what is not working and how it could be improved. Part of developing an action plan includes creating a budget as most actionables will require some form of monetary investments in working towards the greater goal.

Content, Content and Content!

Your brand must always be visible!

You have defined your audience, analysed the market you are to operate in all the way to developing your action plan the next question naturally would be, what’s next? Remember marketing is a common practice in most industries and understanding tailor made tips that are specifically for the creative industry is needed. Content should be any marketing strategy’s starting point. The importance of content cannot be overemphasised. Always remember that the expectations of art consumers are high both in quantity and standards. To stay ahead of the game, satisfy your audience and continue to engage your market, you must be able to churn out lots of content constantly. This means more videos, more blog posts and a stream of social media updates.

Engage audience

Marketing is a communication. In as much as it may appear to follow a top down approach, engaging your audience is crucial. Research has over the years shown that the most effective marketing is the one that makes consumers feel they are being addressed directly, almost as if they are in a conversation with the marketers.

If you converse with someone, chances are always high they will respond and so if you use this strategy in your marketing, your audience will definitely respond and carry you towards your goals.

Collaborate!

Often when collaborations are mentioned, the perceptions around the term are limited to two or more artists getting into a studio and recording a song together. There is definitely more behind the scenes collaborations than those that make it to the public arenas, everyone and anyone is collaborating. One such trend with marketing in the industry has been collaborations with influencers. Collaborate with influencers, vloggers and get access to a mass market instantly. Wider and diverse reach doesn’t come any easier than this!

Like it or not, social media has created opinion leaders and taste makers in virtual communities and trust me, these are the people you definitely want to collaborate with.

PR and Advertising

The good old fashioned public relations and advertising still go a long way in marketing. Even though the world is changing, some of these practices have managed to weather the change storms. Do things the old fashioned way if you have to. If your target audience is best reached through some press releases and some adverts on different mediums, go on and do it. If it helps you reach your goals then why not?

The future of marketing in the industry

Nothing stays the same in this fast-paced world that is constantly evolving. To this end, all those involved in the creative industry must always be on the lookout for new trends and be willing to adapt and run with them in increasing their brand visibility to the targeted audiences.

Israel SEBENZO® is a Singer, songwriter and Artist & Repertoire (A&R) Executive, he is also the Executive Producer of his newly launched label Israel SEBENZO Media & Entertainment Group.