When it comes to buying things, we all use a 3-part decision-making criteria. We tend to buy from people and companies based on these things:
Not always in that order. Think about the purchases you make. How often do you try something new and unknown when you have a perfect solution from a known supplier? It’s just too convenient to go back to the reliable source.
I will give you that we all like variety and to try new things. However, the bulk of your purchases from cars to colas is from companies you know, like and trust. You go with them because you are aware of and like their products. You are aware their prices are realistic and are confident of your value as a customer.
Of course, don’t have personal relationships with the Ford Motor Company or Coca-Cola Corporation. That said, contact their them through social media or their customer service contact points. You will find they most often respond in a personal manner.
Not long ago, a colleague complained to me his new Nike running shoes had a defect. He was more than a little disbelieving when I told him to go online and contact customer support. He did despite his hesitancy. A Nike rep responded and sent him a return label to send the shoes back. Moreover, he also got a link he could use to design new pair shoes, which came in short order.
He ended up thrilled. He loved the look of his new, personalized shoes. I can’t explain the thrill he got from his response from Nike’s customer service. As you can imagine, this incident took him from a casual customer to a devoted Nike fan. He will buy more shoes and talk about his experience with Nike now like never before.
What do you think happened to his LCV (Lifetime Customer Value) for Nike? I guess it increased his value to Nike by tenfold. He is an avid runner and weight lifter. He not only buys many pairs of athletic shoes each year, but he also buys tons of athletic apparel. In fact, that is what makes up most of his wardrobe.
He is a walking billboard for the company. He also now is a disciple for it. One who will spread the word about the company, its customer service, its brand, and its products. That value is near immeasurable and close to priceless.
Almost nothing is the correct answer. The moral here that by taking care of its customers, Nike added to its bottom line for the year to come. My friend may buy a pair of Adidas shoes in the future, but Nike will always get consideration before he does. He knows he will never be stuck with a product that is not right for him or is defective. That is huge.
When it comes to who buys art, there are six broad categories. You can choose to market to them all. I have seen successful careers from artists in every imaginable combination of types. I believe the Collector category is the one that offers the greatest LCV for most artists. The typical artist has sales in several of these categories:
Using the SWAG Factor, I estimate 95% of all art gets sold through one of the above channels. Here is a brief description of each:
Let’s get back to the subject of this post.
I’m not saying it is easy to find collectors. It’s just once you have a relationship with a collector it is easier to sell them more pieces. It’s way easier than finding a new art buyer or another new collector. Think about it. You already that KNOW LIKE TRUST is how you sell just about anything. With established collectors, that work is already done.
With a collector, know, like and trust is already in place. You don’t have to spend time, energy, and marketing effort to establish them again. You just need to do these things:
You need a mix of the above types of buyers with collectors at the center of your marketing strategy. When done right, it is reasonable to expect a collector will buy 3-5, or more, pieces from you during your career. The other categories will fill in the sales you need. Collectors make your other categories icing on your cake.
Some collectors act as unpaid agents for you. They will boost your career through introductions to other buyers. A few will become mentors or evangelists who enrich your career in ways you cannot even imagine. You only get this kind of career-changing action if you make it a priority to develop a collector base.
Collectors are like my friend who has boosted his LCV with Nike. A collector will enhance your business with reliable, predictable sales. Getting that from the other categories mentioned above is difficult. Collectors are your customers. You have a one-to-one relationship with them that cannot be taken away from you. Galleries will close. Social media will fail or fail you. Mass marketers and designers only need you at times.
Want to learn more about how to find and develop collectors? I have some options for you. The first is for the artist on a budget. Read my Guerrilla Marketing for Artists: How 100 Collectors Can Bulletproof Your Career book. You can order the softcover on Amazon. It is available in the Kindle store. You can read Kindle books on any desktop, tablet or smartphone. Just download the free Kindle reader. You can borrow it to read free with Amazon Prime.