Whether you are creating your own stationery range, producing a capsule wardrobe collection, running an ad agency or designing a range of footwear for the high street, working in a creative industry – while very competitive – is an exciting venture.
Yet, the choice of products and services on the market today can be overwhelming for most consumers as the constant influx of trends and “must haves” changes.
As with any industry, entrepreneurs in creative industries have to keep coming up with new and creative products to sell to the public, but also new and creative ways in which to market these items or services.
The good news is as businesses get increasingly creative (and consumers become more social media and advertising savvy), marketing in the creative industries no longer requires a multi-million dollar advertising campaign.
Here are 5 key principles that will help you get your brand out there using more creative methods.
1. Understand your brand
It sounds like a simple premise, but for many entrepreneurs branding is an afterthought. Yet, if you really take time to identify what makes your product or service different from others, you can use these insights in your messaging to consumers.
“Buy me and you can own what others don’t” is a powerful message. List the features and benefits that your product offers, and then ensure that your branding is based upon the one thing that distinguishes you from competitors.
Tap into your creativity and draw inspiration from unlikely places to develop a brand identity that communicates your ideals, standards and quality. Once you’ve got your messaging down, the next step is to get the message out to customers in a way that will attract (and keep) their attention.
2. Personalize your offering
Look at the basic trappings of your product packaging and think about how you can personalize it for your customers.
In France, even the smallest item is put into a bag, with a twist of coloured raffia or ribbon then affixed to the package to make it feel as if you have been given a present. You can do the same for your product, and also attach a beautifully designed loyalty card that encourages repeat purchases.
When mailing orders add a little gift or incentive – personalised sweets wrapped in your brand colors and a thank you note on branded letterhead are great ways to help your customers to feel connected to your brand.
Ask for sign-up details from first-time shoppers such as a birthday (day and month) and send out birthday notes along with a voucher or exclusive offer. When customers trust you enough to share their contact details, send handwritten notes in bulk on customizable stationary from your phone or computer using online apps like Bond or Felt.
A simple thank you note will make customers feel special, particularly these days when they are barraged by mass marketing emails.
3. Get real with your marketing
Ensure your brand is at the forefront of the consumer’s mind. Here are a few examples:
If you’re a designer, investing in personalized clothes hangers is an excellent value-add (and they’ll see it every time they open their wardrobe door).
If you run a crafts business, engage loyal clients and promote them using your products. In turn, showcase them on your digital storefront, social media platforms, etc. When you include real people in your campaigns it shows your commitment to your specific audience.
If you run an ad agency or design firm, host a private evening to show off your catalogue or portfolio of work and include wine and nibbles for local customers. If you hire a photographer for the evening you can also use those photos to fuel your marketing efforts online and via social media.
4. Be web and social media savvy
For starters, it is vital that your website is mobile friendly. In fact, “Mobile now represents 65 percent of digital media time, while the desktop is becoming a ‘secondary touch point’ for an increasing number of digital users.”
This means if a customer can’t access your site via a mobile device, they inevitably have a bad experience. And if a user has a bad experience online with your brand then there is a high chance (over 60%) they will think (and share) negatively of your brand.
Next, use social media to market your products, and make sure you have an up-to-date email list where subscribers can opt-in to engage with you.
5. Care about your community
Last but not least, get involved with — and genuinely care about — your community. Here are few quick examples:
Feature local customers or employees on your website and company newsletter.
If you’re customer base is comprised of stay at home moms, focus your marketing communications on daily life events that are relevant to them. This can include email tips on family life, new beginnings (starting from christenings and first days at school right up to children leaving home and starting out at college). You can also make seasonal product recommendations for personalised special gifts or themes.
If you target young millennials, think about those who live on their own and start a “Spoil Me” campaign to celebrate their success so they feel more like a part of your brand.
If global poverty is close to your heart, consider sponsoring a program or child overseas and donate a percentage of your profits to aid, while keep your customers updated with how their purchase impact the progress of children in poverty.
vIf youth education is important to your core values, sponsor local students studying in your field or industry and follow their career progression.
All of these initiatives demonstrate your social commitment and integrity as a business, which in an age of scepticism toward mass advertising is marketing gold for you.
The great thing about marketing in creative industries (e.g., advertising, architecture, art, crafts, design, fashion, film, music, performing arts, publishing, etc.) is that the possibilities are endless – your creativity is the only limit.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Nirelle Bennett is the General Manager of CMS Corporate Merchandise Solutions, a promotional products specialist company with over 20 years of marketing experience across a range of industries including FMCG, SME and professional services. With a diverse marketing background under her belt, Nirelle understands what today’s buyers need and want, and is perfectly poised to advise companies on their promotional product requirements. In addition to a solid understanding of the elements essential to building a successful promotional campaign, Nirelle also understands that marketing in this day and age is changing, and she’s always looking to combine creative marketing opportunities with promotional products to ensure the best ROI for her clients.