CREATE YOUR MONEY MAP (Marketing Action Plan): Monitor Your Success

3 02 2017

monitor-your-successWhether you plotted your Marketing Action Plan on a big wall or Google calendar, or even a spreadsheet of your own making, this is your plan to succeed and evaluate as only you can.

If you did indeed create measurable goals, then as you execute each step of your plan you should start to see results, or at least the steps which will lead to the resulting leap.

It’s important to stick to your plan and to share your plan with friends and family, so they can help you in any way you ask. Sometimes just their knowing you have a plan you are determined to succeed at is enough. Often getting their help in sticking with your schedule, preserving your creative time and space, or helping bolster you when it’s time for those sales calls is all so-so valuable.

Then get down and track those measurable items, how many collections, presentations sent, sales leads and sales calls. The last step is to compare your results to your goals. The more detailed you are in each step, the more you’ll be able to adjust your goals and tactics in coming years, as the objectives change and get bigger!


CREATE YOUR MONEY MAP (Marketing Action Plan): Put Your Tactics on the MAP

2 02 2017

put-your-tactics-on-the-mapWe are coming now to the final step of the MAP (Marketing Action Plan), where you actually put the tactics on your calendar. It’s important to double check that each one of your tactics is detailed enough, so that it includes how much time daily, weekly, monthly you need to achieve the results you want, as well as what budget you’ll require and assistance you’ll need. It’s only with this level of detail will you be able to execute your tactics.

The final Marketing Action Plan will be something you will live and work with every day, so you also want it to be realistic. You may find as you fill in all the blanks that you have bitten off more than you can chew, or that you simply are ignoring important aspects of reaching your financial and other goals. A common mistake is to create a great portfolio, but never allocate the time, energy or budget to building a relevant lead list and/or not following-up with phone calls and emails after sending a collection presentations to manufacturers.

I recommend starting by placing trade shows, product signings and other events that are not ‘moveable’ on your calendar first when laying out your annual Marketing Action Plan.

Make sure you review your promotional tools and create whatever sales materials are needed for trade shows, direct mailings, public relations, etc. Then work backwards to give yourself time to complete them before they are needed.
As you look at your calendar, which is now your Marketing Action Plan, ask yourself these final questions:

  • Have you addressed each objective with tactics that will actually make a difference and achieve those goals?
    If you don’t know what to do, how can you find out? Who can you talk with to create those tactics and learn what to do?
  • Have you considered your personal life and all it entails, so that you are being realistic about your timing and goals?
  • Have you allocated budget to each tactics and goal, and is there enough money to achieve your goals, or do you need to hold off on some items until another year? If so, how does that affect the outcome of your other objectives?
  • When you look at this Marketing Action Plan, do you get excited about the prospect of all you can achieve or does the look and feel of it overwhelm you? If it’s the second, your plan still needs some tweaking.

CREATE YOUR MONEY MAP (Marketing Action Plan): Outline Tactics to Achieve Goals

1 02 2017

outline-tactics-to-achieve-your-goalsHere is where the rubber hits the road, so they say…or the art hits the product.  You need to take the time to carefully write down all the tactics, the exact and detailed steps that you must execute to achieve your marketing goals.  Now if you have been following along, you may remember that ‘Prioritizing Your Products & Promotions’ is really where you need to focus your objectives, and therefore, your tactics.

So how will you spend your time to meet and exceed all those targets? And here is a key fork in the road, because if you don’t know what to do to achieve those goals, you need to get help and some answers.  A bit of mentoring, coaching or colleague advice at these critical points can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Spend a bit of your time and budget to know you are doing the right thing to get to this year’s finish line.

Once you know what you need to do (and in most cases, your tactics will include times you know what you need to do and some where you needed help figuring it out), then get them down on paper and jot down any related timing and budget issues. It is also important to consider any assistance, and other factors necessary, to complete the tactics.

Here is where you can consider themes to entice new audiences and reconnecting with existing licensees to expand your business.  Also make sure you plan for time to market existing successful collections to new manufacturer licensees.

If creating your own product which you sell to leverage toward future licensing deals, then get those details on your tactic list.  Remember that each item needs to start with its conclusion, so you can work backwards to create a time frame for achieving the goal and incorporating your budget items.

CREATE YOUR MONEY MAP (Marketing Action Plan) Define Your Budget

30 01 2017

Budgets, and especially marketing budgets, can vary greatly.  The most important factor here is to acknowledge that you need one to run a business and it’s best to establish one for the year.


