Successful marketing in the creative industries today is not formulaic. I can’t tell you how often I hear from photographers (especially on forums) who say that they just want to know what to do–as in “give me the formula for success.” These people are looking for something like:
3 postcard mailers + 6 email promos + website = 25% increase in business
Trouble is, there is no formula. There are common tools which usually work at some level and some others that are usually less successful, but even within those categories the phrase “it depends” still is supreme.
For example, a print mailer is a good thing, generally speaking, but only if the image(s) on it are fantastic and it’s a part of a whole campaign, not a one-off shot in the dark. Oh, and if the design sucks, that’ll reduce its effectiveness. Same for printing. And if it’s a postcard it probably won’t be as effective as a folded mailer…except, of course, when it is, especially because of reasons like image choice and design.
Then there is targeting. If you aren’t targeting well, then you’re wasting a lot of your marketing budget. You *could* send out 6000 cards each mailing to a list of buyers who buy lifestyle photography and maybe you’ll get a hit here and there. Or, you could spend more money on each piece, making a higher-end-looking mailer (maybe a mini-book?), and send it out to only 1000 much more targeted targets–ones you know have used work like yours in some way and with whom you really want to work.
Instead of throwing it out there and seeing what sticks (old school marketing, imho), by building a highly targeted list you can then devote more money and energy to seeing the commonalities of your targets and making pieces that really speak to those targets. You don’t have to worry so much about “70% may like X but the other 30% will be offended” and the like, because, as you target, you’ll see that your best targets are more alike than not.
So no, there is no formula for marketing success other than doing the research, being consistent, and having the persistence to keep trying for the rest of your career.