#2 / the business landscape for creatives

I was just reading Marketing 4.0 by Philip Kotler and thinking about the basic marketing books the same author wrote and that was a staple for any business & marketing students back in the 90’s and early 2000s. It talked about about the 4 P’s (Product, Price, Place and Promotion), the Marketing Mix and the Segmentation, Positioning and Targeting.

I will explain these very useful and still relevant concepts in another post, but for now I was looking at how this book has adapted to the changes in the marketing world where digital technology has been the major factor of change.

Today the whole landscape has changed, with new and diverse ways to produce, sell, market and distribute a variety of products and services that did not even exist 5-10 years ago.

Many creatives had to rely on having a store or a friend with a local store to show and sell their products. In many cases, starting costs were too high. Today, the digital world has allowed them to reduce the many start-up barriers and reach their customer directly.  I love hearing about those stories. The small maker who is now selling internationally and who gets picked up by a big store to show their products. I love what Anthropologie and West Elm are doing to promote local and small creatives. (Although I truly dislike that today it is West-Barn-Sonoma-Nation as all these brands are all owned by the same group … ughh)

I want to share with you today how the landscape for you and every creative entrepreneur has changed and why this is a good time for you to be doing what you are doing:

  • Our digital lives have exploded: Did you know that there are about 1.6 - 2bn people on Facebook every  month? And about 700 million on Instagram? Oh yeah.

  • Youtube is the reference guide for celebrities for kids between 13-18 years old. That is Youtube celebrities. Not Hollywood.

  • Because of the additional digital exposure and the sharing of “finds” by regular people, the market is shifting from high volume mainstream brands to low volume niche ones.

  • Social groups have the power. Customer communities have a voice and are not afraid of sharing their thoughts and opinions about brands. In fact random conversations about brands are now more credible than advertising.

  • The online world has redefined the way people interact, enabling new ways to establish relationships independent of geographic locations or demographic connections. It allows for collaboration, which is key for creatives. How many of you have found a talented friend / collaborator online?

  • Trust is a big factor. Many of these smaller brands have created a circle of friends amongst their clients. Customers know that they can contact the brand if there is a problem with the product or the service and they usually work together to find a solution.

  • When buying, customers are driven today by both individual preference and a desire for social acceptance or conformity. Even if we do not want to admit it, most of us like that other people like what we have chosen to purchase. The sharing aspect of our digital connectivity has strengthen this need.

  • Finally, the connected customer today is young, urban and moves around a lot. They are used to things being instant and time efficient. They search for products on their phones constantly, comparing and researching. And despite their internet savvy, they love to experience things physically  - think Casper mattresses)

What does this mean to you? As a creative entrepreneur you'll want to:

1) Understand your market: who is your client? Where do they shop? Who are they influenced by? So you and more effectively and efficiently use your time and resources.

2) Ensure that you build relationships with your existing customers as they are both the source of referrals and repeat purchases. Your clients are your best ambassadors. Ask them, research with them and build your network that way.

 3) Use your social digital and offline platforms according to where your clients are. Not everybody needs to be on Instagram. Maybe your clients are more Facebook users, or like receiving emails or like face to face interactions. Find out and use that channel. 

links for thought

Sharing resources with the creative community

  • This article tells you that there is more to Marketing than Social Media.



  • Some basic but interesting insights on how to define your ideal customer.



  • Seek out one of your local communities. I am truly enjoying meeting many talented people here.