Chris McLeod

Chris McLeod

In the midst of an increasingly crowded digital and offline marketplace both small and large arts organizations are frantically trying to figure out how to better reach and engage audiences. They dress themselves up in their finest digs with pretty websites and sexy logos to get people to turn their eye and notice them. Sound familiar? This process is much like what can be found in any social setting of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes.

So the question is: Given the crowded space, how do you as an arts marketer (or any marketer for that matter) attract, engage, and stay relevant to communities and other audiences? The answer is treat them like you want to marry them. Crazy, right? Let’s take it from the guy’s perspective because, well, I’m a guy. Read the rest of this entry »

Amelia Northrup-Simpson

Amelia Northrup-Simpson

I recently started teaching a graduate-level arts marketing course. When I was first handed the materials from the last time the course was offered, I immediately began sorting through to determine what would be useful to students learning the basics of arts marketing.

Something was missing, though. The only time the previous class had addressed money was toward the end of the course to discuss budgeting.

While managing a budget is an important skill, the role of revenue is a much larger part of an arts marketer’s job.

The way I see it, an arts marketer has two basic objectives:

Objective #1: Bring the arts and audiences together

Objective #2: Take responsibility for marketing revenue goals Read the rest of this entry »

Jeff Poulin

Jeff Poulin

In my last job, I worked to develop audiences. Today, I work in arts education. Many people curiously ask me why and how the two are connected. To which, I respond: “To develop audiences in the long run, a venue must work to ensure that future audience members receive a quality arts education.” This is exactly how I ended up in my previous position, before uncovering a chicken-and-egg style conundrum.

The Task-At-Hand

My work was with a large (2,111 seat) theatre in a European country capitol city. The venue was the first of its kind to bring blockbuster musical theatre to its audiences and capitalized on the new-found economic stability in a post-2008 economy. The time was ripe to be developing robust theatrical calendars, and audiences were justly on board.  However, the question became: how is this sustainable in the long run?  I began my work in the Marketing Department to understand the audience and devise strategies which would deliver on long term audience development goals. Read the rest of this entry »

LC_socalMediaLogoTop_big_RGBOver the past few weeks, a new face has been popping up at street fairs and food festivals across the country: an Amazon “food truck,” doling out Kindle Fires alongside neighboring trucks’ hot dogs, hamburgers, and artisanal cupcakes.

Amazon isn’t angling to be a contestant on “The Great Food Truck Race,” though. Rather, it is making an effort to fulfill the needs and desires of today’s changing consumer. Amazon understands that today, technology is as much a part of the fabric of everyday life as eating and drinking, and it is addressing this shift head-on.

What does this have to do with the future of arts marketing? Read the rest of this entry »

Geeking Out on Data

Posted by Deborah Vaughn On October - 8 - 20141 COMMENT
Deb Vaughn

Deb Vaughn

If you read past the title of this blog entry you are probably one of the chosen people: the data geeks. You are the ones who love debating bar graphs vs pie charts (answer: bar graphs win. In general, they are clearer and easier to understand.) You spend hours deciding if a survey question should be multiple choice or single answer. You look for any opportunity to include an excel chart in your presentation. Yes, I’m talking about YOU. Don’t be afraid: you are among friends.

In the world of arts education, data can have a negative connotation. We live in an age of over-collection of data, much of which is never used to make decisions or change policy. This is frustrating for the data generators (schools, teachers, grantees) and data gatherers (parents, teachers, funders, administrators, policy makers). When data is presented, it is often over-visualized, leading to confusion and misinterpretation. Google “data visualization” and prepare to have a psychedelic experience with some really pretty designs. But in no way will it increase your understanding of any important issue. Read the rest of this entry »

Sean King

Sean King

Would you send a Vine to your grandmother?

Would you tell your teenager to check out an ad in the newspaper?

OMG, did you really just send that on Snapchat? And what the heck is Snapchat anyway?

Arts marketers have the challenge of providing support for nearly every major facet of our organizations from development to branding, ticket sales to programming, volunteer recruitment to public relations.

But how do we use traditional and social media to reach the generations of our audience through multiple medias, with multiple messages, without being completely overwhelmed and completely alienating our audiences? Read the rest of this entry »

How does loyalty begin?

Posted by Ron Evans On October - 8 - 20144 COMMENTS
Ron Evans

Ron Evans

As a starter conversation in advance of the customer loyalty preconference that I am teaching with Carol Jones at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Atlanta, a question for you. How does loyalty begin?

I had just moved to the area, and I was looking for a place to get my hair cut. I remember driving by a place near my house, and deciding to check it out. The available stylist was Lan. She called me back and talked with me about what I wanted in my cut, and we joked about various things. She did a great job with the haircut, too – I was happy. Read the rest of this entry »

Erik Gensler

Erik Gensler

If you still say “Facebook is not a direct sales tool” you’re not using it correctly. And you don’t understand how the marketing world has dramatically changed.

