The National Arts Marketing Project, provides information, tools, and practical ideas to design high-quality, cost-effective marketing programs and strengthen arts organizations. Our Advisory Committee provides expert guidance and constantly seeks new resources and information to keep the site relevant and useful.
It’s my favorite time of year – spring is here! The season of rebirth and awakening is finally upon us. We shed our layers, watch everything and everyone come back to life, spring-clean our nests, update our calendar with upcoming culminating events and pay our taxes too.
As part of my annual tax prep, a digital spring-clean ensues. Every year I set aside some time (less than an hour every few days for about a week) to comb through the previous year’s email. I move important messages and archive them in labeled folders; Google Drive is awesome for this task. Read the rest of this entry »
The Georgia Aquarium had 3.5 million visitors in its inaugural year. This massive launch earned the cultural institution notoriety, donations, and public affection. But, as the novelty of its exhibits dulled, attendance at the state-of-the art facility dropped by 40% in the ensuing years. This steep slide raised flags amongst the staff, who began to ask questions: Why is this happening? Is this normal? What can we do about it? Read the rest of this entry »
Submitted before Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC) on Nov. 6, 2014:
As an Atlanta (well, just north of Atlanta) native, I’m beyond thrilled that the National Arts Marketing Conference let out a hearty “it’s fall, y’all!” and headed south for its 2014 conference.
From receiving the first conference materials to downloading the Guidebook app, I’ve been looking forward to absorbing the marketing expertise gathered together for NAMPC. My position with the Lexington Philharmonic requires me to manage all of our marketing, PR, design, and the infamous field of “other duties as assigned.” Now in my third season with LexPhil, I am wearing and delegating the wear of all these hats better than ever, but I have gaps in my knowledge that need to be filled. Read the rest of this entry »
How does a marketing director with an audience-centered approach reconcile the growing primacy of data and digital marketing? Would it be possible for such a person — me — to collect, analyze, and mobilize data without reducing patrons to strings of zeros and ones? Would the things I love about my work — using images, language, and design to entice people to join the audience, and to give them a larger context for understanding the performing arts — would these things become less important in the headlong rush towards data? These are a few of the questions I brought to NAMPC2014, and the answers I found were more compelling, nuanced, and heartening than I expected. Read the rest of this entry »
An Arts Educator’s Report from NAMPC 2014
I had the privilege and honor to attend this past weekend’s NAMP (National Arts Marketing Project) Conference in Atlanta. I co-presented a session with AFTA’s Arts Education Program Coordinator, Jeff Poulin. This stemmed from a conversation we first began last winter, when we discussed the concept of the “shared space between arts marketing and education.” Mind you, even as we might picture the “center” of the highly-valued Venn Diagram, there are varied tracks within that center:
1) Marketing arts education for the advancement of the programs
2) Using education as a tool for marketing the organization
3) Using education as a vehicle for increased audience development and ticketing sales Read the rest of this entry »
We’re sitting in a local diner in Atlanta, trying to summarize what we gleaned from the National Arts Marketing Conference in a short blog post. Like it’s possible. Actually, we can’t seem to get away from #nampc this year in Atlanta. Seriously. We cannot leave. During Sha Hwang’s brilliant keynote, in which he rhapsodized about the brave pilots who were the first to “fly west with the night,” United airlines texted that our westbound, evening flight home was canceled. Oh the irony.
Our twitter feed is full of Rapid City, South Dakotans documenting the ensuing polar vortex. The public library’s handyman, Wade, is plowing the streets around the building. Eager librarians invite you to come in and warm up (this is the truth…no slant. Wade is a real person, and librarians in South Dakota tweet AND have 3D printers. Deal with it). Read the rest of this entry »
Every organization needs a plan for their board members and major donors of the future. If engaging young professionals ages 25 to 35 is integral to your organization’s objectives, here are four tips that other young professional groups for arts organizations that I have worked with have found helpful.
- Project a inviting welcome
From the outside looking in, arts organizations can sometimes appear to have a “clique-y”-culture that would ignore new members unless they have the proper pedigree. Often, the ideal candidates for young professional art groups are shy to come forward thinking that they won’t “belong” if they can’t name the artist, converse in a detail about the composer’s work, quote Shakespeare, or be able to contribute more than $1,000. Read the rest of this entry »
I want to point your attention to the most important patrons in your audience. They’re not necessarily the ones who have given or attended the most over their lifetime. They’re your “right now” patrons—the audiences that are participating and engaging with you for your most current event and could do any number of things in the future.
