The most common thing that comes to mind when people think of sales and marketing is our friend, the obnoxious used-car salesman dressed in an equally tacky plaid sports coat, hammering on you with a high-pressure sales pitch for a low-quality automobile. We don’t hold such people in high regard.
If the thought of promotion makes you cringe, it’s helpful to look at it from a different perspective. One of the first and most important concepts of marketing is that you can’t make a sale unless potential customers are aware that your product exists. Consequently, once you’ve established a professional image, this awareness is what you need the most. In and of itself, it won’t guarantee you paying work, but it’s the largest contributing factor in achieving that goal.
No one will buy your product or attend your performance unless they know it exists. The need to publicize your work is therefore fundamental and unavoidable—that is, assuming that you’d like to get paid to have fun doing what you love.
If you want to build a better career, you don’t have to become a used-car salesman. You create because you want people to notice and enjoy your work. From that perspective, one could say that you’re in the attention business. That’s also how I would describe the world of marketing and PR. It’s really no-more complicated than that. You’re simply trying to get the attention of your audience.
Once you look at it in this way, the thought of spreading the word about your art becomes much more natural. When you do something cool, you have no problem telling your friends about it. If you’ve built a following, you’re equally comfortable telling your fans that you have something new to share. Taking your career to the next level and expanding your audience through the basics of promotion is no different than what you’re already doing. It simply occurs on a larger scale and with better organization.