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Marketing for the creative industries

What is marketing? 

Marketing comes into its own when it really meets a need or solves a problem for people. Ultimately, it’s about helping people in some way. Many people think that marketing is all about communications and promotion, yet the classic definition starts with a product or service.

Creativity is clearly very different from an item for sale in a supermarket, for example, or a service available from a bank. Nevertheless, it should and does play a helpful role in people’s lives. It’s often a good idea to think of marketing as the work you create and the communications that surround it. 

Meeting audience needs 

From a creative practitioner’s point of view, it’s useful to think about the psychological and emotional needs your audience might have, that your work could address. These needs can be found among many different kinds of people so you don’t have to limit yourself to targeting one type of audience. There is also an increasing opportunity for creativity as an antidote. 

What’s distinctive or special about your work? 

The work of every person has a unique quality or point of view, and in marketing we clarify what this is so we can communicate clearly about it to the right audiences. Often the person is part of the story, as well as the work itself. 

Positioning your work 

Understanding what makes your work special is fundamental to marketing because in most markets competition is intensifying and we want to ensure you are seen to occupy a particular niche. Creatives need to engage not just the public, but also intermediaries and buyers. Often people are trying to choose between options and find it easier to make a decision when they understand what makes a particular practitioner or work significant.    

It’s good to remember that you can ‘do’ marketing in lots of day-to-day ways, for example, the way you look after people when they come to your studio or office, how you answer the phone, or how you design an invoice or the paperwork that accompanies a delivery. In other words, you can carry through the essence of your work and philosophy in almost everything you do and create a consistent ‘signature’. 

Marketing channels                                                                                        

The digital world offers a number of channels for inexpensive marketing, most of which you can do for yourself. The most important things are first, to define what you want to achieve such as raise awareness, build a community, create buzz or encourage a purchase, and second, to be where your audiences are. 

Digital channels often suit creative people because they are able to create marketing that reflects their DNA and is as interesting as they are. When you’re carrying out a communications or promotional activity it’s a good idea to ask yourself if it will help people. If not, there’s a danger it will be perceived as ‘clutter’ that can be ignored. Simplicity is a virtue. And remember the power of the personal such as a card, a handwritten note or special gift wrap can touch people and reinforce that your work is unique and uniquely you – that is priceless.  

David P. Scott is a Photographer and Videographer based in Edinburgh. Listen as he reflects on his first three years in business and why you need to take risks in your marketing to grow professionally:

Formerly a director of integrated marketing agencies, Diane is a very experienced strategic marketer and champion of authentic marketing. You can make a free appointment with Diane by filling out our enquiry form.

Looking for sound advice and/or a sounding board?

Contact us to organise a meeting with one of our experienced and friendly creative industry advisors.