I can’t help but occasionally be reminded, by some creatives, of Veruca Salt. Ms. Salt is the character from Willy Wonka who, in the classic Gene Wilder version, sings in her most excruciatingly whiny spoiled-brat voice:
I want the works
I want the whole works
Presents and prizes
And sweets and surprises
Of all shapes and sizes
Don’t care how, I want it now
Don’t care how, I want it now.
Today I thought of that because I yet again read about a “frustrated” photographer. This one had been asked to show his book several times (in a very few months) to a very well known agency but had yet to get work with them. Instead of seeing how great it is that they are interested, he’s pissed that he hasn’t gotten any work yet.
I hear from photographers all the time who say things like “I sent a postcard once–never heard from anyone I sent to so it didn’t work,” and “I’ve called the AB there like 100 times but she never returns my calls!” and “It doesn’t do any good to send postcards or emails–they never get you work!”
This is all thinking short-term. No, a postcard or even a campaign of ‘em might not directly bring you in any work. It’s marketing, sweetheart, not selling. Marketing is slow–it’s about building a brand and laying foundations and consistency and time. Selling is fast. Selling is about asking for and then closing the deal.
Selling is what the car dealer does when you are on the lot. Marketing is what Mini Cooper does to get you to go to the lot in the first place. No one buys a Mini because they had the coolest ad in Esquire, but they may begin to imagine buying a Mini because of that ad. And then the online experience at miniusa.com re-enforces that imaginary moment of possibly buying a Mini. And the brochure that arrives makes it even more possible.
Imagining a future purchase is successful marketing. Making an AB think “I want to work with PhotoBob someday” is successful marketing. It takes time to happen and it takes time to convert into a selling possibility. When a client calls and says, “We’re interested in working with you on this project” then you sell. Then you need to close the deal. But until then, you need to think long-term and slow–build desire, build your brand.
Not now. Someday.