Art is more than just a skill; it is a commitment to creative habits, to learning and crafting an aesthetic. I remember still towards the middle of my high school experience when I had to face the choice of whether I wanted to become a professional artist on the violin.
I had played violin since I was four and was one of the best student violinists in 100 miles, but I knew that I would have to be much better if I wanted to develop that into my lifelong profession.
I decided to keep it a hobby.
Qualities of an Artist
Although I did not commit then, I knew what it takes to succeed as a professional artist, as an innovative creator. Fast forward an indeterminate number of years later, I am committed to a different art.
This art includes design and composition, writing and performing. It also includes leadership, relational intelligence, mathematics, and writing skills.
But, the skills necessary for an artist are not as important as the character traits it takes to survive and thrive as an artist; hence the reason I did not succeed as a professional violinist (I still play and teach), I did not have a fundamental artist’s trait: passion.
So, here are 7 character attributes you will need to succeed as a marketer.
Passion for the People, Product and Process
When you are marketing, passion for the product does not cut it. There is such a tremendous learning curve for each marketing system, you get to learn about ideal customers (people), business partners (people), the process by which you get a product or service to the market (process and product). And without passion, why would you learn all that!?
As a Christian, I understand faith in something larger than myself, but even if you are not a theist, you still need to have faith that the world is not coming to an end tomorrow and that the universe is generally in your favor if you do the right activities. Also, you will need tremendous faith and trust in fellow humans, because marketing is all about understanding both your ideal customer (target market) and your co laborers in the marketing project.
Extroversion of Some Degree
Introverts can be marketers, but they will have to break out of their comfort zone substantially. Why? Because marketing is about getting the right products, services and brands in front of the right people at the right time so that they can enter into a relationship with that brand.
Marketing is about people. Yes we get to play with technical things in the dark of our living rooms, alone, after the kids have fallen asleep, but without people to look at our work, we will never be able to earn a living.
Rest. Another one of the attributes that I attribute to my Christianity, but there are many good reasons beyond religious ones to incorporate an attitude of rest into an artistic marketing mindset.
Did you hear when the CEO of Yahoo missed a major meeting with advertisers because she slept in? She is well known for saying that people who need 8 hours of sleep a night are wasting time.
This is silly. From an artistic mindset, rest helps you recover from work, get a new viewpoint on your creative process, helps your brain restart, and helps you incorporate diverse strands into the creation you are making.
An unrested artist creates factory products; this marketing, be different and rest.
A Learning/Teacher Heart
If you want to truly learn something, teach it to someone else. This truism is essential to marketing, because you will be constantly learning and teaching others. Marketing and sales are designed to creatively bring customers into relationships with a brand where commercial transactions take place. You cannot do that without understanding basic principles of teaching.
A Diligent Heart
I did not commit to violin because I knew that I would have to practice at least an hour a day and max out at 5. Every day except rest days. I did not want to commit to that, but it was necessary.
In the same way, I do commit to work on learning and practicing marketing an hour a day. When I am busy writing for clients, I still need to spend at least an hour learning and practicing.
Like all arts, marketing and sales require persistent commitment to habits of creativity. Twyla Tharp, a dancer, has a great book called The Creative Habit. Look it up.
Is the Art of Marketing for Me?
If you are reading through these attributes and think, that sounds hard, it is.
The art of marketing is a commitment that takes significant amounts out of you, but if your passion for what you are marketing, who you are marketing, and why it is important is great enough, you will put up with any amount of labor to practice your art.
I still play violin, but I do not really practice. I also still sing, but I do not practice that either.
I do practice marketing
What art do you practice in your day? How do these attributes reflect on what you are passionate about you are doing? Please leave a comment!