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.
The theme of the 2012 National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) Conference is, Getting Down to Business. Here are the questions I want you to ponder:
Exactly what “business” are we talking about?
What’s the point of all this? Why do we invest incredible energy, time, and money into marketing the arts? What is the end goal?
That’s not a rhetorical question. I want you to think about it for a second.
When I ask this question to others, I get a very common answer. The goal is ticket sales, or “butts in seats”.
Here’s what I want you to consider. If all you want is sales, you are setting your ambitions way too low.
Speaking as a guy that has sold millions of dollars in of tickets to the live performing arts, please trust me when I tell you that the desire to just sell tickets (or paintings, or whatever) is the lowest form of ambition.
If you want to make something that just sells go make toothpaste, or porn, or some other thing that people actually use on a daily basis.
This thing, this ART thing, has to be about something more than that. If all it boils down to is an economic transaction where I give you X amount of dollars and you give me Y amount of art then we will always lose in the long run because art is a horrible economic transaction.
Aim higher. Read the rest of this entry »
There is no question that infographics have tumbled into the world of marketing.
Infographics serve as visual narratives that arrange patterns, relationships, or trends in a creative and visually appealing way. The ideal infographic organizes large amounts of data with art and design finesse, and in the end, a story materializes.
And thanks to social media, infographics have become a popular form of shareable content for brands, serving as an engagement tool for online audiences.
When it comes to the evolution of the infographic, in the past two years, infographics have grown bigger, brighter, and richer in content. For example, compare both the size and amount of data illustrated on this 2011 infographic to that found on the average size of a 2012 infographic.
In my work as an arts marketer, I have experienced this growth first-hand. In designing our e-book, 13 Social Media Infographics Every Marketer Needs to See Volume 2, our primary challenge was fitting the volume of content so that it would match the customary dimensions of the publications our e-book library.
The rise of infographics has also been seen through the development of user-friendly websites such as visual.ly, which has raised $2 million dollars to allow you to create, customize, and share your own infographics easily and for free.
However, a recent Huffington Post article discusses the notion that as content creators, it is a constant uphill battle to create fresh and engaging content that will grab the attention of our online audience. The author argues that “the time has come to take the world of infographics to the next level: video.”
According to the article, content that is in the form of the infographic, a trend that has undeniably been on the rise, will soon be replaced by explainer videos, or “short, actionable and instructive videos that businesses use to quickly explain what it is they do, and how they can solve their customer’s biggest problems.” Read the rest of this entry »
Everything we ever knew about the value of authentic engagement is louder, faster, and more challenging.
My partner, Rory MacPherson, and I spend a lot of time interviewing arts organizations about their use of social media to seek out best practices and learn from field exemplars. What I come away with after hundreds of interviews is that effective use of social media is building engagement on steroids!
The best organizations understand that your greatest assets are—to use a Facebook word—your friend relationships with audiences, visitors, fans, and patrons. You can mobilize these groups to help but you CANNOT make those friends in a crisis.
Friends are made on the frontlines through individual experiences that bring fans closer or push them away. We’ve noted 7 important elements of effective engagement which can solidify engagement and make social media mission critical for your fundraising:
- Make it Personal + Concrete + Time Sensitive
- Connect with Values and Value Connections
- Listen and Respond
- Answer the Audience’s Question: What’s in It for Me?
- Cultivate Productive Partnerships
- Measure What Matters
- Involve the Whole Organization
Two outstanding examples:
- Georgia Shakespeare was facing a perfect storm of funding, facing possible closure. The managing director made a personal appeal—not unusual—but what happened next was explosive and exponential. A New York actor who got his start at Georgia Shakespeare sent out a birthday wish—“Don’t buy me a beer for my birthday, donate the price of one to my theatrical ‘birthplace.’” And donations flowed in—$325,000 in 2 weeks from more than 1000 people across the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »
Over the last few years, I have been paying an increasing amount of attention to mobile technology and its intersection with the arts. Many people in our field hold the philosophy that mobile is the future. I would argue that mobile is the present—it’s where things already are.
- There are currently 6 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. That’s 87% of the world’s population.
- As of Dec 2011, there were 331.6 million wireless subscriber connections in the United States. When you divide the number of active connections by the total population of the U.S. and its territories, that’s a penetration rate of 104%.
- In March 2012, the number of U.S. mobile subscribers using smartphones surpassed the number of those using standard feature phones.
- In the United States, 25% of Internet users are mobile only.
If any of you are waiting for a “tipping point” to arrive before you begin exploring how to engage audiences via mobile devices, allow me to gently inform you that you are late to the party.
The point has tipped.
So what are your options?
