Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You Don't Need A Sex Tape

 In the world of capitalism, exposure leads to acquisition.
It’s a core principle of marketing. Consumers have to know the product exists in order to buy it. Logical, right? That must be why Hollywood starlets feel compelled to release night-vision sex tapes, right? Exposure = Money, right? Uhm. No. There is one word missing from that marketing statement – Directly.

In the world of capitalism, exposure does not directly lead to acquisition.

In an era of the “Do More with Less” mentality, businesses try to convince themselves that exposure directly leads to acquisition. This go-to Recession mantra creates false expectations within their companies and leads to a loss of accountability. This holds particularly true for those who deal in the business of art (books, albums, plays, etc.). It cuts out a critical step that ought to occur between exposure and acquisition. It obscures the part for which the middle-man in the art business should be solely accountable. 


The onus of discovery is not on the individual artist. This is where the confusion between exposure and discovery happens.

Exposure: You, the individual artist, control this. In the simplest of terms it requires you to have a public presence. What you choose to expose of yourself and how you choose to do it are up to you. Website? Sex-tape? Sex-tape on your website?  If you don’t know the Public You or how best to present it, then consult with a Personal Brand Marketing specialist.

Discovery: Is what the consumer does with the help of industry. Industry. Why not you, the artist? Gaining the notice of consumers requires a funnel-approach of marketing. “Bored? Read a book,” gets filtered down to, “Fiction takes your mind off your problems.” “Like not knowing how it’s going to end? Try a mystery.” “Not a big fan of guts and gore? Try a Cozy Mystery.” On and on the filter of discovery goes until it hits the specific product – “Living la Vida Lola” by Misa Ramirez.

Tackle discovery on your own and you’re little more than a gnat in the zoo.

You can moon the passers-by, but who’s going to notice when there’s a lion in the middle of the sidewalk? A thousand gnats in the same location, however, demand attention. Discovery can’t be avoided. So if you are a member of an artists’ organization, encourage them to work with businesses to find ways to leverage technology to improve discovery. 

As an individual artist, it’s easy to believe what the company holding your paycheck tells you – expose yourself and consumers will buy your product. Don’t beat yourself up when that doesn’t work out the way they said it would.  

Remember – discovery is the missing step.


  1. A thoughtful post - and well worth the hours it took to write it, lol. I'm thinking of the term "waiting to be discovered." Only, I'd like to think there's more that I could do than just wait. Mooning passers-by doesn't seem like a totally bad idea -

  2. Kerry nailed it with "thoughtful." As writers, especially at conventions where readers also attend, its easy to feel like one of a thousand gnats. How to stand out? How to identify which readers would like the kind of story we're telling? I want to twist and ask how do we get the readers to expose themselves to us...but that could go soooo very wrong. :-D

  3. Yeah, that "waiting to be discovered" is tricky. The knee-jerk advice is "well, stop being passive" or "take control." The inference is that you've failed to make the masses aware of you.

    The Cons are a great example of funnel-marketing. They break through the bazillion of demands for consumer attention to gather the ones who share a common interest. Once inside the Con, there's usually some sort of booth organization that further refines options available to consumers. It's the artists' choice whether or not they attend -- whether or not they place themselves in the path of discovery.

    There's a huge opportunity cost in product marketing. If businesses invested as much time and effort in improving discovery technology as they do telling their artists to "better market themselves" ...we'd be a whole lot closer to a standardized and ubiquitous one-click "buy more books/albums/paintings like this."