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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

YOU, ME AND OLD JOE


This grew out of a an email exchange with Barney Davey whose savvy advice on www.artprintissues.com, along with his comment on my “discovery” that I could batch convert in minutes all 166 pages of my latest book, SALES TIPS FOR ARTISTS – What I Learned In 20 Years As An Rep - along with all the text, full color pictures, cartoons, examples of what sold and what didn't, - into a single attractive, readable PDF file and burn it all to an easily mailable CD. This was a real technological “breakthrough” for me, given my rudimentary computer expertise and it was one way I was considering to market, or, perhaps, give away, my book to help artists sell what they create.

Barney, whose cutting edge knowledge on “making it BIG” in the art world, which he shares through his blogs, book, HOW TO PROFIT FROM THE ART PRINT MARKET, and now through seminars and webinars (see his website for exciting details) very gently took a bit of wind out of my “sales,” when he said, ”Friend Richard – CDs are twentieth century technology,” and then added, as he always does, links to more up-to-date information on publishing in today's world than I can possibly absorb.

It came after a frustrating day I was having, but brought what I'll call a “marketing epiphany.”

I had wasted the whole day taking my cable company's non-functioning TV modem into town to be replaced, then talking for hours trying to get it to work properly by following, to the best of my limited ability, their pages of installation and programming directions, probably written by a non-English speaker – all to no avail.

I finally called our TV installation and repair guy whose shop is around the corner. He came right over, fixed everything, removed the hundreds of new “special on demand channels” we hadn't ordered so that neither my wife, who has some memory problems, nor I could inadvertently go there and never find our way back, which has happened before because one of us pushed the wrong buttons on a TV controller that looks as if it were made to operate a 747.

The house call cost $95, but compared to the frustration and time lost, was well worth it. I should have called as soon as I was dumped or dropped for the third time by the cable company and going through their endless phone tree each time to reach a live person - in India.

Are you wondering  why I posted the photo at the top of blog?  It was taken in India.  That's where most of the, often very knowledgeable, tech experts we are connected to live and work.   :>)

When the TV was working again, the news was reporting on hundreds of people lining up in advance to buy Apple's I-Phone 5 - “early adapters” who understand and appreciate the wonderful new technological wrinkles. It's a huge market - one I'm not yet part of. But, my art blogging, years ahead, friend, Barney Davey, definitely is.

Here's the epiphany: As soon as a new product is introduced and creates a new market, it also creates, or adds to, a huge, viable, counter-market. That's why “OLD JOE, HERE” is one of the growing millions who buy a “Jitterbug” - the cellphone for my generation, which wouldn't know, or care, what the latest AP might be. Joe just wants a big, clumsy phone, with oversize buttons he can see easily if he makes a call, and an easy way to talk to someone who will help him understand, in terms he relates to, what to do if he screws up. 

And he'll pay extra for it – just like I did to have my TVs fixed so I can't screw them up.  If you are willing to pay extra for the latest 1954 tecnology, you, too, can own a Harley!

Part of my epiphany is: just because it's dazzling, new and expensive doesn't make it better. That applies to the art Barney Davey and I write about. During twenty years as an art rep I sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of art many of today's up and coming creators might call “old fashion” - a lot of it that well loved “special” piece they have hanging over the sofa or mantlepiece. A lot of it is still giving pleasure every day to the people who bought it.

There's a growing market for the “ground-breaking” vision of what “early adapters” consider beautiful. But, just because we all grow older every year, there's also a growing counter-market for what's behind the “cutting edge” - like CDs for people who haven't yet “Kindled.” And plenty more who would rather have a book they can put on the shelf after reading it.

Barney, bringing it all back down to the business of creating, we both love, write and teach about, YOU, ME AND OLD JOE have our differences, but for artists looking for somewhere to sell what they create, it doesn't come down so much to what they create as it does to identifying who is most likely to buy and finding the best way to reach out to them. Maybe even CDs? Write a comment and let us know what you think.

1 comment:

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