Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Sales and Marketing, part two

You may have fathomed from the end of that previous post, that I am about to launch a scathing attack upon the merits of marketing. However, that is not entirely the case, as I will attempt to explain.

As I have stated, marketing is the satisfaction of consumer or customer wants and needs profitably. These wants and needs have historically involved business and consumer goods. Hats, coats, food, drink, compact disks, computers, cars, houses, clothes. All things we want or need. It works. Then, marketing transferred itself to the service and not-for-profit sectors. Slightly more controversial, perhaps (as why spend money on advertising when extra could be invested in the service or charity?), but still it produced the desired result in many instances. So, surely, if all these things can be marketed, then what cant?

I’ll tell you what cant.


Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and marketing cheapens it. Well, I say cheapens it – it will cheapen it if used in the same way as it would to sell a widget. The X Factor is a good example. Mass, watered-down pap for the masses. Soap operas. Pantomimes. Novels by Jordan. All these things are “art by democracy” – in other words, finding the lowest and widest common denominator in terms of artistic acceptance and plugging that gap with rubbish simply because it will sell. In my opinion, art should be completely fascist and self-serving. It is far better to produce and painting, novel, play or album that only one person likes – if it means the artist maintaining his or her credentials – than communising all work to the extent where we can all vote for the “best one.” How can voting on art do anything other than to water down people’s natural reaction to something? Yes, debate is to be encouraged, but to persist with these trials by jury is to continue with the recent obsession of televisions “100 Greatest” series. Absolute pointless rubbish like this only serves to help middle aged desperados to order half-a-dozen albums on Amazon’s latest sale just to make themselves look better at their next dinner party. Listen to what you want to listen to! Read what you want to read! Develop your own thoughts!

If it is ever to embrace areas such as music, marketing needs to move on from the Simon Cowell model and get to grips with the soul of art. Only then can it resonate with its audience.

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