[by Kat Dalager]
Shotgun marketing has become less effective in a population that would prefer to opt in rather than opt out. That means up front research is more important than ever if you want to make the most of your time and money.
Where to Begin You could always buy an email or mailing list from a list service (there are several great ones out there), but if you can’t afford that investment, I have several stand-by resources you could try.
Step One: Be Aware of Who Does What Spend time online, spend time reading publications – especially industry publications – to see what marketers are doing. What brand, company or type of work gets you excited? For the most current peek into the industry, I love Agency Spy, which is a free service of AdWeek.
Step Two: Honest Assessment How would your work be compatible with the brands that you want to do work with? Is your sensibility and style a match? Is your level of production and professionalism appropriate to meet their expectations? You may need an objective opinion on whether you’re an appropriate match to that potential client, so consult with a trusted professional so you can make the best first impression
Step Three: Find Out Who Does the Work AgencyCompile.com is my favorite resource for finding out which agency works on a particular brand. It’s a wealth of information and better yet, it’s FREE. As with all resources, it’s only as good as the information that’s been provided to them, so you need to do further research to make sure the listings are current.
Step Four: Dig Deeper Once you find out who is doing the work, continue to research the company/agency/ people doing the work. In the case of an agency, go to the agency’s website and research not only the work they do for a particular client, but ALL their work. That will give you a sense of their aesthetic and if your work is compatible. Sometimes, all you want to know is who the agencies or design firms are for a certain location. Workbook.com is my go-to source for researching all things creative, and it’s ideal for finding potential clients both locally and nationally. The directory is robust and it’s FREE!
Step Five: Find the Entry Point There may be several entry points within an organization. You want to find the one with the checkbook for the services you provide. Some companies have Art Buyers or Art Producers to coordinate purchases. In others, the Art Director or Creative Director make the purchases. Sometimes the Procurement department makes the purchases. The only way to know is to buy a list or to ask.
For years, Kat Dalager has been helping photographers discover gold by using the right tools.