What Kind of Marketing Approach Do You Have: “Entrepreneur” or “Designer/Artistinal”?
Just like your Instagram or Facebook posts reflect your story, perhaps they should also reflect one's personality, way of moving through the world. It’s something to ponder and question the foundations of our natural tendencies, what we’ve learned in the industry, what title we’ve given ourselves or/and choices we’ve made as creative business owners.
In marketing clothing, art or products for example, entrepreneurs stereotypically use a pull approach and artists/designers stereotypically use the push approach. What’s the difference? Why should we care?
Artists/Designers use the push approach which involves actively pushing your brand in front of audiences. With lots of Instagram posts (for advertising or promotional help), we generally enjoy this as an expression of self. We ponder how best to present our work. Even if we are scared to be visible, we are proud when we do. It stems from the very foundation of being an artist/designer. It’s an approach that tells potential customers we have produced a “one of a kind” product…”buy me.” We want people to see it, and activity push posts explaining and showing -us. Sometimes, we thrive in that almost to the point we don’t look at any other competition in the marketplace, to our demise. But generally our attitude is that nothing is as unique or cool - “Look at my work.”
Pull marketing strategies on the other hand means implementing a strategy that naturally draws consumer interest in our brand or products, usually with relevant and interesting content. In re-launching her brand, Florence Franks for example, took the pull approach. She is taking her time building interesting content around the material of linen and its origins first. Florence also is not your typical designer. She is a business women with a background in law and social work who likes the idea of offering a sustainable clothing alternative. Primarily she is attracted to linen as a resource and interested in it as durable textile. She did not go to design school; she spent time studying textiles. She generally spends more time on marketing than drawing styles or imagining how to make the shape, form or drape unique, developing an one-of-a-kind aesthetic.
Looking back on my time in fashion. I noticed people tend to create their strategy or “next steps” according to their personality and interests and strengths. If you are an artist/designer first, then design will be your first task of action and raison d’etre. If your interests lie in sustainability, you might focus on communicating the durability of that textile as your value proposition first. There is never generally a 50-50 split between these push and pull strategies. There is always one focus that emerges a little more than the other. Think about it in other ways. Are these strategies too stereotypical? How would you change?
Marketing company, Radd Interactive says there are instances where push marketing can be helpful:
One of the most popular forms of push marketing is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising where marketers can place banners, display ads, search engine ads, and shopping ads across a wide range of platforms, usually by paying a small amount each time their ad is clicked on. This could work if you are an introvert, don't like doing. the "visible" work on a daily basis. These types of ads do the "dirty work" we don't like.
Pull marketing, on the other hand, involves naturally accruing traffic. The reasoning here is to create high-value content suited for your target audiences and letting them come to you. This strategy is helpful to ensure long-term business growth, maintaining dominance in a specific niche or industry; building a return customer base or improve loyalty; promoting brand recognition with customer engagement and visibility; increasing social media traffic as well as social media sharing. This is a more visible approach, perhaps even more for the extrovert or someone ready to talk a lot about their product or service. It's an organic approach, relaying more on referrals and interacting in social segments.
Which strategy did you resonate with most? Is this the “right” strategy? There is never a right way. The way you work must be specific to your own story and your own personality. Maybe even needing to change throughout the time of your brand.
Florence spoke about a various of issues she was having in the starting up of her business. Perhaps the next topic is something you also find challenging...
Oh, the never-ending quandary of having “the side job”. How can I make the time for the other job? Of course it will bring money but how will I organize myself and will I advance at the same speed if I take this job?
More in Part 5, the next and last of our mini series: Real Life From an Emerging Designer: Managing Your Side job
I was following up with a student after the Design an Idea class. She said she wanted to be a designer. My eyes big and bright, "Super, design is a great profession." She continued explaining that she enjoyed making things with her hands. I just need to figure out the money part." My mouth formed into a sideways heart. If you don't know how that looks, try it right now...it's pretty much like mouth yoga forming into quite an inquisitive look. "Are you thinking you might want a business or to make money? I think I threw her for a real loop by the look she gave back in return. A passion to make things with your hands means you like making things with your hands. There is often an assumption, but there is no correlation between you making things and you making that into a business. If you'd like to make money by selling your products, that means you take money for them. It doesn't make you are an entrepreneur. Reflect on the definition of the term and your own intention or vision for your life.
Do you like to design or are you a designer? These reflections led me to write this list of the most unfair...but realistic understandings of our profession and the creative industry. It's where we make assumptions and correlations where there are none. Often time we think 8000 steps before we actually arrive. Acknowledging where we are at, during this moment, is important to understand where you might want to be later.
The Elusive Ingredient: The Lost Goal
So I finally created a due date for the first draft of my book: May 1st 2021.
How did I almost forget I had that as a goal? Last week I was making a list of my 6 month objectives and what I needed to do to accomplish them by May. I went through the list and I was like, ok….create new classes check, revise website check, write more consistent blog posts check. But there is something else...something about writing..what is that again? Write ..write….oh! Of course! Write the BOOK!