8 Essential Marketing Practices for Your Mosaics Business
Vincent Van Gogh would almost certainly be another unknown artist whose life's work would have ultimately been relegated to a trash heap if not for his sister-in-law. Van Gogh sold one painting in his lifetime, The Red Vineyards of Arles (above). He created about 900 more that he didn't sell.
After his death, his brother, Theo, inherited his paintings. A couple years later Theo died. Theo's, widow, Johanna, held the paintings for a while and then decided to market the art collection she inherited. She clearly succeeded where Van Gogh failed.
There are many accounts of his frailties and faults, but perhaps his greatest and most unrecognized failure was not marketing his work. There are countless other artists like Van Gogh in the art world, but there need not be. The same imagination that can create beautiful mosaics can also market them.
Just as there are essential practices for creating mosaics, there are essential practices for marketing them. They are:
1. Market research
The roles of market research are primarily to develop actionable intelligence about the potential customers, the problem that needs to be solved, the size of the opportunity, and the competitive environment. Its conclusion can often be to identify a market gap to fill.
The practice is often based on secondary research using sources like the U.S. Census Bureau and primary research with customers or potential customers using techniques like surveys and focus groups. For a mosaic art business it is probably best done informally.
2. Product development
Product development is essentially a design process aimed at using market research to create a preferred solution to a problem. It may be as simple as creating a class curriculum that instructs people on creating their first mosaic. For mosaics, the definition of a product is less about an individual mosaic piece and more about a style, method, material, function, knowledge base, or other characteristic of the studio. The key to this practice is making the product (a solution to a problem) all about the customer.
3. Product promotion
Working with information and experience from the previous practices, the objective is to identify the branding, identity, messaging, and marketing channels that can be used to deliver communications and influence opinions about the product. And then, executing the promotion plan.
4. Audience development
The objective of this practice is to develop increasingly large audiences to communicate the story of your product. Without an audience, there is no communication and no commerce.
The practice of audience development generally takes place in multiple channels. For example, online channels may utilize social media and search engines while offline channels may utilize personal networking efforts and print media ads.
5. Lead Generation
In order for people to purchase mosaics, commission mosaics, or sign up for a class, they go through a process. Some describe the process with the acronym AIDA - Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. An audience could be considered in the awareness stage - where they are becoming aware of the fact that they have a problem that your business may be able to solve. Leads are people who have identified themselves as a potential buyer of your mosaics and usually indicate the interest with an inquiry about products.
Lead generation is a result of telling your story to your audience. It can and should be systematized across as many marketing channels as you can effectively work with. Once a lead is identified, their interest should be documented in your studio's information systems.
6. Lead Nurturing
This practice should be designed to help leads either develop a desire for your mosaics or ultimately self-deselect themselves from your list of leads. Like lead generation, it performs best when it is systematized. System tools may include email, event invitations, and snail mail.
7. Customer Nurturing
It is often said that the cost of acquiring a customer is several times the cost of getting a customer to make a repeat purchase. So the practice of customer nurturing is employed to ultimately spread the customer acquisition cost over a number of purchases and develop loyalty from the customer.
There are many tools available to systematize customer nurturing, but it can be very simple. For example, after completing a new commission, Jolino Besara sends previous customers a photo or other commemorative item announcing the completion of the new commission.
The old saying "You can't manage it if you don't measure it" couldn't be more true. Each studio has its own success factors. They are generally the efforts required to get a result; i.e., meet x interior designers (the effort) to get a commission (the result).
This practice quantifies the efforts and results, analyzes the relationships, and offers actionable intelligence to improve the performance of the studio. The tools can be basic spreadsheets.
Every efficient marketing function employs all of these practices. Implement them in your studio. They may not bring your art the esteem of Michelangelo's art, but they will almost certainly bring you more sales in your lifetime than Van Gogh and many others like him. So, in the future when you see Red Vineyards of Arles or other Van Gogh paintings, let them remind you to market your mosaics.