Why you want Marketing

What is marketing? And why do you, as a musician, want it?

Here’s the long technical definition of marketing by one of the world’s experts in the field, Dr. Philip Kotler:

Marketing is the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit.  Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential. It pinpoints which segments the company is capable of serving best and it designs and promotes the appropriate products and services.

Marketing is the art and science of figuring out who most wants what you have to offer.

But, as I promised, I’m going to cut through the corporatese. I prefer this idea of why you want marketing, from another expert, Theodore Levitt of the Harvard School of Business:

“You want to dig your well where you have the best chance of finding water with the least amount of digging.”

And once you dig that well, the water will keep flowing.

That’s what marketing and marketing strategy is about: figuring out who most wants what you have to offer. It is not selling. Some people say (to use another farming idea) that marketing is to selling as plowing is to planting. The marketing prepares people for buying.

Or, as Professor Levitt also said: “Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about. Marketing views the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse and satisfy customer needs.

That’s probably the biggest and most important part: satisfying customer needs. The only difference is that your music is more intended to satisfy desire rather than just need. And I personally don’t like to think of people who enjoy music as ‘customers’ or even worse, ‘consumers’ which is the soulless way most big companies refer to them.

You want to discover, create, arouse and satisfy audience desires.

Let’s call them people individually and collectively identify them as what they are – an audience. And when we substitute those words, we find that  what marketing will help you do is discover, create, arouse and satisfy audience desires.

Obviously, different audiences have different desires. That is where the part about the well comes in. When you do take the time to figure out an audience’s desires and how your music satisfies the desires, you’ll know exactly which people you want to communicate with and how to communicate with them.

And when it comes to being paid for making music, it means that the marketing strategy you put into place will make everything you do about selling yourself and your music faster, more efficient and more profitable.

More important maybe than making more money is that you will have to think less about how to sell your music. You are just following a strategy, not making it up as you go along. Which is time consuming. Less time doing that means more time your brain can be put to more pleasurable tasks. Like making music.

When your marketing is set, you’ll have more time to do satisfy your own desire: making music.

In fact, putting together your marketing and branding strategy is much like writing a song. You’re going to figure out the key and the time signature and the structure of the chorus and verse and which instruments are going to be used. After that, is the easy part…playing it.

Spend some time on it now to figure out the strategy and everything else will start to fall into place.

I’ll take you, step by step, through the things you need to do to create that strategy so that you and everyone else quickly and easily knows the best things about you and your music and will be reminded of it every time they hear or see your name.

Ready to begin? Let’s start figuring out the best place to dig that well. And get the water flowing

FIRST: The Marketing Mix and why it is important for musicians


Some suggested books on Marketing: