An explanation of marketing for the arts in five minutes

Mark Schaefer
7 min readApr 24, 2023

I was recently a guest on the James Kennedy podcast and James, who fronts a UK rock band, issued a challenge. He wanted me to explain marketing to his audience of musicians in five minutes.

Cool. Challenge accepted.

I transcribed my answer on the show, and I hope it helps you (with some editing for brevity and clarity).

Describing the marketing process in five minutes or less? I don’t think I’ve ever done this before. So here we go.

Marketing is about creating customers

Number one, what is marketing?

Marketing is the process of creating a customer. Underneath that goal, there’s a lot of important activity — you have to understand what your customers like and where they are, what’s going on in their lives, and how much money they have, studying the competition … but essentially, it’s an activity centered on creating a customer. For musicians or artists, it’s creating a fan who is going to buy your work or attend your shows.

Now, there are two different kinds of marketing, and this is where a lot of people get confused.

One is direct marketing. So this would be if you go into a store and you see a coupon for Coca-Cola. They need to move more…



Mark Schaefer

Keynote speaker, marketing strategy consultant, Rutgers U faculty and author of 10 books including KNOWN, Marketing Rebellion, and Belonging to the Brand!