Don’t Use Price as Marketing Strategy


This post is by guest author  Keith Bond. This article has been edited and published with the author’s permission. We’ve promoted this post to feature status because it provides great value to the FineArtViews community. If you want your blog posts listed in the  FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 60,500 subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites. This author’s views are entirely his own and may not always reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.

Are your marketing efforts reaching those you are trying to attract?  If not, maybe you are using the wrong strategy.  There are many potentially poor marketing strategies, but today I will write about only one.  Pricing.  But first, let’s identify your ideal collector.


Who is your ideal collector?


Think about who this person is.  Write it down.  Describe him or her in detail.  Christine Kane stresses the importance of knowing and communicating your ideal client’s needs, objections, desires, and even doubts and worries.  So go ahead and identify who that person is.  Write it down.


Look at what you wrote.  Is a penny-pincher on the top of the list?  Is your ideal collector more concerned with getting anything for cheap than getting something of real value that enriches their life?  Is getting a bargain more important for your ideal collector than any other benefit your art can offer?


If this is your ideal collector, then there is no need for you to read this article.  It isn’t for you.


If this does not describe your ideal collector, then don’t market to this group.  Don’t use price as your marketing strategy.  If your ideal collector loves art and values the enrichment that art brings to their life and wants work that speaks to them, then focus your marketing message on those qualities.  That is how you attract your ideal collectors.


Pitfalls of using low price as a marketing strategy


One thing I learned in my college marketing classes was that if you use price discounts as a marketing strategy it is ineffective – unless you intentionally position yourself as the bargain basement company.  Why?


  • Anyone can copy your tactics.  
  • There will always be someone who can sell for less. 
  • It doesn’t tell your story.  It doesn’t say anything about your service or quality.
  • It overlooks the needs, wants, desires, etc. of your target audience.
  • You attract clients whose motivation is price rather than quality or service. 
  • It can be difficult to raise prices later because your clients expect low prices.


Market your strengths – market to your ideal collector


On the other hand, if you market yourself on service, quality, novelty, your unique voice, or some other trait – those things are much more difficult for competitors to mimic.  You can set yourself apart from the others.  You have more control over your prices and can raise them when necessary without upsetting your core clients.  Your clients value your art because it fulfills one or more needs other than price (you identified those needs as you described your ideal collector).  Remember, art is a luxury, non-essential item.  There needs to be a reason other than price to motivate an art collector.  Know those reasons and tailor your message to them.  This should be your marketing strategy.  Let me repeat what Christine Kane advocates: know and communicate the desires, needs, objections, and doubts of your ideal collector in all your marketing efforts. 


Prices are a business decision, not a marketing strategy


Regardless of where you ultimately decide to price your work, don’t use your price point as a marketing strategy – it can be a business strategy, but your marketing shouldn’t focus on that.


Even if you price your art low; even if you offer discounts or sales from time to time; even if you reduced your prices because of the economy; that is okay.  If, as a business decision, you feel that is the best choice, then do so.  I am not advocating that you must have high prices.  I am simply saying that you should use a different message in your marketing communications.  Tell your ideal collector just how your art meets their other needs and wants.


But collectors do have financial concerns


Yes, you may have identified financial concerns in your ideal client.  Most people are motivated to some extent by price.  Everyone wants a good deal. 


But there are ways to acknowledge and address financial concerns without using price as a marketing strategy.  For example, you could offer layaway options.  You could help them realize that your art fulfills other desires, needs, wants, and even alleviates other concerns or fears that they have.  For many collectors, these benefits will often outweigh financial concerns.  But sometimes they need you to remind them.


Regardless of whether you are low or high priced, there will be people who think your work is priced too high.  But there will also be people who recognize its worth and are willing to pay that price. 


Who do you want to market to?


Best Wishes,

Keith Bond



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