6 Ways to Get Your Name Out as a Mixing Engineer Pt. 2
Getting your name out there as a serious mixing engineer is a daunting task. The market is crowded and getting picked is difficult.
In this 3-part blog series, I’m going through 6 concepts and key-questions to help you get your name out there. For this second article, I will explain two crucial concepts to help you better understand the market and how to get your name out there as a mixing engineer.
Positioning is about where you place yourself in the market. As most markets nowadays are overcrowded, thorough positioning can help you stand out from the crowd and spread your vision and service(s) with more precision for the people you seek to help.
The idea of positioning is to build a brand/name, or store, based on concepts and ideas we believe are important to the people we seek to help. A classic example is the cheap/expensive concept, and high-quality/low-quality concept.
Different people prefer different things. Some people prefer (or can only afford) cheap and low quality, while others swear to expensive/high quality, no matter what. And some people prefer the thing in the middle.
To bring back the t-shirt example from my first post in this series, let’s visualize this on a graph using clothing brands:
(picture for illustrative purposes only)
As you can tell from the graph, each brand has a distinct position in the market. Now, the positions above may not reflect the true reality. It is the way I personally feel about them. You may feel another way, even though these brands are differently priced and produced. What about the branding and impressions of these (and other) brands makes you position them differently, or the same as, on the graph?
A good exercise is to draw up a graph of your own, with two different variables (either the ones in the example above, or your own) and place different brands or people accordingly. Then, think about what it is that makes you place them where you do. What factors and feelings determine your positioning?
The example above is about clothing brands. But you can use this technique for any brand or service, including mixing. What mixing engineers or services do you affiliate with cheap and low quality, and what do you affiliate with expensive and high quality? Why? Except the fact that all mixing engineers simply make different mixes, what else affects your feelings towards them?
After you’ve drawn up or thought about different positioning, how can you apply this to yourself and your services? Where do you want to score on other variables? What competitors score the same as you, and who seems like they’re further away?
When you do this, try not to score high on all axes. If we were to change the variables in the graph above to, for example, economical/uneconomical and available/unavailable the graph would look quite different.
The idea is to find variables that are relevant to the people you seek to help with your mixing and musical services. And then you figure out where you’d optimally be placed. Sitting in the middle on an expensive/cheap and high quality/low-quality graph isn’t necessarily bad if you sit all the way in the right corner on a different graph with, for example, personal/impersonal service and fast turnaround/slow turnaround variables.
Understanding and figuring out your positioning in the market will work as a guideline for how you present yourself and interact with potential clients. Good positioning is essential for people to remember your name because they’ll have clear associations with it.
Most of us know the feeling of seeing a TV ad as a kid for a new toy, and then beg our parents to buy it for us. The ad (if done properly) creates tension, and we’re not fulfilled and happy before we get that new toy. But, when we get the toy, the tension is released.
Before buying any product or service, there is tension:
- The fear of spending too much money
- The fear of choosing the wrong option
- The fear of falling behind your peers,
- Fear of missing out, and so on.
A successful product or service relieves some of this tension. Getting that new pair of sneakers may make you as cool as your peers.
When people consider you to mix their record, there is a lot of tension. Fear of choosing the wrong engineer, fear of letting others “mess up” their beautiful song, fear of paying too much, fear of not being satisfied with the mix. A successful mixing engineer relieves some of that tension.
Because even if you hire the “best” mixing engineer in the world, there is still no guarantee that your particular song will sound perfect. There may be things that simply can’t be fixed in the mix. Or the arrangement is too complex to sound very good, no matter how it’s mixed.
Just like you can’t be sure that the cool t-shirt you’re thinking of buying will look good on any outfit, you can’t be sure that your mixing engineer will make every sound as cool as you want it to. But, if the people on the marketing team of that t-shirt has done their job right, you still buy it. Because it relieves tension: they’ve created a story and image (as well as good design, of course) that tells you that this t-shirt will, in fact, make you look cooler.
When marketing yourself as a mixing engineer, you need to communicate the tension and how you will release it (in a professional and ethical manner).
But don’t be foolish and promise too much. Because if you promise too much and don’t deliver, your clients will probably lose all their trust in you. And they likely won’t contact you to mix their next record. So be clear about the tension you’re offering to relieve and be certain you can successfully do so. Because the more trust you gain, the more clients you’ll get.
Positioning and tension are two key concepts in getting your name out there as a mixing engineer. Positioning clarifies what you offer and what needs you’re ready to fulfill. Proper positioning is also an indicator of how you should present yourself and your services. Your website, studio, attitude, advertising, social media, etc. should all reflect your positioning.
This makes it clear to potential clients that you have what it takes to fulfill their needs and expectations. Positioning also gives people “hooks” to hang your name onto. They can associate your name with certain feelings and ideas.
Tension is key because, without any tension, there is no need for action. And action causes trust. You’ll want clients that trust you. Because trust is what ultimately leads to people coming back for more. And they’ll be more likely to share your name and work with their friends and colleagues, which could lead to even more clients, which gets your name out there even more.
About Gerhard Tinius
Gerhard Tinius is a groovy musician, producer, mixer, and audio engineer from Norway. Listen to his debut album here.