One of my least favorite parts of the creative process is researching manufacturers. I hate spending time cruising websites and Google searches for manufacturers of various products. Then the sorting, and the reading, and bookmarking contact pages. Carefully identifying the sites that have potential.
Funny how both are research, yet I hate one, and love the other. So how do I find what I am looking for without hating it? I don't know! I like window shopping, but really being a parent of two young boys, I find it difficult to sneak off and window shop when I want to be making art. I am ever so grateful for the internet because it does allow me freedom to research from the comfort of my own sofa while my youngest is curled up watching Shrek.
Here are a few things I am trying in an effort to make the most of my online research. One, I keep a folder called 'licensing' that I bookmark all the sites that seem like good fits. Second I create a spreadsheet and input manufactures and contact info. Third, I send query emails or pick up the phone and call manufacturers to find out who to send work to (or if they accept outside submissions). Not that this makes this part of my job more enjoyable, but it does help to make it productive. The last part is to create and send appropriate work to leads.
If you are like me, drudgingly researching markets, what do you do to be productive and get the most out of researching potential clients?