For a creative person like you, marketing often seems bothersome, boring, and stressful. It's easy to think that marketing is just for very sleazy and salesy people. That you are better than that, an artist who doesn't bother with such mundanities.
I get it. That's how I used to think. I created art and designs, and didn't think marketing could have anything to do with creativity.
Recently I've been in this slump with my business, blogging and pretty much everything. Including marketing, which is supposed to be of my thing. You can't be a Wizard of Online Marketing, if you don't feel like marketing.
Luckily, as I have been redesigning my site and the Pinterest images of my blog, I went through some of my older articles. One of these posts reminded me that marketing isn't just advertising and selling. Another one discussed about the essence of marketing. And the third one, that really hit me, pointed out that marketing can be interesting and even fun.
Reading those old blog posts reminded me why I got interested in marketing in the first place. Today, I wanted to share what that is, and how you can get actually excited about marketing. Even if you are more about art and creativity than sales and promotion.
Learn how marketing is creative
Understanding what marketing is, is the most important thing when you want to get excited about it. Years and years ago I finally realised what marketing is, and how it is more than just advertisement and sales. That made me see marketing in a new way, and let me get over my initial despise over marketing. I started to get interested in marketing in a whole new way. Here's my short and simple definition of marketing:
Marketing is creating and bringing a product to markets, and communicating about the product and its features, benefits and other qualities.
You might be still a bit confused, especially at the word markets. Simply put, markets are made of people. Better yet, markets are people. So marketing is crafting and bringing products to people.
Product can mean many things. It could be a tangible product, like a handmade scarf or an artwork. It may be a service, such as coaching or consulting, or web design. It can be a digital product, like a website theme or an e-book. It can be an idea or a belief. Or it could be many other physical or abstract things. Whatever you want to put out there for the people.
Communicating should be an easy part, but let me explain that too. For clarity. Communicating about the product and it's features, benefits and other qualities means everything from promotion to customer support. It includes your blog posts, emails and newsletters, social media updates, slogans, advertisement, videos, mission statements, podcast episodes and every other way you are communicating about your brand, your product and your business.
Take a note of the word creating in my definition. You might think that marketing is only something you do after you already have built your business and created your product. That's not true. Creating a business and products is also marketing.
What is often forgotten when talking about marketing, is that marketing is (or at least can be) creative. It can be art. It can be crafts. It's up to you to make it that.
Don't get tangled with details
I know how small details can be distracting, and I know the terrible need for perfection. Oh, do I know it!
Marketing gets easily overwhelming, if you think you must nail it the first time and understand all the aspects to be successful. Very rarely people get it right immediately, or even continuously.
Mistakes are made. Situations change. The same marketing steps produce different results for multiple reasons. And most of all, people do unpredictable things. And since marketing is bringing your product to the people... People are, in the end, kinda unpredictable.
Marketing is a lot of trial and error. What differs the successful marketing from failing marketing, is how you recover from the mistakes and failures. Will you give up or will you stand up, shrug the dust off, and try again?
Overnight successes are rare, if even real at all. Give your marketing time to work.
Yes, sometimes you need to take a timeout and regroup. And sometimes you need to restart it all. Build a whole new business. Restructure your services. Create completely new versions of your products. Start over with a new email list. Redesign your website. Get new clients.
Getting tangled with details and expecting your marketing to work perfectly is a surefire way to become exhausted by it.
While creating a marketing plan is a good idea, the plan must be flexible enough for all the changes on the way. If something doesn't work, you can adjust or discard it. Either way, marketing isn't perfect.
Make marketing part of your creative process
Now that you see that crafting your business, products, services and whatnot is marketing, it's easy to make it part of your creative process.
Your brand is what distinguishes you. Branding is an essential part of marketing, and such a great creative project. Think about all the cool stuff you can come up with or choose with your brand designer, copywriter and others you hire. The logo, the colours, fonts, and other visual elements. The mission statement, manifestos, slogans, blog posts, about texts, product and service descriptions. Your website, social media profiles, and more.
Lots of interesting and cool stuff to craft, lots of places to utilise your creativity.
When you create a product, you probably have an idea who you would like to buy it. Isn't it fun to imagine the person who will use that scarf, who will hang that painting on their wall and what kind of an apartment they have, or who what sort of a person you would coach? You are thinking about your target group or ideal client. The people who you are targeting with your products.
Make it a creative project to study what kind people your target group members or ideal clients really are. What they do for living and how much do they make? What are their hobbies? What sort of family and relationship situation they have? What kinds of (other) products they usually buy? Do they have pets, children, plants? What are their values? Craft profiles of these people, stories of who they are and what they are about.
Similarly, studying your competition is a fun creative project. Who are they, what they sell, what sort of marketing do they utilise?
Creating marketing assets, such as ads, can feel distressing. At least, if you get too involved with and overwhelmed by the technical details. It is true, you can waste a lot of money if your ad is not configured and optimised correctly. However, this is another little creative project. Learning to create the perfect ads, configure and optimise them.
All the different parts of marketing, creation of the product, pricing, packaging it, and dealing with the people who buy it, can be turned into a creative projects.
When you choose to make different marketing tasks creative projects and part of you overall creative process, they become less boring and mundane and stressful and more... Creative.
Whenever you feel like marketing isn't your thing and you shouldn't bother with it, remember that marketing is a creative process. Everything you do to build your business and craft your products is actually marketing.
You are creating a product to be brought to the markets (aka people). You are using your creativity to communicate about that product, and it's features, benefits and other qualities. Just don't get tangled up with the details and expect it to work out immediately.
You can turn different parts of marketing as creative projects. You can approach those creative projects with the same enthusiasm you approach knitting, crocheting, painting, crafting, coaching, blogging, drawing, taking photos, and all the other things you find creative.
Understanding all that makes marketing a kind of art. It's unpredictable, it's always changing, it takes time. It can turn out to be a failure, and it can turn out to be something unexpected.