At a recent arts conference there were evidently some sessions where presenters said “Facebook doesn’t sell tickets” or “we just use Facebook for branding and awareness.”

We are in a new world where social storytelling and smart digital targeting are cornerstones of marketing. And those organizations that don’t know how to do it are going to keep falling further and further behind. Spreading this misinformation is just going to keep our sector amongst the dinosaurs who think we can keep interrupting our way to ticket sales by buying traditional media. Read the rest of this entry »

Beth Malone

Beth Malone

Audience is something we think about every moment. How are viewers engaging with our exhibitions? How are they responding to the organization’s methods of outreach? Are they even showing up in the first place?

From very early on, Dash has had a large outpouring of community support. My partner and I are both Atlanta natives and were lucky enough to leverage relationships we had with press, artists, and musicians in the city. As we continued to grow within our mission, we cultivated (and continue to cultivate) a solid, committed constituency. Efforts to engage an audience outside the traditional art-viewing public such as university students and faculty, small businesses, and city government, paid off. Quite literally, we were networking – meeting with leaders in these industries to explain our work and ask for their support via their own promotional tools like social media, web links, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Rachel Ciprotti

Rachel Ciprotti

The ancient story of David, a young man who defeated the giant Goliath using only a small stone and a slingshot, is an apt metaphor for the situation most (perhaps all?) arts organizations find themselves in these days. The marketing world has become entirely fragmented, with hundreds of different channels competing for the attention of every consumer – that means every potential audience member. We are all inundated with emails, ever-multiplying social networks, television, radio, print, digital magazines, review sites, event sites, crowdfunding, discount ticket sites, etc, etc.

How can we cut through the clutter? How can we get our message across when the channels are overflowing with behemoth corporations spending the equivalent of our yearly operating expenses on a month’s worth of Facebook ads? Read the rest of this entry »

David Dombrosky

David Dombrosky

Mobile device adoption and usage is a global phenomenon with over 4.5 billion mobile users worldwide. In the United States, smartphone adoption has exceeded standard cell phone ownership by nearly 2-to-1. We no longer use our phones to simply make calls and send text messages.  We use them to explore our world. Anything we experience can be recorded, researched, and shared from the palms of our hands – anytime, anywhere.

As our adoption and usage of mobile technology has grown, so have our expectations for engaging with the world around us at a moment’s notice. Researchers at Forrester define this as the mobile mind shift “the expectation that [we] can get what we want in our immediate context and moments of need.” Read the rest of this entry »

Aaron Bisman

Aaron Bisman

  1. The average American adult spends 11 hours per day with electronic media.
  2. 58% of adults in the United States own a smartphone and 40% own a tablet. Cellphone adoption transcends race, location, and income level.
  3. 73% of adults use at least one social media channel.

These facts help to establish a truism of life today. We live in an augmented reality; for more and more of us, we value and desire digital experiences alongside “real world” ones. And one need not negate the other. Our lives do not only take place in the physical world; why should our experiences with art and culture? Read the rest of this entry »

The Cohort Club

Posted by Sean Daniels On October - 6 - 20143 COMMENTS
Sean Daniels

Sean Daniels

For Geva Theatre in Rochester, NY, I created an engagement group that has significantly impacted the way we interact with patrons and stakeholders, it’s called The Cohort Club.

I started with four ideas:

1)   Education breeds excitement.

2)   People wanna see how the sausage is made.

3)   If you want people to come see your shows, you need to speak their language, or teach them yours.

4)   “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”—Chinese proverb. Read the rest of this entry »

Rachel Grossman

Rachel Grossman

You know that question, “how do we build new audiences without losing current ones?” Here’s a thought exercise for you: what if you flipped it, reframed the question? What if you prioritized the audience you’ve already lost, rather than the audience you might lose?

That’s right: you’ve already lost audiences. Point of fact: there’s a giant pool of audience members that you’ve never had–never even knew you existed–that you’ve left out or even actively displaced because of choices you and your organization have made over time. And continue to make. Read the rest of this entry »

Jessyca Holland

Jessyca Holland

There are a lot of obstacles a person must overcome during any given day to engage in your art: traffic, finding a babysitter, transportation – the list can go on. Sometimes people are just plain tired. It is much easier to order up entertainment at home with on-demand options readily available through just a few clicks. So how do we overcome the forces that block patron engagement?

“Get out of the building!” It is the mantra of serial-entrepreneur, Steve Blank, and the cornerstone of “lean” marketing principles further popularized by Eric Reis in his book, The Lean Startup. Both Blank and Reis focus on a concept known as customer discovery. In short, customer (patron) discovery is about solving the customer’s needs by testing product concepts. For artists and arts organizations, this may involve conducting customer interviews, creating prototypes, gathering feedback and validating the right market. In other words, the patron is integral to the process and the focus of the creative offering (the art itself). Read the rest of this entry »