The Age-old Argument Artists Are from Mars, Marketers and Merc
By Lois Boyle and Beki Weight
It's true: The art department is located on a whole different planet than the rest of the catalog marketing machine.
Artists and graphic designers wear different clothes, visit different Web pages, and speak an entirely different language.
But as different as they may seem on the surface, beneath that lime green outfit usually beats the heart of a bona fide catalog professional dedicated to the same goal as other catalog professionals ... to sell products off the page.
Selling product is a team sport. The marketer's role on the team is to select the right audience to be contacted and the right time to contact them.
Meanwhile, the merchandiser's role is to select the right product with the right features at the right price.
And the artist's role is to communicate to the marketer's audience about the merchandiser's product, features and price. Getting all of these elements right makes for a blockbuster season.
But in order for the artist to spin the marketer's and the merchandiser's "rights" into a catalog strategy with bottom-line results, there's one little Rumpelstilskin that must always be invoked: communication. Nothing grows in a vacuum, least of all business.
Information is Key
There's a difference, however, between communication and talking—the difference is information. With information, a marketer can communicate his or her goals and creative strategies, and the merchandiser can communicate the purchase drivers and brand differentiators of the products.
With the marketer's and merchandiser's information in hand before the design phase begins, the artist won't jump up and down cursing the tie-wearing denizens of the marketing home world—that is, Venus.
What Artists Really Want
What kind of information does an artist want, and when does he or she want it? The short answer: as much as they can get and as early as possible. The long answer involves four major segments of essential information that allow an artist to craft a creative presentation to support the marketing objectives.