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Marketing Monday: getting and using intelligence

Now that you have taken the leap into the world marketing the next important step you need to take is to start collecting, analyzing  and organizing the intell you are gathering. What intell you ask? All of the information you are collecting about your market is your intell and …

Now that you have taken the leap into the world marketing the next important step you need to take is to start collecting, analyzing  and organizing the intell you are gathering. What intell you ask? All of the information you are collecting about your market is your intell and you are the chief analyst using your list, your online listening posts, your conversations with customers  and their sales patterns. So let’s take a look at some of the ways you can turn this information into a format that will help you down the road.

There are four categories you need to pay attention to:

1. Web Metrics

The first part of web metrics is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is a way of optimizing your blog so that it can be easily found and indexed by search engines, in return you are rewarded with higher page ranks on particular search terms. The most non-geek types need to know is that ease in which you are found is relative to the optimization level of your blog.

The other part of web metrics more important to you are the stats on who visits your blog, where they come from, what they read, how they move through and where they go after words. There are many ways to collect and analyze this information depending on your relative geekiness. For the non geek the simplest is Google web analytics for the real nerds Woopra could become an obsession. Where Google give you raw stats Woopra shows you visitors in real time as they travel through your site.

By placing a small bit of code into your blog or site you will be able to find out everything from usage patterns to geographic locations of visitors. For the artist traveling the art fair circuit this intell can help you find geographic patterns and if you are selling on line the relative interest level for one product over another. If you regularly update your blog with new work you can estimate relative popularity of a particular product by the number of visits to that product’s post.

Let’s take a quick look at the intell you can glean from something like Google Analytics:

google traffic 400x238 Marketing Monday: getting and using intelligence

General overview of traffic

This view gives you a summary of information collected over the period selected.

google demograph 400x263 Marketing Monday: getting and using intelligenceGeographic & demographic breakdown

This information will tell the geographic information of visitors and when analyzed deeper you’ll be able to see their entire journey through your pages.

google page visits 400x244 Marketing Monday: getting and using intelligenceTotal Pages Visited

Knowing what type of content your visitors read the most can help you both in your writing and production by knowing what subjects or products receive the highest attention. This level of analysis can also be taken deeper giving you links to geography, etc.

google referrals 400x269 Marketing Monday: getting and using intelligenceAll Traffic Sources

Knowing where your visitors arrived from is very important especially when looking for search engine arrivals. Penetrating deeper into this category you’ll be able to identify the key words that brought your visitors to you. You’ll also be able to see what sites are providing you with visitors and the value of those visitors relative to their time on your site.

2. Inventory info

One of the most important pieces of intell is your own inventory information. If you collect and maintain information on not only your inventory levels but also how the product was sold, on-line,gallery, or art fair, you can easily spot patterns. You will be able to see buying patterns that will help you with production strategy, merchandising and inventory for appropriate for particular venues.

The easiest way to do this is to use a database if you work on a Mac and have OS10.5 or newer Bento is perhaps the best and easiest to set up. Bento is a very scaled down and user friendly version of File Maker Pro which is also excellent but a little more challenging to set up custom data bases. Why use a database instead of a spread sheet like Excel or Apple Numbers? The primary reason is ease of use, analytical options and data entry, most databases today also have image fields making it possible to insert inventory images.

bento inventory 400x258 Marketing Monday: getting and using intelligence
Some of the information that would be good to keep track of for inventory are:

  • Product description
  • Sales
  • Purchaser
  • Show or venue sale made
  • Image of product
  • Price
  • Purchase date
  • Notes specific to the product
  • Date it was created

3. Customer information

bento customer 400x262 Marketing Monday: getting and using intelligence

Maintaining a customer database linked to your inventory can tell you a lot about your customers besides having all of their information in one place. Here are just a few of the types of inell you might want to maintain:

  • Personal details name,address,phone
  • Electronic contact info- e-mail, social networks
  • Item purchased
  • Price
  • Show
  • Date
  • Thank you card status
  • E-mails sent
  • Photo

If you are selling high end work $100+ and you have the time your buyers will consider themselves honored to be photographed with the work they purchased. You can then include that photo in their customer profile and even send them a copy along with a thank you card.

A benefit of keeping track of products specific to certain buyers is that you can start to see trends and use those trends to suggest other similar products …like Amazon especially if you are selling online.

4. Trends

The primary reason for collecting all of this information is to help you spot and respond to trends. Being nimble enough to respond to trends which can change in the blink of an eye is critical in today’s market. So here are some of the trends you might look for and how can analyze the information to spot them.


  • Online trends

Using Google Analytics you can quickly find out what your readers are reading on your blog and try to deliver similar information in the future. You can also see the effectiveness of your connection strategies by keeping tabs on referral sources like e-mail, or direct referrals both of which usually mean visitors have your web address. Watching google searches and the keywords associated with the search can tell you if and how people are finding you so you can adjust accordingly.

Watching the pages or posts visitors hit can  not only tell you what they are interested in reading but also if you are selling on-line what products are receiving the most attention. You can then use this information in conjunction with an on-line poll for example to help you determine what parts of your product line produce the highest sales vs. Production as in  80/20 rule.

  • Buying trends

Using both your inventory and customer data bases you can track buying trends by price point, location, even demographic if you have collected that info. So if you sell primarily at art fairs you can use both data bases to determine which product sells best, which price point experiences the highest sales to help you determine what inventory to take to which show.

Another advantage of keeping both types of databases is that you can pay attention to what your buyers purchase  and use that information as a basis for continued contact. You might ask them how they are using the product, if they are enjoying it etc. Finally, having such detailed and linked information will help you get them excited about reconnecting with you when you return.

Collecting your intell will always change because conditions, people etc. change the important thing to keep constant is using the intell to reinforce your core values and message so that you identify and serve the customers who will continue to buy from you.

 Marketing Monday: getting and using intelligence

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By TheArtistsCenter

Bill Weaver is an award winning photographer, visual artist and designer. Bill has worked as an artist, designer, teacher and photographer beginning at a very young age. His mother was a prolific painter and his father was an architect/engineer and inventor. Bill began photography at the ripe age of 8 when he successfully talked his father into letting him use one of his WWII “liberated” cameras from then on he has seldom put a camera down. He was recently informed by his 89 yr old father that the circa 1930 enlarger he used through college was still available! He also started drawing and painting at an early age using everything from watercolor to charcoal. He combined his visual awareness in graduate school where he first learned his love of design.

Bill Created The after 15 years as a working clay artist and photographer led him to question the standard ways artists market their work. In 2004 along with 3 other artists, Brenna Busse, Erika Mock,and Frank Barr, he explored ways to educate the public about the value of hand made work and fine art. Brenna and Erika are contributing writers to The ARTISTScenter.
He also can be found on his photography blog and his photography site

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