What if marketing was where we began our journey towards understanding what people need and want?- Arts and Crafts don’t solve problems, but they do feed an intrinsic need for the beautiful. Our journey is to understand and provide what people want, not what they need in many cases.Selling a want versus a need is more complex. Often you have to help people realize they nave a want, or to give an exact description to what that want is. I need to be clean, any soap can do that. I want to smell "nice", but what does that mean? I want to have soft skin, but my definition of soft may be different than that of my neighbors. These things need to be defined before I can purchase what I want, and after I find something I like, I may even start to define it as a need if I want it bad enough to give up other things for it.
Art and business alike are about doing things that make a difference. – Need or want, it is to make a difference. So what do you do that makes a difference? How does it make a difference? Are you helping someone express their inner person? Are you providing art they can look at and that brings back a memory and increases their happiness? Do you provide a product or service that can become a tradition, an heirloom, provides a connection between people that is more meaningful than then item alone?
The number one reason a salesperson fails to close a sale is that she can’t effectively communicate the value of the product. Don’t sell the guitar, sell the music. The biggest spending consumers aren’t simply shopping for stuff anymore; they are shopping for ways to change how they feel, to express themselves and to find meaning. They no longer want information or even experiences, they expect context- an understanding of what matters to them. We are mini psychoanalysts. We need to look at a potential customer, size them up, and quickly figure out how we can connect with them, how we can connect our art with them, and how we can make what is meaningful to us, meaningful to them.
Marketing is not a department; it’s the story of how you create difference for your customers. It is the way we enable our customers to attach meaning to our products and it’s the reason they want to belong. Marketing is a transfer of emotion. We buy with our hearts and justify decisions with our heads. That is what buyer's remorse is. Making a purchase with our hearts, only to have our heads tell us later it was a bad choice. We need to mitigate that remorse by attaching as much story and emotions to an item as possible. They aren't buying our art, they are adopting it, they are making a part of us a part of them. It is much harder to have remorse over a purchase that has its own emotional meaning to it. I watch American Pickers and they are always trying to buy a piece of rust from someone who will never get around to restoring it, but loves it too much to pass on to someone else. Those people have emotional attachment to that item so strong that money can't break that bond. We need to have each item we sell leave with the strongest bond to the purchaser as possible. They may never come back and buy another, but they will never part with the one they have or say anything negative about it to anyone who asks about it either.
Consciously bake word of mouth into your product or service. Most people skip this step. Make giving people a reason to talk about your products and services part of your culture, not just your marketing. Attaching meaning is what word of mouth is based on. Having our customers care enough about us to tell our story for us is key. Having them love what they bought so much that they buy more as gifts, or talk about it so much that all their friends need one too. This is is what the artisan needs to be doing. Most of us don't have advertising budgets, or a marketing department, or even a sales force. But if we treat our customers right, teach them about us, and show them how much we care about who they are and what we do, they will step up and be all the advertising, marketing, and sales force we need.