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Why Entrepreneurs Should Approach Marketing as an Art

Art is more than paint on a canvas or pixels on a screen. Art is about human connections — it’s about moving people on an emotional level.

When someone purchases a piece of art, the decision isn’t based on logic or calculations. It’s an emotional decision. The same principles apply to marketing. Marketing should be innovative and inspiring, creating meaningful connections with consumers. Just like a piece of art, good marketing attracts consumers to a product, generating a desire to attain the experience enjoyed only by current customers.

So, how do we create artful marketing? New products flop constantly, and the reason is simple:  When it comes to creating a new product or service offering, companies become overconfident about their consumer knowledge, failing to realize that people generally don’t know what they want. They fail to fill a void or want in people’s lives. They fail to market artfully.

The Art of Marketing

There are several keys to artful marketing. Artists are flexible and adaptable. They constantly rework a piece of art until it’s nearly perfect. Marketers must operate in the same manner.

Marketers should be skillful listeners. Listening alone is an art. Listening to consumers’ conversations and ideas provides marketers with keen insight into what they value. By understanding consumers’ values and lifestyles, marketers can fill voids in underserved markets.

This is especially true for social media marketing. Social media is a realm based upon conversations, and persistent listening is essential. By using powerful social media monitoring and listening platform software, marketers can “listen” to the millions of conversations across the social web, enabling them to better understand consumer sentiments.

Marketers should drive conversations with consumers. It’s remarkable to see how people light up when a company contacts them with words of thanks about a positive mention. It’s also encouraging when companies initiate and continue dialogues to build trust by listening and understanding the context in which a person uses a product, which features are their favorites, which features they don’t care for, and which additional features they want implemented.

By continually engaging consumers in conversations, marketers are able to make meaningful connections. They treat consumers like people, rather than nuisances that must be dealt with. Companies with an artful, forward-thinking approach to marketing demonstrate a partnership mindset regarding customers. Customers, as people, want to feel important and good about themselves. They understand when they’re being treated with indifference, which drives them away and causes them to take their business elsewhere — where they feel appreciated.

Marketers should adapt and find their inspiration. Want to find new inspiration? Cancel some meetings. Often, meetings can be a waste of time. Instead, take some customers out to lunch and get to know them on a more personal level. Don’t try to sell them anything. Try to understand their needs. Ask how their businesses are doing. What areas are going well? Find out what challenges they face. What keeps them awake at night? Find out how you might make their lives easier.

Once you’ve initiated these conversations, be prepared to feel inspired. Take the valuable feedback your customers provided and run with it! There’s no need to feel defensive when customers expend the energy to point out specific flaws in your products. This indispensable information enables constructive learning opportunities for creating value and developing competitive advantages — like improving the next product version, adjusting business processes, or increasing staff in customer care departments to make certain your customers are listened to empathetically, understood, and beyond satisfied.

Just as artists take the time to perfect their craft, artful marketing takes time to develop and is a continuous process. The more marketers listen to consumer feedback and engage in meaningful conversations with their customers, the more relevant ideas for new products will be — ensuring market acceptance.

The artful marketing process is simple: Listen. Learn. Adapt. Improve. Repeat. Over time, this will create more than a successful business — it will create something worthy of being called art.

Stephen Monaco is an integrated marketing expert, thought leader, innovator, author, and speaker. As a marketing consultant and social business strategist, Monaco advises companies on driving strategies and leveraging digital media to effectively realize business goals. He welcomes anyone to reach out to him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.