Lesson 5: Marketing

What You’ll Learn: As good as your work may be, few are going to know about it without a sustained effort to market your products, services and creations to others. Marketing may sound distasteful to some, akin to selling out, but it does put food on the table and builds a following and perhaps even a legacy.

Marketing (continued)


  1. Become a customer. Visit other creatives and their companies and experience their brand first hand. Visit their website, look at their body of work and pricing structure. How do you stack up to them regarding pricing and positioning in the marketplace? What can you learn from their journey as a creative business? You may want to spend some time on SizeUp to see who else may be a competitor in your city and how you stack up to them.
  2. Do a brand survey. Think of all the brands with which you come into contact. Which ones stick out in your mind? Why? What do they promise, and what do they deliver? What emotions do they invoke? Where are they positioned on the spectrum (luxury, price-conscious, quality service, best selection, etc.)?
  3. Visit a lot of websites. Visit websites that are both within your industry and those that are not. See what you like and don’t like about each one. Pay particular attention to their messaging and how they position their work and themselves. Write your observations down so you can share them with your designer.
  4. Write your story. Every story has a protagonist, an antagonist and an arc. The protagonist can be your company, your product or service, or it can be your customer. The antagonist is typically the pain point, the problem. The arc describes how your protagonist meets the challenge facing them and solves it, like the proverbial knight in shining armor riding in on his steed. It doesn’t have to be Tolstoy or even James Patterson. But it needs to be trustworthy and honest.
  5. Name it. If you haven’t thought of a working title for your company, product or service, brainstorm for a bit. As you come up with ideas, see if they are already registered in the state or federally. Federal trademarks trump state ones, so it’s always a good idea to start there. It’s not that two names can’t exist in the marketplace (think Pandora, the makeup retailer and Pandora, the music streaming service), but you do want to choose something that is hopefully descriptive, doesn’t cause confusion, is easy to remember and won’t trigger a lawsuit.
  6. Clearly identify the following elements of your business.
    • Product – This is what you have to offer a prospective client
    • Place – This is how someone finds you
    • Price – This is how you price yourself in the market

Using demographic and psychographic variables, identify two target markets for what you have to offer. Demographic variables can include age, gender, income, occupation, geography, marital status and education. Psychographic variables can include values, beliefs, hobbies, etc.

Here is an example:

  • Target Market 1:
    • Women
    • Ages 18-24
    • Living in the Yakima Valley
    • Some community college
    • Income range: $45-60k/year
    • Not married
    • No children
    • Enjoys art, particularly by local indigenous artists
    • Frequents art festivals and street fairs

Once you have two target markets identified, consider the final “P” of the Marketing Mix and decide how you will “Promote” to each target market. What will you say about your product/business to generate interest and create action (sales)? Which media and communication tools will you use to reach them?