Marketing your work: Turning pain points into joy points

monicalee_umbrella There is a popular theory  amongst marketing  experts to meet  what they call customers “pain points” to help bring your goods and services into the market place. It goes something like this, someone needs help with their social media. You can write blog posts that help them understand the inner workings of Facebook (good luck) and then make a chart so they know what size images to use for Facebook. You can even create cute icons so they can add buttons to their website. We see this all the time regarding diets, yoga, and just about any how-to video ever created. Meeting someone’s point of pain and helping them. Filling a need in their lives. Enter an artist and their work. What “pain points” do their customers have and how does that play into an artist’s marketing plan? Let’s take art for products out of the equation because I could tell you that when you buy a phone, you need a case to protect it. Pain point, “I don’t want to break my new phone.” You could even say, “I want my new phone case to be super adorable.” Pain point, I want  at least a few compliments when I use it. Do you see how getting inside a “pain point” of a customer can be really beneficial in how you market your work? It definitely has merit. I find many creative people often do not think of their customers at all so anything thinking beyond what they are producing in their own corner of the world is a really good thing. So let’s narrow our discussion to fine art, not for a “useful” product, but just for the sake of being. You could run through the basics, saying, “People need art for their interiors.” Hello, can you paint me something that matches my couch? That is just painful for everyone.  Anyone who has studied art history as asked themselves if Henri Matisse was ever asked that. Anyhoo… I would like to insert my marketing theory that you think about your customers “joy points.” Storytelling with art has been going on for centuries. Artists often find themselves in a dilemma with how or why they are telling their particular story, they often feel it just needs to be told. I think that this can be called “joy points.” Often an artist needs to show the world how they “SEE.” Just like a filmmaker creates a complete vision to show who he sees a scene playing out, a visual 2-D artist can do the same thing. They have a driving need to tell a story or show people how they see. Any person in a creative field can do this. Does that criteria meet a “pain point” for marketing purposes? I would have to say not always. I honestly believe your work can tap into the emotion of joy in another person. It can be a mood, a setting, something that makes you remember something or an image that makes the viewer “SEE” differently. So my marketing tip today is to understand the “joy points” of your customers as well. Understanding that your view of an umbrella may be a good joy point for someone. We have all used umbrellas and sometimes in the hushed rain, we see the first signs of Spring, we get a romantic feeling, we think of childhood or we just take joy in the shape of them! That can be a really good mental space to create from and market from.

What about you? Do you put yourself in your customer’s shoes? Does it help you market your work?


1. 2. 3. 4.



  • Monette Pangan says:

    Hi Monica! As I was reading your post, I was reminded of something that kind of got me thinking about my art style. For the longest time, I'd been working on illustrations for clients and you know what that means, right? The art I've had to make had to suit the taste of the CEO or the HR Director or whoever made the final decisions (sometimes it meant having to please two or more of them which led to lots of jaw-clenching tweaks and such before hitting the right design!). One day, I received a message letting me know that an aunt was in the final stages of cancer and she requested that I make a painting for her because she remembered the ones I used to paint for my grandmother. It took me a while to remember what those were. I had to walk away from the "corporate" and the "sophisticated and fancy" and dig up the memories. When I finally came up with what to paint, it was of something my grandmother always loved–something whimsical, something with a child, and something in watercolor. After my aunt passed away, I was told that she had the paintings (I made two) hung on the wall across from her bed and she would look at them all the time. She lived in Scotland so I never got to visit her. I was never even that close to her but her request made me realize that those paintings I made for my grandmother must have resonated with her in some way and I was not only glad I was able to give her some measure of comfort during her final days, I was honored and deeply touched.

    • Monica Lee says:

      That is a beautiful story!! I just love it, powerful! Thank you for sharing it! And I know what you mean by jaw clenching tweaks with art director-you put that really well!

  • I think one paints subject matter that is a particular interest or passion of theirs, this then creates a niche market for the artist of buyers who share the same interest. But Monica's stating that simply an emotion is a selling point to have your work connect with others-isn't something I'd thought about before

  • Melissa AuClair says:

    This post completely resonates with me! I love your idea of JOY POINTS! I’ve read so many marketing books and I would sit and think of how in the world to turn pain points into reasons for selling/buying art (in any capacity). Logically, I can connect the points, but how many of us buy art or a new purse or gorgeous stationary because of logic?!?! (not women!) We buy the desired product because it grabs us and we stop and say, “oh my word. That connects with me, I feel this,” etc. I think a lot of women treat these kinds of things as extensions of us, the cards, the accessories, the way we decorate the kitchen.
    I love this Monica- joy points. I’m going to be thinking about this all week.

  • 🙂 Yay! I am glad this spoke to you Suzanne!

  • Christine Weston says:

    Hi yes great but would you please break up your text so it's a lot easier to read please? Great, great comments.

  • Amy Reich says:

    Monica, I am new to this site and this is the first article I read- it’s perfect!! I have been learning a about pain point forever for my health and wellness work and never thought about it for my art business, duh! and joy points is right on the mark!

Comments are closed.