If you can’t confidently answer yes to these questions, I’d argue that you’re missing out on large amounts of merchandising revenue and branding potential.
> guest post by Allison Shaw, Director of B2B Marketing, Jakprints, Inc.
(1) Do you feel that you have a strongly-defined, recognizable brand and identity for yourself, your band, or your label?
(2) Do you know your revenues and profit margins on merchandising?
(3) Do you know your revenues and profit margins on each specific piece of merchandise that you sell?
(4) Do you feel that you have a close understanding of what your fan base wants when it comes to merchandising items?
(5) Are you maximizing your profits in this area?
A major part of the problem here is knowledge, or lack thereof. It’s easy to pick up anecdotal tips and tricks, and get a sense for things by simply doing it. But outside of ‘sell more merch!’ there are actually few resources and little research available for maximizing this revenue stream.
Which means that developing a comprehensive and effective strategy around this potentially lucrative revenue source is difficult, and results are typically underwhelming.
There are several negative associations for artists apply to, well, selling a lot of stuff. For many musicians and artists, as soon as they hear ‘marketing guy’ buzzwords, they get turned off and tune out. You may even feel that branding yourself and marketing yourself like a business makes you a sell out.
I’d say this couldn’t be further from the truth. Branding isn’t about turning you — or your art — into a commodity, it’s about giving your fans more ways to show their support – and support your art. Even though those phrases are straight out of Corporate America, they’re really just fancy ways of saying three basic tenets:
- Who are your fans or supporters (and hopefully buyers)?
- What do your fans want?
- What is your goal and plan to: reach, satisfy and develop a revenue stream from your fans or supporters?
Here’s another ‘Corporate America’ term for you: Brand Ambassador. What is a Brand Ambassador and what does that mean to you? They’re your fans. Not only do they love your work, they identify themselves through your work – and they want the whole world to know it. They want your t-shirt. They want the bumper sticker. They want your show posters. And, they want a stack of flyers to promote your next show. They are your street team and advertisers.
Now that we’ve identified the problems and challenges, what’s the solution? How can artists create an incredible, lucrative marketing strategy?
The Jakprints + Digital Music News Strategic Partnership.
Are you ready to define your fan base and give them what they want? Are you ready to strategize and build a marketing plan for success? Ready but don’t have a plan or know where to start?
As part of our just-created strategic partnership with Digital Music News, we want to share our best practices along with our industry knowledge and transform your merchandising strategy as a result. The goal is to enable better decision-making through information and lend our expertise the entire way.
Why Jakprints? Who are we? As industry veterans, I’d say we’ve seen it all and learned a few tricks over the years. Jakprints was born from two musicians, who wanted a way to easily and cost-effectively market their bands. They quickly discovered that a print shop willing to produce t-shirts, stickers, postcards and flyers with a touring band in mind – and with the artistic quality that matched the integrity of the music — simply didn’t exist. Jakprints was born as a full service custom print shop with the artist, the musician, the individual – you – in mind.
So it’s simple: We want to be the people that help breathe life into your project by creating a platform for you to design and create anything you need. We believe we have the knowledge and tips that will help you harness the marketing potential you didn’t even know existed. Our mission is to provide an online environment where any business, brand, fan or entertainer can expect the highest level of quality and service. And this is the place we want to do it.