Participate in mobile-optimized environments
Thankfully, most of us already use mobile-optimized environments to communicate with our audiences. Your Facebook pages and Twitter profiles are presented to mobile users in an optimized format, and your messages on those platforms appear in your followers’ activity streams on their mobile devices—which is critically important given that over 50% of Facebook and Twitter users access their accounts from smartphones and tablet computers.
Develop a mobile website
Whew! Okay, so at least you have some mobile-optimized content. Now, what about your website? For those of you who have a mobile website, good job. Skip this section. For those of you who do not have a mobile website, I have some questions for you: Read the rest of this entry »
The biggest myth facing digital (and all the activities from social media, advertising, and marketing that fall under that title) is that it is still viewed as something that cannot fully track sales, being incorrectly lumped into the same categories as print, television, and radio.
In reality, 100% all digital activities can be tracked down to a dollar and cent value via 1×1 conversion pixels that can be placed at the conversion/thank you page for any client, selling any product, on all major ticketing systems.
Most verticals outside of the arts have realized this for years, and have adjusted their spends accordingly.
Looking at Lexus (a decidedly “older” car), recent data showed their spend allocation at 50% traditional and 50% digital/emerging technologies. For the always progressive Virgin America plan, 70% went to digital and 30% for traditional. Looking at Converse, 90% of the spend went to digital and content development (which, inevitably, is distributed via digital avenues) with only 10% left for traditional advertising means.
The arts, meanwhile, appear to be hesitant about shifting dollars. Read the rest of this entry »
How do you keep your audiences coming back for more? World-class art? A triple-digit marketing budget? How about making friends with them and creating an awesome experience from the moment they enter your space to the second they exit?
Scott Stratten, in last year’s NAMP Conference keynote speech, said, “We don’t share brochures. We don’t share logos. We share awesome. We share experiences.”
How is your organization crafting the total experience for your audience, or is it? Too often in the administrative world we get caught up in the questions of how we find new audiences and how we get those audiences to give us more money.
Those are valid questions, but exist in the before and after of the actual art experience. As administrators, we need to be more concerned with the “during” portion of the audience member’s visit, as this is the best time to turn them into friends. The customer’s personal experience with our organization does not begin when the lights go down, or when they stand in front of a painting, it begins the minute they pick up the phone to buy tickets or they step in the door for the show. It doesn’t end with the applause; actually, the goal is for it not to end, but to grow into a personally (and, yes, financially) valuable relationship.
Yes, the art itself is of the utmost importance. You don’t go to a restaurant, have a bad meal and exceptional service, and say, “Oh, I have to go there again, the food was awful, but that waiter!” But the reverse is often true: you can partake of a wonderful meal—or show—and have terrible service but go again because the product was good.
Imagine what would be said about your organization if you combined your great art with exceptional service: “I love coming here because you’re all always so friendly.” Or “I feel like I’m part of the family and wanted my friends to meet you.” Crafting an exceptional customer service mindset within your entire organization is the fastest way to start creating those awesome experiences that your audiences will share. Read the rest of this entry »
For decades, the arts industry has chased new audiences, especially younger audiences. Today, that chase is directed at the largest population under 30 years old in human history. It’s little wonder that Gen Y (born 1981–2001) is a hot topic for arts marketers.
As a data-informed member of Gen Y, here’s a take on my generation of arts consumers.
We curate our lives. For as long as we’ve been consumers, we have always had access to Google and Amazon. Search is our way of finding out anything and everything we want to know. We are the generation of the long-tail. This means we have had access to more variety of art, music, performances, and consumer products than any other generation in history.
Because we have access to virtually everything, we take pleasure in exploring the original and local and not just mass-market products and experiences. The data backs this up; an Edelman Digital study found that 40% of Gen Y participants preferred buying local, even if it meant paying more than a mass-market product.
Beyond buying local, the exploration of everything available in the marketplace has led to a culture where we curate our lives. The rise of personal curation—selection of exactly what we want from all that’s available—is evident in the recent popularity of Pinterest.
We spend on what we value. Gen Y is often characterized as cheap. There’s good reason for our cost-consciousness. Gen Y paid much more for college than previous generations and now has record levels of student debt. We face an unprecedented labor market that has offered us more unemployment and underemployment than under-30s of nearly any previous generation.
In light of our generation’s thriftiness, the Edelman study’s spending metric suggest that a cheap price is not our only motivation to buy. Warren Buffet once said, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Price and value are connected for Gen Y. Read the rest of this entry »
As the 2012 National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) Conference: Getting Down to Business quickly approaches, we are taking some cues from creative business leaders, entrepreneurs and change agents. And that is exactly how I would describe our keynote speakers – Rohit Bhargava, Eric Ryan, Nina Simon, and the musical collective cdza:
What better way to kick off a meeting about audience engagement, communications, and revenue generation than with an online discussion with you and 25 top marketing practitioners and consultants in the field?