These currently active patrons allow your organization to operate right now. They’re the ones that your mission serves today.
But don’t assume that they’ll be there tomorrow. Research indicates that first-time attendees—a large portion of many organizations’ patrons—tend to come once and then never return. Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes I feel like a Zombie because everything I read says the one thing that I believe most in — is dead. You see, I am a subscription guy, I LOVE subscriptions. But the obituary is clear, as eloquently stated in Terry Teachout’s 2013 WSJ article, Theater’s Expiring Subscription Model. (The statistics are plain to see in TCG’s 2012 Theatre Facts. Theatre subscription revenue is down by 13.7% from 2008-2012. Is trying to breathe life into subscriptions like “The Walking Dead?” Have my brains been consumed?
I don’t think so. I always have and never stopped believing in membership. Subscriptions give patrons the best value. Plus, they give organizations the ability to take artistic risks that can result in brilliance (or failure) without worrying about the commercial viability of every individual endeavor. Believing is one thing, but I have also looked for new and innovative ways to sell subscriptions. Read the rest of this entry »
Ever come back from a conference inspired, energized, and ready to unleash your brilliant ideas on your colleagues? You’re cruising along on a creative high until you hear, “That’s a good idea BUT…” followed by the reasons why it can’t be done.
When yours truly was a young worker bee, I heard some reasons that made head/desk contact a regular occurrence:
“We don’t need a blog. Nobody reads those. They are just vanity projects for people with big egos.” – executive director of a large nonprofit
“Why on earth would we ever want to post anything on YouTube?” - marketing director at a federal agency
More likely, though, you’ll hear something like, “I’d love to but we just can’t spare the money/time/staff for that.”
If you want to avoid the quick, early death of your idea, getting the go ahead from the authorizers in your organization will be your first challenge. Read the rest of this entry »
Who in the organization already knows how to increase audiences and revenues? It’s the Marketing Director and the Marketing Team. They’ve been attending Marketing Conferences, participating in online webinars, reading and commenting on blogs, etc. They are hired and paid because they are expected to know more about marketing than anyone else in the organization. They have the responsibility to hit the numbers, but lack the authority to implement the practices that would assure success. Read the rest of this entry »
I must be honest; the thought of having influence in marketing strategies used to make me cringe. Business as a practice, for that matter, used to leave a bitter taste in my mouth, partly because I had always associated the term with tactics that lured people into an endless cycle of commercial-driven behavior. I realize now that that view was extremely short-sighted. I reached a transitional point when I realized that my strong passion for the arts encompassed the entirety of arts experiences, not solely the ‘art-making’ and creative process. Read the rest of this entry »
I can’t lie to you all about this, nor can I really explain my reasons. Whenever the field gets into one of those spectacular debates about the place of selfies, or photography, or technology in artistic spaces I find myself gleefully watching it all unfold on twitter, reading the resounding “no way” opinions penned by, often British (to my delight), art historians, or the “experimentation is healthy for forward motion” responses written by the more digitally native arts marketers among us.
I find the fear of the archetypal selfie-snapping hordes of visitors—of course, besmirching the integrity of fine arts experiences with dumb poses–to be such a fascinating thing. The issue has raised real questions for the field on what it means to be present in an artistic space. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m very excited to say that I will be leading a Community Forum at this year’s National Arts Marketing Project Conference in November.
In preparation for this, I’m spending some time talking to people in marketing roles in theaters and other arts organizations to see how they think and feel about customer service and its importance. (By the way, this is just as relevant outside of the “arts” part of live entertainment.)
Anyway, a picture has started to form from these conversations, and I want to put forward a simple thought as a starting point: Good service is the best marketing money you’ll ever spend. Read the rest of this entry »
There are lots of buzzwords in web analytics. Attribution and big data get a ton of attention, but there are several things you can do right away to upgrade your organization’s analytics abilities. The following seven steps can help your arts organization get the data you need to make better decisions about your digital marketing campaigns.
(1) Audit Your Implementation
The first step to upgrading your analytics is to ensure you are confident in the quality of your data. Arts organizations have more data than ever to inform decisions about their digital presence. It’s nearly impossible to get “perfect” data, but with a tag audit, you can ensure tracking code is properly placed throughout your website and your analytics platform is configured to deliver results you can count on. Read the rest of this entry »