I really don’t care if it’s $100 or $10,000, or more.  The important thing is to set one.  If you don’t, you’ll probably spend more than you expected and either use funds you don’t want to use or worse, don’t have.

Once a budget is established, you’ll want to have your MONEY MAP (outlined on a calendar) completed before you allocate your funds to a few or variety of different purposes throughout the year.

Remember to do as much as you can yourself.  This requires understanding your own skill sets and where you have strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what you CAN and WILL do yourself will invariably help you determine what you need to outsource.

Track your spending, so you know when your dollars are spent or freed up.  And then you can identify specific projects that will require additional dollars.

November’s One-A-Day Q&A – Question #25

25 11 2016

Q: Is it possible to ‘over license’ your art?


A: Yes, over exposure absolutely can become a problem (one many of us would like to encounter, eh?).  However, over exposure in licensing can be just as detrimental as it is in other types of business exposure, such as media.  If you’ve reached a place where people are just turned off to your property as opposed to turned on by it, you can expect backlash with people rejecting your art and designs.  We actually see this most often with properties that skyrocket and you’re thinking:  Enough, enough already!

As you build a licensing business, you want to be strategic about your growth. One of the ways to keep over-exposure in check is to just do the deals that really make sense and don’t be overly greedy.  Fans don’t appreciate a property that is on everything; when it gets to that point, it becomes saturation. Consumers also don’t appreciate inappropriate licensing combinations either; you wouldn’t put an infant property on a bottle of wine or an adult property on a baby blanket. You’ve got to stick with the types of products where your characters and designs really make sense.

November’s One-A-Day Q&A – Question #12

12 11 2016

Q: I have a small amount of collections– there are only six. Should I contact manufacturers without having agent representation?november-q-a-final

A: Yes, it’s OK to contact some manufacturers at this point. Although I think ten collections, or better yet, ten to twelve, is a good number of collections with which to start. You want to have enough that you can show some in your email presentations and still have some left over in your portfolio when the manufacturer or retailer asks to see more. You don’t want to show them everything at once and have them say, “Let’s see what else you have, none of those things work,” and then have nothing else to show them. My point is, you want to make sure that you don’t send everything all at once, or put everything out on your website at once. And to that point, also, make sure that your website is finished before you are doing any soliciting for your licensing business.

Always use the feedback from any phone calls you have, and from emails you receive from manufacturers, to continue developing more collections. Agents, as I’ve mentioned, require quite a large portfolio before they’ll take you on. I think if you’ve decided that you’re going to work independently, and if you have ten collections to start with, you can certainly move forward.


November’s One-A-Day Q&A – Question #2

2 11 2016




Q: Is it ever too late to start a new career? How do you know when your artistic style fits the art licensing field?

A: I personally don’t think it’s ever too late to start a new career, but of course it depends on what you want to get out of that career and how far you want to go with it. I love working in new fields and learning lots of things, and maybe you do too.

I believe what’s important is to ask yourself:

  1. Is there is a large enough market for your art? (For example, abstract art is tougher than traditional art to license).
  2. What you would like to get out of being in art licensing – is it a certain income, products in stores regionally or around-the-world, and brand recognition? Everyone has different response as to ‘why’ they want to do things. The clearer you are in establishing your goals, the faster you can focus your efforts in the right direction and achieve them.
  3. In what time frame do you want to accomplish these financial, product and recognition goals (or whatever your personal goals are)?
  4. Do you have the skills necessary to provide art to manufacturers in the format, computer files, they will require.

I would spend as much time as possible learning about art licensing, about the types of products that you would like to create and the type of companies that you would like to work with—exploring those manufacturers’ web sites, perhaps, or industry web sites such as International LIMA (Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association). Unless you already know through your own sales experience, or in looking at the marketplace, that there is a large demand for your style of art, it is a good practice pay for an evaluation of your art and get some solid advice on how to start your business.

Additionally, I’d do some retail shopping, and start looking at the types of products that have your style of art on them.  Frankly, this is your competition. I also feel that attending trade events is a great way to learn the industry and see what’s going on…not to mention, a super way to meet colleagues and prospective manufacturers and agents!

One final note.  I know this one blog can’t completely answer your question.  I have found that many people considering art licensing as a career change found this blog ‘An Art Licensors’ Continuing Education’ to be very insightful.

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