For many of us out there in the small business world, there are these constant fear/tension/kind of exciting feelings of will anybody notice my product/service and even more importantly perhaps, will they care or be interested enough to engage with my company or be engaged by the marketing we do to become one of our clients. Small businesses don’t tend to have large marketing departments, or terribly sophisticated ones at that. What can be even more stressful at times is trying to do this in a niche marketplace, like the music preparation and printing industry. Actually, is it really even big enough to be an industry…..
I was working with a friend and colleague of mine a few weeks back and she had an amazing insight on this issue. In her career, she has spent time working with different music preparation companies, publishing companies and now runs a boutique marketing firm (very successfully I might add) and I reached out to her knowing that she had an amazing wealth of experience and perspective in this area. During our conversation, in discussing different strategies for marketing and connecting with potential clients, she said, and I quote,
“It’s like, the people who know they need this work know who to go to immediately, and those who don’t know they need it will never pay for it, unfortunately.”
I almost shouted for joy and frustration! She is right on. This is so true in the music preparation field; big composers or studios or agencies tend to stick with one service till death do they part, while almost all others tend to try and do everything themselves, either assuming that the music preparation companies they know about won’t bother with their projects or not even knowing that companies exist to help with this very important part of the musical creation process!
Its true that most companies/people working in this strange corner of the music industry exist to service large markets, ie. the TV/Film world of LA, the Broadway musical world of NY, and the classical symphony work (along with TV/Film work as well) of London. They exist to catch the big fish in these areas, and understandably so. To be able to survive financially in these locations, who got to have a high volume of high dollar clients. Then there are all the small composers, teachers, and arrangers who feel like everything is up to them. To be honest, I didn’t even know companies like what Engraver’s Mark Music has become existed at all till about 10 years ago. There is so much music being created that has nothing to do with the larger markets and definitely isn’t being created there, so its natural that companies like Engraver’s Mark Music would not have come across their radar.
So, what about all the other music markets in the world? What about all the other composers and companies out there that aren’t in those places, or certainly not the biggest players in those well known markets? And (you guessed it) what about Engraver’s Mark Music and how does this company fit into all this?
The genesis of Engraver’s Mark Music was exactly in and for all the “other” places out there in the music industry. EMM in located in Nashville, which traditionally is not known of its need of music preparation services. As I studio musician myself for many years, I can tell story after story of records I’ve worked on where the “sheet music” was written on a napkin (100% true) or where all the musicians had to make their own charts right in the studio and then record. Also, though this is changing rapidly and for the better, Nashville hasn’t been a hub for TV/Film/Video game soundtracks or orchestral composers and orchestrators.
The first projects Engraver’s Mark Music worked on were for church orchestras. No, this isn’t the most glamorous work in our industry. Its not the same as working on the latest John Williams or Hans Zimmer masterpiece or working with a major symphony. However, what those projects showed was a deep need for help and expertise in these seemingly small areas of the music industry. Being with customers face to face, listening carefully and closely, learning about their own businesses, knowing that they have invested so much of themselves in the music they created; that’s where Engraver’s Mark Music started. This is where the concept of bringing value to clients is really evident in the real world and quickly became the primary focus of this company. Seeing the eyes of our clients light up when you can offer a solution to their needs, hearing the relief in their voices of knowing their project is being taken care of by people who care and aren’t treating you like a 2nd class customer since your budget is only $100 instead of $10k, that’s our measure of value and success.
This is where Engraver’s Mark Music began, where we’ve grown from, and where the values that formed this company continue to guide us as we’ve expanded to these larger markets and projects. EMM can bring value to any project, no matter how small the project or our part in it. If you’ve got a large project in the works, know that we’re here, ready, willing and able to assist and have the expertise and experience to ensure the highest quality work, no matter the quantity. If you’re a small publishing company’s editorial director, or independent composer, arranger or orchestrator, know that Engraver’s Mark Music is here to serve you, grow with you, help you find areas where we can remove stress from your work and help you create the best version of your music.
If you can build it, or perhaps more clearly stated for the music industry, create it, Engraver’s Mark Music won’t ignore it. In fact, it is our sole focus.
If you’ve ever worked at a mid to large company (or a company trying to become one of those) you’ve probably heard phrases like “mission statements” , “vision statements”, “core competencies” , “corporate culture”, “core values” blah, blah, blah. To be honest, before I ran my own company, or, to be strictly accurate, before I took the management of my company seriously, I didn’t really pay attention to any of these phrases and thought they are all mindless corporate speak. In truth, I think there is some validity to that view; a lot of nice fancy words that really don’t mean a whole lot, especially when customer service or the product or service doesn’t live up to the high minded words.
Sammy Sanfilippo, CEO of Engraver's Mark Music