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Marketing – an artist’s sharpest weapon


Marketing- an artist’s sharpest weapon

South African media was recently abuzz with an open letter that was penned by poet and ‘singer’, NtsikiMazwai, and addressed to our Minister of Sports and recreation, Mr FikileMbalula aka Mr Razzmatazz.  According Mazwai’s open letter, Razzmatazz is obsessed with Beyoncé, and he deems her more important than our own local artists.  Some people feel that the minister’s obsession withBeyoncé has nothing to do with his responsibilities as the minister while others think he shouldn’t be obsessed with American artists to an extent that he even dress like them… But what prompted Miss Mazwai to sit down and actually point out that the minister is ignoring gold in his own backyard? Is it really his obsession with B, or is it a cry for help on behalf of some South African artists who feellike their existence has been forgotten by potential business providers?Whose responsibility is it, if that’s the case, between the artists and potential clients to make sure that the artist’ work doesn’t fade away from the audiences’ mind?

Ask any teenager who NtsikiMazwai is, and listen while they try to connect what they can actually recall from what THEY Have heard from someone or read a while ago about her. Now, ask them again who Beyoncé is. I bet to you the list of everything they know including her songs will come out of their mouths as if its water coming out of a tap. But why is this? The answer leads to marketing. If one considers themselves a brand, they should always put marketing on top of their “to accomplish list” because at the end of the day, like in any other industry, we get hired because we have successfully marketed our craft.

We are living in a market-led world, and as such artists should invest in the best marketing plan for their work. There is no denying the fact that a brand is, and will always remain a brand through marketing.Artistsshould always know what they are trying to achieve and how they hope to do it. There are various types of marketing one can adopt as an artist.   The following are just some of the marketing tools artists should consider to market their craft.

Agents act on behalf of artist. They handle the business side of an artist’s life. These are the people responsible for bookings and marketing. Investing in one is very important because in most cases these people are trained and knowledgeable about the art and entertainment industry. Always bear in mind too that they come with a price attached.

  1. Direct approach.

What better way to market your craft than through pulling the bull by its horn? Approaching businesses about what you have offer shows how a person is adamant and determined to deliver to the audience. One cannot always wait for businesses to approach them, because sometimes with lack of marketing some businesses don’t even know one has something to offer.

  1. Press releases.

We all got to hear and read about NtsikiMazwai’s open letter to Mr Mbalula on the media. So why not market your craft through it? Most artists take advantage of the social media, and it would be comparative that any emerging artists should also adopt this platform and get themselves and their work out there. Letting people know who you are, what you have to offer, where and when they can see your work can reach the masses through just a tweet or status update, coming from that smart phone of yours.

  1. Networking

Go out there. Be seen. Exchange numbers. Enlist your name for the open mic session if you’re into poetry. Attend events that are related to what you do, and see what other people are doing. It will benefit you. Sitting at home and hoping to wake up with an invitation to an event that could benefit your career is just useless.

  1. Brand packaging.

As a brand, one should also consider how they present themselves to potential fans, what they say in public that could damage their reputation and work as artists, what worthy causes they associate themselves with and how they behave in public places. Brand packaging means being true to yourself, that is, not stealing and copying other peoples work,because diversity is a great thing and bad publicity isn’t always good publicity.


  1. Consistency

In order for one to excel in anything, a rule of consistency should be applied. An artist doesn’t sit and fold their hands after having one project that doesn’t sell or attract more customers than he had hoped it would. One is bound to be forgotten if their work is released five years apart, learning from Beyoncé is actually beneficial. Her consistency commands you not to even dare forget her because even if you wanted to, you wouldn’t.

The above mentioned marketing tools are but some of the tools that one can use to nurture their career as an artist. Put them to test. One can argue that by having a great marketing plan, open letters that suggest ministers overlook local artists and in Miss Mazwai’s words, “…put Americans before their own” will not plague our social media and ignite twars, in the long run. The minister might even consider his obsession with Beyoncé and obsess on a local artist. Marketing will always be, after an artist’s actual craft, an artist’s sharpest weapon in the war that is the art and entertainment industry.