When I’m coaching my artist clients we do what is called a blue sky session. We think of different art marketing strategies to help them sell their art. Not to be confused with a blue ocean strategy, our ultimate goal. During this creative session there is one very simple rule. Record every idea and negate none. Simple? You’d be surprised. When artists get out of their own way and pause their self-limited thinking, the sky is the limit, pardon the pun. We can hatch big ideas during these blue-sky sessions. Or it can be a time when even seemingly positive artists kill opportunities before they are even born. “That won’t work.” “I hate this or that.” My constant response. “Just focus on the exercise, pretend, have fun. There’s no right or wrong.” Self-doubt and lack of confidence become very evident. Sometimes they play along during the session and then their attitude kills the ideas later. Artists who really engage in this creative process, kind of like you do when you make art, win. Because the blue sky strategy is simple and it works. This is a creative exercise that many marketing strategists use. The good news is that artists are in a particularly good position to come up with creative and new marketing strategies. But they have to stop thinking about themselves and think about what value they can create for a target market. Why? Because your compensation is in direct proportion to the value you offer. Most artists have been told to craft artist statements to explain their work as a way to sell it. These statements are all about them and their process. Unfortunately I have rarely read an artist’s statement where I didn’t cringe and say “Oh, please.” If you want to sell your art, ultimately it’s not about you. It has to be about the unique value you offer to a specific target market. The other good news is that you are free to create this value and assert it any which way you please, kind of like you do when you make art. Marketing is a creative process like making art. And that’s why I love it too.
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