Re-Imagining Beauty, Embracing Complexity

Posted by Andrew Horwitz On November - 20 - 2014
Andy Horwitz

Andy Horwitz

The question of aesthetics in socially engaged art is as fraught and enduring as our varied understandings of what constitutes critical discourse.

In a society so fully enveloped by the market-driven logic of Late Capitalism it is nearly impossible to relate to any work of art in a non-transactional context. We are told we are consumers purchasing experiences at a premium. “Cultural Authorities” tell us we are incapable of assessing the value of “art product” ourselves and so are provided with “reviews” that are little more than consumer advocacy, in newspapers such as the New York Times that are little more than lifestyle guides for the privileged. Read the rest of this entry »

Not Just Pretty: Aesthetics in Social Impact Design

Posted by Annie Wu On November - 18 - 2014
Annie Wu (2)

Annie Wu

Though the practice of design encompasses both form and function, conversation about it often circles around aesthetics—the graphics of the next iOS operating system, for instance, or the sleek lines of the newest Tesla model. In these instances, we assume that the objects are going to work; no one doubts whether or not the iPhone can accommodate newer iOS versions or whether the vehicle can actually carry people. When we discuss design in the social sector, however, this premise is problematic since whether or not a design solution meets a user’s needs can’t be taken for granted.

What role, then, do aesthetics play in social impact design? Read the rest of this entry »

A Conversation Starter: Arts Marketing and Education at NAMPC

Posted by Janet Starke On November - 14 - 2014
Janet Starke

Janet Starke

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 »

What Arts Rapid City learned at NAMP-Camp

Posted by Sara Olivier On November - 14 - 2014
Sara Olivier

Sara Olivier

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 »

A four step plan to engage younger patrons

Posted by Elaine Maslamani On October - 21 - 2014
Elaine Maslamani

Elaine Maslamani

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.

  1. 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 »

The art of upgrading active patrons

Posted by Jill Robinson On October - 10 - 2014
Jill Robinson

Jill Robinson

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 »

Subscriptions Are Not (un)Dead

Posted by Al Stilo On October - 10 - 2014
Al Stilo

Al Stilo

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 »

All The Places You’ll Go (Once You Get Out of the Gate)

Posted by Ann-Laura Parks On October - 10 - 2014
Ann-Laura Parks

Ann-Laura Parks

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 »

Inverting the Pyramid

Posted by Gerald Yoshitomi On October - 10 - 2014
Gerald Yoshitomi

Gerald Yoshitomi

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 »

First Steps: Thoughts Regarding Value-Creation in Arts Marketing

Posted by Amy Fredericks On October - 10 - 2014
Amy Fredericks

Amy Fredericks

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 »

The Role of Selfies in the Artistic Digital Space

Posted by Brianne Logan On October - 9 - 2014
Brianne Logan

Brianne Logan

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 »

The Easy Math of Good Service

Posted by Jim McCarthy On October - 9 - 2014
Jim McCarthy

Jim McCarthy

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 »

7 Steps to Upgrade Your Organization’s Analytics

Posted by Jordan Silton On October - 9 - 2014
Jordan Silton

Jordan Silton

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 »

Don’t Just Engage Your Communities. Marry Them.

Posted by Chris McLeod On October - 9 - 2014
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 »

What’s the point of marketing the arts?

Posted by Amelia Northrup-Simpson On October - 9 - 2014
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 »