Marketing should be adaptive to the climate you’re marketing in – recessions, budget cuts, shifts in the industry…they all impact on how consumers engage with companies and so a good marketing strategy should reflect this.
Bob Christer – who has roles with educational charity Pedestrian, networking forum CEMENT and theatre festival 14:48 – has watched how organisations have adapted their marketing in line with the climate.
“Seeing great organisations fold under recent cuts was tough, but also seeing how others thrived under the same conditions was a real learning curve,”
he shares. Learning from those who thrive is essential.
Marketing is often about riding steep learning curves. Graphic and Product Designer Anna Lisovskaya, of studio Fox & Co and workshop My Workspace, advises: “I would say find the courage to do and try things knowing there is a possibility of them not working out. Everything you do to make your idea a reality is important.” In other words, learn from your market. As Patrick Welsh, Marketing Manager for Phoenix Arts says:
“Businesses develop on the back of what they discover customers want as they grow.”
Zakera Kali, Design Coach & Consultant for Insight Consultancy, is a firm believer in exploiting your own abilities and being creative with your resources – you are creatives after all!
“Remember effective marketing is about being creative rather than big budgets,” she says. “It’s about getting the right message across in an engaging manner – creatives/new artists should exploit their own abilities.”
Zakera also advocates a holistic approach, investing in marketing expertise in the same way you’d invest in legal or financial advice so your marketing is part of the entire strategy to grow your business. “Be strategic and invest in good advice as both save you a lot of money and time in the long run,” she advises. “Once you have strategized, this will make it easy for you to develop a simple marketing plan. I would advocate taking a holistic approach and explore all aspects of the company interactions.”
Taking good advice is essential. Learn from feedback, including failures, and you’re already half way to understanding marketing. Alan Chapman, writer, producer and musician with Rude Angel, a band with a mission to raise suicide awareness since losing lead vocalist Lianne Ashberry in 2015, recommends: “Ask for feedback and how you can be better or more helpful. Be determined.
Accept that you cannot measure marketing very well – the maxim is that half of everything you try will work well, and half will not, but it’s often impossible to know which half is which.
I have learned that successful marketing very much depends on quality, relevance, and then numbers – get the quality right for what you do, keep improving and refining and experimenting. If it’s not right then change your offering or your audience or both – but one must fit the other.”
It may require a lot of soul-searching to adapt and evolve but never underestimate how much self-confidence bleeds into how you market yourself. As self-published children’s author James Sykes says:
“Having the confidence and self-belief that your product is unique and truly beneficial to a customer is an important lesson,
as if you know that you are providing someone with a genuinely positive experience or service, you are in a far better position to promote what you are doing.”
And if you’re confident in what you’re offering, founder of dance company Turned On Its Head, Liz Clark has one word of advice: get stuck in!
“I would encourage people to just get started – sometimes you think you can only do marketing with the right expertise but really all you need is the confidence to talk about your work.”
Marketing yourself should feel natural, and instinctive, as you are talking to the people you want to engage with about you. Think of it like dating – you’d only stick out the date or go back for more if the connection felt natural rather than forced. I’m not saying marketing yourself is like dating but the relationships you build with a market are based on the same principles – enjoying each other’s company, having something in common, speaking the same language, feeling comfortable. As Sohail Y, Creative Director with production company UK Vibe says:
“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. Don’t force it.”