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Ask the consultant

  • September 12, 2010 - 2:55 PM

QI am 27 and I do artistic woodworking that most shops can't match. What is the best approach to getting discovered and becoming a "recognized name" as an artist and a business?

BRIAN GRABSKI

DESIGNEDANDMADE.COM

AAs with many artists, the first question you need to answer may not be one you are considering at the moment: Who wants to buy work like mine? This is hugely important, because it directly affects the question you are asking, in that you only need to be a "recognized name" with that group.

You have invested the time and money in building a website that showcases your work. Clearly the person who can afford your masterfully crafted wood products will be affluent. You may want to consider advertising in local media that cater to that audience -- and the more you know about who has purchased in the past, the better prepared you will be to buy print or online ads to reach them.

You can also consider the same media channels as targets for publicity about your work. Start by looking for stories about similar artisans in the media you identified as having your best potential customers as readers, and reach out to those writers.

Media tactics can support getting your name out there, but the class-conscious consumer for the kind of high-end home furnishings you provide, coupons in the paper are not going to drive business.

Consider focusing your marketing efforts on building relationships with intermediary businesses: architects, remodelers, builders and interior decorators.

Get involved in the organizations where these people hang out, and find ways to get your work in front of them. These are the influencers that really need to recognize you. Then the ads and publicity just help seal the deal when your name comes up in the design specifications.

MICHAEL PORTER

MASTER OF

BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS

UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS

OPUS COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

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