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 »

The Shared Space of Arts Marketing & Education

Posted by Jeff Poulin On October - 8 - 2014
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 »

What do food trucks have to do with the future of arts marketing?

Posted by LaPlaca Cohen On October - 8 - 2014

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 »

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 - 2014
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 »