I recognize the need for an artist to be more mindful of the business aspect. But I’m feeling a lot of resistance to the whole product/market lingo and finding it hard to implement in my own life.
If people want to sell you something, you’ll notice that they all more or less follow the same model of proposition.
First they describe a problem that – maybe – you have. If it’s targeted marketing and not just the random (and annoying) TV or radio commercials, they’ll often get it right.
Then they will tell you who they are and their unique value proposition (USP), what they offer. And ultimately how they solve your problem.
Here’s an example: “Tired of spotty wifi? We here at TeleWhatever have 50 years of experience and a unique global network. We know how annoying it is to not have wifi. That’s why we offer 24-hour wifi for only 9.99 a month, that includes blah blah blah. Make sure you never miss out on an important cat video and sign up today with 25% off!”
This model is used almost everywhere. It is especially gag-inducing when used in selling medicine or insurance, where first they mention all the ways you could die horribly or lose all your stuff in a fire. That would suck, right? Luckily they happen to have a product that will save you from all this disease and disaster. Phew! A plan that most likely ensures their survival rather than yours, but that’s another discussion.
What I want you to take away from this, is this model for selling anything: Problem -> unique offer -> solution.
Whoops, did I say “anything?”
If you are reading this, you are either an artist or an aspiring artist. I’m taking a wild guess that you would eventually like to make money on this and not just have it as a hobby.
And here’s the problem:
Art doesn’t solve any problems.
No. Really. It doesn’t.
As Oscar Wild put it: “All art is quite useless”.
In other words, the sales tactics you can find online or read in books are invalid. You can’t use the above model to sell art.
You can’t focus group art either. Knowing what your customer wants makes total sense in the business world. In the art world I believe the opposite is true. Thinking too much about the wants or needs of the end user derails the artistic process and/or makes for boring art.