Join us here on ARTSblog for a dialogue on the broad landscape of arts marketing, technology, and audience development. Bloggers include David Dombrosky, Clay Lord, Jill Robinson, Nina Simon, Adam Thurman, and many others.
From October 1-5, join us as we wrestle with and ponder on such questions as:
• What new strategies are you utilizing to broaden your audience and build business?
• How are you using ROI analysis in your marketing campaigns? Read the rest of this entry »
After attending Salvador Acevedo’s session, The New Mainstream: How Changing Demographics Are Shifting Your Community, at our Annual Convention in San Antonio this past weekend I learned that there are already five minority majority states in the U.S., and they’re not little.
California, Texas, New Mexico, District of Columbia, and Hawaii all currently have less than a 50 percent White population. This is a huge shift considering that America’s population was about 90 percent White up to the 1970s. It has since declined to 60 percent and continues to follow this pattern. The Hispanic population on the other hand is growing rapidly with an estimated 167 percent growth by 2050 (142 percent Asian, 56 percent Black, 1 percent White).
How does this affect the arts?
Well it proses a huge problem when less than 50 percent of our nation’s population is White, yet your audience is 70–90 percent White. As Salvador said, “we must diversify our audiences, otherwise we will become irrelevant.”
As “prime vehicles for intercultural understanding” (my favorite quote from the session), arts and culture will not survive if it does not reflect our population as a whole. So how do we prevent ourselves from becoming irrelevant?
You must practice what you preach. The change must start internally within your organization before you can start to diversify your audience. Salvador calls this the “intercultural strategy.” Read the rest of this entry »
CNN’s What’s Next blog recently published a list of current social media outlets/apps that could take over as the “next Facebook” if everything falls into place.
While there has been wild speculation in the past that other products would have replaced the big blue ‘F’ by now, it hasn’t happened; however, I’m pretty sure that I never thought MySpace would be replaced either (p.s. have you checked out what Friendster has become?).
So, here’s a quick rundown that CNN provided with links and my added commentary in bold after each description:
Highlight (number of users unpublished): This “social discovery” app was the buzz at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive, a conference in Austin, TX, that makes or breaks many tech start-ups. Essentially, the app aims to give people real-time information about the people all around them. “San Francisco is a city of 800,000 strangers,” Highlight founder Paul Davison told Time. “You sit on the bus next to each other. You stand in line next to each other. You go to bars and meetups to meet each other. You walk by each other on the street. And you don’t know anything about anyone you see.” This app seems move intrusive than Foursquare, so I’m not sure people will give it a shot.
Path (3 million users) Founded by ex-Facebooker Dave Morin, Path has a couple things going for it that Facebook doesn’t: It’s mobile-first, which is important in a world where people tend to network on their phones more and more than on their desktop computers; and it’s intimate. Path caps users’ friend lists at 50 people, ensuring that you’re actually communicating as the real you with people who you really know in real life. An app redesign won Path a new wave of support from the early-adopting tech public, but a privacy snafu in February, during which it was revealed that Path stored users’ phone contact lists, may have eroded the trust of some people. Morin apologized for that data slip, saying it was accidental and had been remedied. Privacy concerns aside, it seems like it’s what everyone intended Facebook to be—a more limited circle—and that could prove to be a draw for people like me who had to friend his entire high school class for reunion planning purposes. Also, there is an Instagram-like photo feature with Path that adds some value. This might be my pick as the next potential Facebook. Read the rest of this entry »
Thankfully, OnlineMBA.com has pulled together a fantastic infographic that will help you determine if Facebook is better for your message or if you should hurry up and start that Twitter account.
By gathering social media demographic info and putting it together in an arts-friendly way (a solar system of social media info), you can take a quick look at the social media universe and then decide if you’re on the right path or if you should be heading toward another orbit.
Here are some facts I gleaned from the resource (as posted on Mashable):
- FACT: Facebook users visit the site 40 times per month and average over 23 minutes on the site per session.
- OPPORTUNITY: That creates an opportunity to really engage with Facebook users. If you can get an article or link to your site on a Facebook user’s newsfeed at the right time, you will have them hooked…for at least that day. A study covering 2007-2010 Facebook use says that the peak use time is Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. ET and daily it is at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. ET.
- FACT: 82 percent of Pinterest users are female.
