If you’ve been following along for the past few weeks, you will notice that what I’ve done so far is identify the basic elements of a business plan. I’ve gathered the facts and examined the assumptions.
We have a scope (“we, the indirect market“). We could not really identify the purpose until we had something meaningful to measure against – so we came up with something (“reader relationships, aka fans“). We identified strengths (“groups and collaboration“) and weaknesses (“marketing“). This is all off-the-shelf information that you can find if you do enough reading, but it’s not really aggregated anywhere, which is sort of the problem.
Ad hoc efforts yield ad hoc results. But if “we, the indirect market” want to use the strengths of “groups and collaboration” to overcome the weakness in “marketing” to generate “reader relationships,” then we should probably be a lot more precise in our planning.
Utility dictates that the best place to start is by fixing your weakness – preferably by leveraging your strength. Unfortunately, anyone who’s read our essay on groups can see that most comic book groups in the United States are obviously ad hoc affairs – with the notable exception of the National Cartoonist’s Society.
In the face of ad hoc infrastructure, a good strategy is to create a supplementary infrastructure that the existing groups can plug into, if they want to play. A friend of mine once told me that “if you cannot find a venue to play in, you should figure out a way to create your own venue.”
We should work to achieve our purpose by organizing a group. Initially, this group should do one thing: establish and sustain a common marketing platform. It would be premature at this point to create a group to do anything more, because we have not really established what works and what doesn’t. (In fact, I’m not entirely sure that there is a single business model that works for everyone – I’m reminded of David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists.)
How we will do this is a topic for further discussion. For now, the point is that “we” should do something. And this is as good a goal as anything else, at this time.