A Message from Seth Godin: (Link)
For every performer, composer, teacher and entrepreneur: Is this relevant to what we’re doing as artists? Let’s explore. Of course, I’m going to assume we’re all dedicated to keeping our integrity!
The undertones in Seth Godin’s message are powerful. He assumes you have ambitions to take things to the next level. He assumes you think your product isn’t achieving the success it deserves. The diagnosis can be related to the product and/or the personality.
(Side note: He also hints that traditional means of marketing are breaking down and new methods are of the essence. We’ll save that for another discussion!)
Let me try to put this into context. I think it works in two ways. Either you’re offering something that’s already abundantly available in the marketplace, or you’re trying to introduce something different to the marketplace with little or no success. Regardless, the symptom is the same: People are ignoring you. Who are they? They’re the audience you hope to have! They’re the success you hope to achieve!
From a marketing perspective, the solutions to these two scenarios seem to complement each other. If you’re offering something already in abundance, you’ll have to promote yourself as something new, different and innovative. On the other hand, if you’re offering something new, different or innovative to the marketplace, you’ll have to promote your product as something that’s already in high demand; convince them they want you, or else they’ll ignore you! Does that make sense? Seth?!
Here are a few specific scenarios. I’ll focus on scenarios related to performers because that’s what I’m most familiar with.
- You’re new to the scene and you want to break in
- You’re 1 of 50 collaborative pianists in the city
- You lead 1 of 30 jazz quartets in the city
- You have a Bachelor in Music Performance
- You’re trying to get a gig at the local club
- You’re trying to get more gigs at more clubs
- You’re talented
Competition is fierce just with the sheer volume of supply. Yes, on a deep level, everyone is different and has their own unique style and sound. But they’re still ignoring you! Why? Because this is what they see:
- You sound like everyone else sounds
- You act how everyone else acts
- You look how everyone else looks
- You want what everyone else wants
So far, I’ve reiterated what Seth said, only in music speak. For artists and musicians, the solution is clear: Be remarkable. How? Easy answer: Be the best! Master your craft! This way, you’re almost guaranteed to bypass the competition.
Another way is to use creative thinking. Look at what everyone else does, find the common element and enhance it. How do they present themselves? How can you do better? A simple example: You’re hired to play in a band that plays original music. You may notice that members of this kind of band are usually reading from a score. My advice: Memorize the music!
There are many other ways musicians and entrepreneurs can enhance their efforts in order to stand out (and still keep the artistic integrity!) Don’t take any part of your career for granted. Try looking at yourself objectively. Try to see what they see. How are your people skills? How do you dress? How do you act? How do you connect with an audience? How do you compare? What can you offer that nobody else can?