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What is a marketing plan and why do you need one?

A marketing plan is a strategic document that outlines how you, the artist, intend to execute the initiative you’ve proposed in your grant application. Funding organizations want to see that artists have researched their projects thoroughly, demonstrated adept situational awareness and assembled an arsenal of tactics with which to leverage any money awarded.

Artists need to know their brand, their audience and how they will get their product into the hands of those who want it–be it a physical product like an album, concert ticket or merchandise, or an intangible like streaming content, synch licenses and corporate endorsements.

A marketing plan can be a great exercise in self-discovery as a business-minded artist, but ultimately it is so much more than that. Hopefully you approach your marketing plan with the intention that it will be a living, working document that illustrates how you will shape and foster your musical career, regardless if you receive funding or not.

The Five Components of a Successful Marketing Plan

There are five steps to writing a killer marketing plan:  prepare, research, strategize, write and edit.

1) Prepare

Before you begin it’s helpful to hold a brainstorming meeting where all members of the band or company (or just you, if you’re solo) write down what they want to get out of this project (be it a record, a tour, a video) and out of the band in general. Think about your band’s unique qualities and what the key difference is that separates you from your “competition”.   What is your mission and your 5 year vision? What results do you expect to achieve and how will you measure your progress towards those results?

2) Research

Research is the most critical, and often, the most underrated aspect of creating a successful and convincing marketing plan. It’s shocking how many marketing plans contain no hard data, statistics or analysis of current market and industry activity, consumer demographics, or even a basic personal/artist inventory. Not everyone is a gifted analyst, true – but with a little effort you can provide the information that shows you really understand the current landscape of the Canadian music industry, and how you and your project fit into it.

To Be Continued!

In Part Two of this article we will continue on to discuss marketing strategy, writing your plan and editing your final copy. Go read Part Two!


If you would like more information or help writing your marketing plan please contact us. We would love to help you with your next application!