What Marketers Can Learn from the Arts

The Arts

10 Feb What Marketers Can Learn from the Arts

As salespeople and marketers, we’re constantly looking for new ways to get a leg up on the competition. Sometimes that’s as simple as looking at what marketers from a different industry are doing and finding ways to port that to your own industry. At other times, it gets more complex, with marketers using concepts that they’ve learned from non-marketers.

You just have to take a look at the ever-increasing focus on storytelling to get an idea of how heavily marketers are influenced by the creative arts. The same is true for visual imagery, videos and other types of content. It’s no longer enough to simply show the product, to explain how it works and to entice people with an introductory offer. Today’s marketing content has to go above and beyond.

Jay Baer, the marketing thought-leader and bestselling author of Hug Your Haters, says that you should “make your marketing so useful people would pay you for it”. In this context, useful can mean multiple different things. As well as being useful in a practical sense, in the way that a guide or a tutorial can be, it could also be entertaining, aesthetically pleasing or even just interesting.


The Arts


Learning from the arts

Now that the worms are out of the can and content marketing has replaced old school outbound marketing, there’s no turning back. Companies are increasingly being forced to think of themselves as publishers, and to cater to this insatiable demand that we have for content, they’re also being forced to hire more and more creatives from an arts background.

At the same time, marketers are directly competing with the arts because when it comes to online marketing, everyone’s a competitor. Let’s say that you’re a financial services company and you’re trying to reach people with a new video. You’re not just competing with other financial services companies. You’re competing with an army of independent YouTube creators, as well as social networking sites, entertainment providers like Netflix and Spotify, and every other conceivable distraction that you can think of.

This is where marketers have the most to learn from the arts. A good artist knows how to hold their audience’s attention, which is increasingly important online when everything is just a click away. They also know who they’re trying to reach and what message they want people to take home with them. Marketing is all about reaching the right person with the right message in the right place at the right time, and yet the majority of marketers are still struggling to get it right.


The Arts


What’s Next?

Fifty years ago, marketing and the arts were almost irreconcilable, with the only real exception being in the art department. It wasn’t unheard of for copywriters to be working on novels in the evening, but there simply weren’t the options that we have today when it comes to blogging and self-publishing.

Now, though, the best creatives are content creators first and foremost, with many of them starting young and picking up years of experience before they ever enter the workplace. And yet despite this, many senior executives ignore their suggestions because of a perceived lack of knowledge. That’s the worst thing you can possibly do. Learn from the arts and listen to the artists. You might be surprised by how much your campaigns and your metrics improve.

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Dane Cobain

Dane is a published author and freelance writer, editor and social media marketer. He has been featured in multiple major news outlets including The Guardian, The Metro and BBC online and radio.