- OPPORTUNITY: The arts are already female-skewing, but if you want to reach out further into the demo, you’ll want to sign up for an account and try it out soon.
- FACT: 71 percent of Google+ users are male and 43 percent are single men.
- OPPORTUNITY: The arts are already female-skewing, but if you want to reach out to older, single men who may bring dates, girlfriends, and/or mothers to your gallery or performing arts center, you might want to dabble and see where Google+ takes you. Read the rest of this entry »
Almost one year ago, I posted The Top Ten Reasons to Support the Arts in response to a business leader who wanted to make a compelling case for government and corporate contributions to the arts.
Being a busy guy, he didn’t want a lot to read: “Keep it to one page, please.”
With the arts advocacy season once again upon us…(who am I kidding, it’s always upon us!)…here is my updated list for 2012 which now includes new stats from our Arts & Economic Prosperity IV Study.
10 Reasons to Support the Arts
1. True prosperity. The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. They help us express our values, build bridges between cultures, and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age. When times are tough, the arts are salve for the ache.
2. Improved academic performance. Students with an education rich in the arts have higher GPAs and standardized test scores, lower drop-out rates, and even better attitudes about community service—benefits reaped by students regardless of socioeconomic status. Students with four years of arts or music in high school average 100 points better on their SAT scores than students with one-half year or less.
3. Arts are an industry. Arts organizations are responsible businesses, employers, and consumers. Nonprofit arts organizations generate $135 billion in economic activity annually, supporting 4.1 million jobs and generating nearly $22.3 billion in government revenue. Investment in the arts supports jobs, generates tax revenues, and advances our creativity-based economy.
4. Arts are good for local merchants. The typical arts attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, not including the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and babysitters. Non-local arts audiences (who live outside the county) spend nearly twice as much as local arts attendees ($39.96 vs. $17.42)—valuable revenue for local businesses and the community. Read the rest of this entry »
Artistic directors, marketers, development people, funders, government representatives—everyone has engaged in a thoughtful and provocative conversation about impact assessment and it’s role in the field.
But I think of all the points raised over the last week, the one that has resonated most with me is around the value and rightness or wrongness of setting artistic goals and then measuring to them.
In Philadelphia, one artistic director admitted to being scared at the implications of being able to measure impact. Alan Brown, speaking from the stage, related a story of an artistic leader in Australia, who upon hearing about impact assessment said, “Great, I’m going to get a 3.5 on spiritual fulfillment this year, and you’re going to expect me to get a 3.6 next year.”
And, just a few minutes ago, I got an extremely well-articulated (and overall very positive and flattering) email from Jason Loewith, executive director of National New Play Network that included a very interesting fleshing out of the fear an artistic leader might have of an outside force, like say a funder, trying to exert control over artistic product through impact assessment. Read the rest of this entry »
Ten years into our ongoing patron behavior research and analysis, data is showing us an alarming fact: There’s a huge set of cracks in the foundation of patronage that arts organizations are built upon.
In patron behavior terms, the “cracks” are caused by Tryers. These are households that have infrequent, one-time, or long-ago transactions with arts and entertainment organizations and they are the most prevalent type of patron behavior.
Right now the databases of most arts organizations are likely comprised of 90 percent Tryers. And most of them are patrons you’ve allowed to lapse.
Tryers—TRG Arts research has found—are the least loyal, most expensive to acquire, and most difficult to retain patrons. That most audience or visitor bases are built on Tryers is a real threat to the sustainable future of arts and entertainment organizations. It doesn’t have to be that way.
- The focus on finding new single ticket buyers is part of the problem. Research tells us that new ticket buyers churn out an alarmingly high rate after their first attendance. Often, organizations lose more patrons than they bring in annually, and that trend triggers institutional decline.
- Specific patronage programs–subscription, annual fund giving, membership–are escalators toward lifetime loyalty. Patrons who stick with a company over time and through continuing investment—loyalists—do so through these programs.
- Loyal patrons are made, not found. An organization’s most loyal, most engaged, largest invested patrons rarely if ever arrive in an organization’s pool of supporters fully formed. Research shows that new patrons who do stick with an organization do so by adding specific transactions in an escalating pattern of increased, frequent, current investments of time and money. Read the rest of this entry »
We’ve all been in a play when a phone goes off. Sometimes we see the actors react, while other times the show just continues.
Up until recently, it was forbidden to keep that phone on during a show, but thanks to experiments by local/regional theaters, the idea of “Tweet seats” has grown to Broadway via the new Godspell revival:
We’ve heard all sides of this issue:
Cell phones are just the new “individually wrapped candy wrapper.”
The fad of “Tweet seats” is just a marketing gimmick. Read the rest of this entry »