Deep Thought Thursday: Marketing plans

I had a great time talking with Ariane Goodwin last night as part of the smARTist Telesummit preview calls. My smARTist presentation in January will be on creating a marketing plan, so my talk last night was kind of an introduction to that: 10 qualities you need to be a professional artist and how they relate to a marketing plan. Listen here.

Today's Deep Thought is this . . .

What would it take to (1) get you to actually write out a marketing plan for your art and (2) follow it ?

I think drafting a plan is easier than implementing it. What will it take?

What is your experience with marketing plans?

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15 thoughts on “Deep Thought Thursday: Marketing plans”

  1. I’ve actually found that your idea of listing accomplishments has really helped me create my annual plan! Once I see what I tackled in the past year, and what was a success it really helps me look back at last year’s goals, sift out the things to keep and things to drop, and then use that as a basis to brainstorm for the next year. 🙂

  2. I think marketing plans (in all their variations – I like the less linear ones) are good for making things concrete. Writing it down changes something from just in your head. I think they are great guidelines and references and I also know that you must leave room for grand surprises (I actually put that in mine. Mostly hopefully. =])

  3. I agree with Tina & Tammy about editing from the previous year and allowing your plan to branch out in a direction that you didn’t expect. I also suggest not making them too vague. For example “research galleries” vs. “research x number of galleries in x cities then follow through with submissions” is more focused and provides more of a plan.

  4. I’ll chime in. I make a list of manageable goals and check the list weekly – I have one afternoon per week that I work on website, blog, goals, marketing, etc. Works for me. I love love love checking things of my list. A more coherent plan? What would it take? Knowing exactly what I want and mapping all my goals/actions to that end.

  5. Tina, Tammy, and Casey: But, after you make them, do you actually follow them? How often do you pull them out and look at them?

  6. Yes, Alyson I do follow them and pull them out every couple of months. What works even better for me is a constant to-do list that I keep in my sketchbook. It is a combination of marketing and art tasks. For example one list might read: Varnish longhorn painting. Update website and resume to include new award. Mail postcards to interior design list. Create color sketches for next painting. I keep this in my sketchbook so I don’t lose it and it’s nice to go back and see what I’ve accomplished and what I ignored and still needs attention. This also easily allows me to amend my goals and objectives if something comes along that I want to pursue.

  7. I am warming to the idea of the “Ah-Ha!” list someone explained to me yesterday. The idea is that everyone knows what needs to be done, so why not rethink the idea of a To-Do list and go for the “Ah-Ha!” list instead, a list of accomplishments at day’s end said to be more motivating for some than the proverbial list of To-Do’s.

  8. Such good question Alyson, because actual implementation is often a much bigger hurdle for me. I hope it wouldn’t take something critical (like my other business crashing), but I know that many times I’m guilty of being all talk and no action — although I know I’d never get as far as I have without lists and plans.

  9. I’ve created and followed a Business plan for several years. On one side I list about 7 goals for the year and then 5 steps to lead to each goal. On the other side, I list goals for a 2-5 year plan and those are just to keep in mind. Through the year, some goals change and I revise as needed. I keep this plan on my ‘To Do’ board in my office and refer to it. Around November of each year, I find a few hours to reflect on my goals and revise a new plan for the next year. For me, it’s about reaching a financial goal because my living is made through my art. The goal of always striving to push my work to be better and better is a no-brainer. I know that the reason why most artists (who don’t make a living from their art) find it hard to stay true to a business plan through the year is precisely what makes being a professional artist challenging in the first place. It’s hard to keep momentum if you’re the one you’re following.

  10. hi alyson–when i post my marketing plan on my bulletin board and in my calendar i’m much better at implementing it. otherwise it just gets buried and i forget because my life just takes over. this year i plan to write my marketing plan into my calendar for the whole year! i did that one year and it was awesome. it took a little time and you have to be flexible about it but i got a lot done and i’m still getting business from efforts i put out that year!

  11. Most artists lack discipline in the marketing of their works. We find some of the most talented artists are the worst planners. It might be a right brain left brain thing. – ed

  12. Most artists lack discipline in the marketing of their works. We find some of the most talented artists are the worst planners. It might be a right brain left brain thing. – ed

  13. Most artists lack discipline in the marketing of their works. We find some of the most talented artists are the worst planners. It might be a right brain left brain thing. – ed

  14. I’ve been known to follow my marketing plans, and I’ve been known to totally ignore them. for me the exercise of creating one sets things in motion because ideas move from abstract to concrete. Because I like less linear anything, the marketing plan uses journaling techniques: make a linear list, journal about them. What comes up? Revisit. What’s the next step? One more step is good for me – things change, stuff gets in the way, new information drops in…okay, what’s the next step? What did I say I wanted to accomplish? review, etc. Having just done your inventory, I can say that probably worked as well for me as any marketing plan, highlighting well done and weaknesses (and not putting them in the context of weakness by the nature of the original question. Brilliant!)

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