When others control your art marketing, part 2: Lessons learned

Check out Tuesday’s post on what happens when you’re not in control.

Now for the lessons of that post.

Philip Koch nailed the primary lesson in his comment (and these are my words): You won’t always have control over your marketing material.

If you’re showing at spaces other than your own, the venues are going to be the ones in control. Get Zen and release. You can give them as much input as they will listen to, but then you have to let go.

People who receive flyers and invitations from organizations understand completely that it’s the organization that hired the artist and it’s the organization that created the promotional piece.

Other comments suggested a remedy that’s spot on: When someone screws up, you take charge. In truth, you should be in charge from the start since you should never ever ever leave it up to any organization to do all of the marketing for you. They do their part and you do your part. Make sure your contacts get the promotional piece YOU want them to see. This means you build that expense into your budget.

No one can promote your work better than you, so don’t expect them to.

Having said that (and I certainly don't know what took place in this instance) I fully believe that face-to-face meetings and agreements can alleviate some of the problems that occur in artist-venue relationships. An article I wrote about building trust with galleries might help explain how this would work.

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3 comments to When others control your art marketing, part 2: Lessons learned

  • Excellent advice to assume that you also will do your own marketing & consider that in your budget. So many artists just want to let the exhibition venue handle all the promotion, etc. Don’t give your power away!

  • Lorrie Abdo

    I’ve read all the comments on this topic with interest (since it’s about me!), although,I know this problem is very common and pertains to all. I feel like I gave the Art Center in question what they needed (good photo of techique, and copy about me and the class). It was agreed that after they designed the flyer, I would do my part to market the workshop in my geographic area and to my email contacts. Where I fell short was in assuming that their artisitic sensibilities (remember they are an Art Center!) were strong. They want to take their organization to the next level but, IMO, until they bump up the quality of their marketing efforts, they will fall short. As for me, in the future, I will not make the assumption that decent design prinicples will be used and ask to see previous marketing efforts. Thank you for making my issue a “case study” for all. I’ve appreciated the comments.

  • Hello there. I read this and the previous post. Maybe I’m missing something else.. for that reason I don’t know if you are talking about a designer, a marketing manager, an art director or someone else. I guess (as Lorrie Abdo says in his comment) they focused on art. Art without marketing can’t sell a good product. MARKETING can promote your work better than you. MARKETING is promotion. I wrote something about it in my blog, here: http://www.symbioticproject.com/art_imho/?p=9 Hope you will find it useful! Mirta from Rome