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 »