In my last post I suggested four principles of modern art marketing, being authentic, gifting, journalism and being useful.
And then there is the hammer, the thing most people use when they are trying to sell a thing.
The hammer is advertising.
Print ads, direct mail, promotional Facebook posts, tweets, public relations. They are all the hammer.
Now I want to be clear, there is a role for the hammer. People need to be aware of what you are doing. Having a handle on the principles of smart advertising, i.e. understanding the target audience of the ad medium, measuring impact, etc. can be very helpful.
The issue is that advertising is expensive and short term. If, for example, you spend 5,000 to buy an ad in a major paper you get that space for one day and then it's gone forever.
Now maybe putting that ad out is a great idea because it will reach the audience you need. But it isn't marketing. It isn't the thing that will help you build an audience for the next 10 years. It isn't the thing that will cause people to help you when the chips are down.
The four principles are what lead to those things. It's a long term strategy that can bring dramatic improvement.
Thinking about the major brands that have come up over the last 10-15 years. Very few of them were built on advertising. Almost all of them were build on the four principles. That doesn't mean that they avoid advertising. Apple does ads. Zappos does. Starbucks does. But they all understand the inherent weakness of advertising and they focus the bulk of their time and energy on the principles.
The tragedy comes when people confuse the hammer with the principles.