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Ideas That Worked

Ideas That Worked

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Published by Solomon
Practicing artists share their word of mouth marketing stories
Practicing artists share their word of mouth marketing stories

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Published by: Solomon on Jul 30, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Ideas that worked
Practising artists share their word of mouth marketing stories from thecoalface
Compiled by Pippa Dickson, fuel4arts.com Australia September 2007Designer and self-confessed ‘teatowelologist’, Abi Crompton, emerging photographer, EddieMajor and community artist, Dianne Turner come from very different forms of arts practice butall have experimented with innovative, low budget strategies for spreading the word abouttheir work. They share the highs and lows with fuellers in this Gas Quarterly.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………About the artists Abi Crompton
Inspired by the 60s pop art movement, Abi’s company, Third Drawer Down launched four years ago with a collection of limited edition domestic linen that doubled as collectible piecesof art. The project began when Abi printed a carefully curated selection of art onto linen teatowels. Propelled by the success of Third Drawer Down's patronage, they expanded the lineof linen by adding aprons and handkerchiefs (a.k.a. Artkerchiefs) to the mix. TDD believesthat by placing art into domestic environments, it creates accessibility, affordability andfunctionality that does not exist within the traditional art world, where art has no inherent usevalue.
Dianne Turner 
has been working fulltime in the arts for 15 years, 12 of them in the field of community arts. This has given her a sound knowledge of community artworks fromconception to completion. She is passionate about community art and constantly sees thebenefits it brings through the development of skills and pride of self and community. Dianneenjoys working with people of all ages and cultural backgrounds and has a fantastic timecreating new and exciting public art to enliven and inspire the community to look beyond their comfortable boundaries.
Eddie Major 
Eddie is an emerging fine arts photographer whocreates colour portraits specifically looking at themes of adolescent masculinity withindomestic western culture. His most recent exhibition was part of the South Australian LivingArtists’ (SALA) Festival. Eddie lives and works in Adelaide and Melbourne.
What is your aim with marketing?
The background to my philosophy in marketing stems from Aesop, the Australian beautycompany. It’s a very simple kind of mission in a way, that you never pay for advertising. Myinitial aim was to have no budget for marketing at all but to invest it within labour…so it wasmore about time marketing than money marketing.
“My philosophy in marketing….is avery simple kind of mission…that you never pay for advertising.” Abi CromptonDianne
When I first started in this industry, three other pottersand myself formed a co-op and opened a workshop/gallery. Our aimwas to open a gallery with a workshop area so we could be productiveas well as sell the pots we produced. The workshop/gallery was a littleout of the centre of town and part of a Craft Village that was only openonce a month. We envisaged being open 4 days a week and needed tofind a way to let people know we were there.
As my mostrecent exhibition was part of the South Australian Living Artists’(SALA) festival, I tailor-made a publicity campaign to help ‘stand outfrom the crowd’ of 1,500 other artists participating in the festival. Mymain launch party was promoted by a ‘word of mouth’ style of internet,email and SMS promotion to friends, associates, and previouscustomers. The date was chosen as it was a Wednesday evening (aday when people are less likely to have prior commitments) and it wastwo days before the festival launch party. My aim was to;• Maximize the audience who view my artworks, both on location at the exhibition, viamy website and via news and internet media, and
• Gain maximum press coverage for my art exhibition, specifically targeting newspaper,magazine, and internet news mediums.As my art medium is colour photography, my works can be easily digitally replicated innewspapers and websites, increasing my potential audience. The downside to photography isthat the public perceive a photographic print as somehow less valuable than a painted or sculpted work simply because photographs can be easily copied. I decided to embrace thisaspect of photography, and set the goal of having my work replicated (in full colour) in asmany printed publications as possible. That way, my photographs have a far greater reach tointernational audiences and are regarded as art ‘images’ rather than a single work.
What did you do for a recent your marketing campaign to generate pass on?
Word of mouth and giving away product is a big side of it. With the giveaways, it’s aboutopening up dialogues with media and having product as an offering. Free products aresometimes given in lieu of a small promotion about Third Drawer Down. It also can be used topromote an artist who is particular to a certain theme within a magazine. If you’re keeping anopen dialogue with these people, it’s about a mutual support system. There are a couple of blogs that we have very good relationships with as well. Cool Hunting ran a really funcompetition last year where people had to send in photos of their dirty dishes and the bestphotos won a Third Drawer Down tea towel. Blogs that have competitions or featuresattached to them allow instant access to your product because people can go directly to your website. It’s a very positive area that’s becoming more and more powerful.
© 2007 Australia Council for the Arts
We planned on an opening asking the Mayor to open the gallery. In this way, we feltwe could contact the local papers and TV as an interest story. We also contacted the twolocal shopping areas and asked if we could set up an area to canvas people about what theywere interested in and also bring our pottery wheels and make pots where people areshopping. We made up a questionnaire asking people about what type of pottery they liked;what they were interested in purchasing; if they had ever purchased pottery in the past; if theyhad any ideas of the type of pottery we should produce; if they would like to attend our opening. At the bottom of the questionnaire, we had a place to put your name and address.All the questionnaires went into a raffle for some pottery, which we had on display, and wasbeing drawn at the opening.
My promotion was broken up into two main categories,initially promoting my launch party as an event then promoting my artwork and exhibitiongenerally. The launch party was listed in the SALA guide, and email invitations were sent aslow resolution jpeg images. They were also posted online to my friends and colleagues
webpages to attract their attention and anyone else who visits their page. My corepromotion focused on an email and internet publicity campaign with a goal of achievingmainstream newspaper coverage locally and internationally. This resulted in one of myartworks running on the front page of the
 Advertiser Review 
(an arts/culture lift-out in the
 Adelaide Advertiser 
with an estimated readership 706,000) as well as one major feature on pg13 of the
the following week (with a readership estimated at 500,000- 550,000). Mywork was also mentioned two further times in other general articles about the festival. Theday the feature story ran in the
(Aug 2 2007) I was invited to talk (via telephone) ona popular commercial talkback radio show. This was an *interesting* experience as the talkshow hostess described my artwork as ‘disturbing’ and suggested that people boycott theexhibition. However, in that first week I made six sales and my website traffic increased froman average of 3.6 visitors a day, to a peak of almost 6,000 on the day after the exhibitionopened. The feature in the
established a newsworthiness regarding my exhibition and my name as a visual arts identity.Therefore I used it as a basis for emailing international press releases to approximately 200arts editors and staff writers at the top 20 American Newspapers (by circulation, and guidedby editorial standard of papers which actually engage in a discussion regarding visual arts).
The story was picked up by the
‘Rocky Mountain News’ 
in Denver,Colorado. A journalist did a telephone interview, and I provided theman image via email and they ran a 350 word article about my artwork.The paper has an audited circulation of 255,427 and is the 9 largestpaper in the US. I was also interviewed by a major US national paper,but that article was cancelled in order to run a developing ‘hard news’story (a decision I’m happy with).
“Always ensurewhen you haveyour picturetaken by thepaper that youadd where youare from.”Dianne Turner 

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