Mapping the MarComm Continuum

Posted by Clayton Lord On October - 6 - 2011

Clayton Lord

As the marketing and communications director at an arts service organization, I’m often approached by marketing directors at our over 300 member companies with questions about various channels of marketing and communications.

Recently, a frazzled executive director at a small company (one of those that often doesn’t have a dedicated or even semi-dedicated marketing person) contacted me to have a conversation about social media. She had a board member who thought they could expand their reach dramatically by reaching out through social media, and she wanted to know how to create a Facebook page to do that.

I was sad to have to tell her that that strategy probably wasn’t going to work. The truth of the matter is that social media, like all the tools in the marcomm toolkit, has a specific spectrum of usefulness—and unfortunately, the type of social media interactions she was talking about just weren’t going to get her very much traction with people who didn’t know or care about her organization already.

Whenever I think about a marcomm plan, I work in my head with a very basic and non-scientific spectrum, stretching from what I term “engagement” (i.e. making those who already know you feel more engaged with you) to “development” (i.e. making those who don’t know you, well, know you). Read the rest of this entry »

Giving Back While Filling Theater Seats

Posted by Justin Karr (with Ben Cohen) On October - 6 - 2011

Justin Karr

Givenik, a service affiliated with Jujamcyn Theaters, connects charities and Broadway theatergoers. When theatergoers buy tickets through Givenik.com, they elect to contribute five percent of the ticket sale to a charity of their choice. Charities benefit through revenue earned on ticket sales. Broadway shows benefit through the attention and goodwill generated when Givenik is promoted to a charity’s supporters.

For Givenik to be successful, it must appeal to all three audiences: charities, shows, and theatergoers. Charities must agree to participate in Givenik and promote it to their supporters. Shows must agree to sacrifice a portion of their ticket revenue. Theatergoers must be aware of the service and what shows and charities are available on it. Social media is particularly well-suited for solving problems like ours by enabling us to connect all three audiences in a cost-effective way.

We primarily use Facebook and Twitter with a Givenik brand user. Our principle strategy is to connect charities, shows and their supporters to us and to each other via service posts.

Show fans become charity fans, charity fans become show fans, and everybody becomes Givenik fans. There is nothing fancy here; this is Social Media 101.

We try to remain engaged in the chatter in both the nonprofit and Broadway worlds and contribute to the conversation wherever we can. Read the rest of this entry »

How Strong is Your Social Net? (Part 1)

Posted by Mary Trudel On October - 5 - 2011

Mary Trudel

At last year’s NAMP Conference in San Jose – near the heart of Silicon Valley – my partner, Rory MacPherson, and I announced a national survey to gather input on how arts organizations and collaboratives are faring in the dynamic digital communications landscape.

Responding to input from arts organizations and regional arts collaboratives that are striving to get the most out of the latest digital communications tools and social media, we wanted to take a national snapshot of how arts groups are doing with adoption and integration of new social media platforms into their overall marketing outreach.

We decided to conduct a research project to collect hard data on how groups are managing messaging alignment, resource allocation, and how well they perceive their digital communications and social media efforts are working.

It seemed to us that even those who are leading the field and getting outstanding results are not completely sure they’re communicating consistently, clearly and compellingly, wonder if they are connecting authentically with patrons and fans, and are concerned about how to sustain and improve the effectiveness of what they’re doing. And universally, arts organizations reported struggling to measure the return on investment of their digital efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

Musical Taste is Socially Transmitted

Posted by Christy Farnbauch On October - 5 - 2011

Christy Farnbauch

The Jazz Arts Group (JAG) in Columbus, OH, along with its national research partners recently completed a two-year study focused on the attitudes of current and potential jazz ticket buyers throughout the U.S. and in Central Ohio.

The research process involved a variety of research methods, including a music listening study, electronic and print surveys, and a literature review. The Jazz Audiences Initiative (JAI), launched in November 2009, was designed to study fundamental questions about how and why people engage with jazz. The main goal was to learn new ways for engaging audiences, and infusing the art form with new energy.

Once all the data was distilled, the following key findings emerged:

1.    Tastes in music are socially transmitted.
2.    Across western-based art forms, jazz still draws a relatively diverse audience.
3.    Consumption of jazz is artist-driven.
4.    Music preferences are shaped by local programming.
5.    Younger buyers have categorically more eclectic tastes in music.
6.    There are many musical pathways into jazz.
7.    Jazz buyers strongly prefer informal settings. Read the rest of this entry »

Winning by Losing

Posted by David Dombrosky On October - 5 - 2011

David Dombrosky

For years now, we have been talking about the latest tools and the best practices for incorporating these tools into our marketing and communications strategies. Of course, this is a necessary conversation in which we need to continually engage, but there is a corollary discussion that also needs to take place regularly.

As technology advances and communication-based behaviors adapt to these advances, arts marketers find themselves adding new tactics to their marketing strategies in order to stay current in meeting audience expectations. So the corollary discussion that we need to have is, “If we need to add new tactics to keep pace with changing technology and patron behavior, then which older tactics can we afford to lose?”

During the past five years of leading online technology workshops for arts managers, one of the most frequent concerns expressed by participants has been the ever-increasing workload. We’ve added social media to our plates, as well as mobile applications, broadcast emails, SMS campaigns, and more. But what have we taken away? Read the rest of this entry »

Stop (Over) Using Social Media. Start Being Social.

Posted by Brian Reich On October - 5 - 2011

Brian Reich

Everyone talks about the transformational power of digital and social media, the contribution that technology and the Internet are having on our society – but for all the changes and advancements, most of the important things about our society seem to be largely operating as they have for a long time.

The promise of new technology is scale, reach, and efficiency. Just because we can move faster doesn’t mean that work should take priority over developing relationships and providing value to our audiences.

We have prioritized telling a quick story that suggests progress over investing in long-term impact that changes the world and drives people towards deeper commitments to organizations. We have become too accustomed to measuring success based on the size or popularity of an organization and not the value that a community of supporters places on the work that groups are doing.

As long as groups continue to focus on the wrong opportunities, our efforts to address serious issues will continue to stumble. Read the rest of this entry »

Three Social Media Rules to Live By

Posted by Ceci Dadisman On October - 5 - 2011

1.  Be Authentic
The point of social media is not to bang people over the head with announcements about your performances. It is a way to communicate and engage people on a personal level. People can tell when someone is not being authentic.

You know when you are at a networking event and there is a skeevy salesperson there that everyone steers clear of because they don’t want to be pitched to? Don’t be that person on social media.

If you’ve ever read my blog or seen me speak live, you know about my 80/20 rule for social media. Ideally, 80% of your posts should be engagement and 20% should be broadcasting. In short, 80% of what you are saying on social media should not be about the show you are about to do or the event that you want to sell tickets to.

Here are some things to think about to help you be more authentic: Read the rest of this entry »

A New Concept for Marketers?: Context War

Posted by Laura Kakolewski On October - 5 - 2011

Laura Kakolewski

If you want your brand want to win this war or survive this global phenomenon, it is time to relocate from Madison Avenue to Silicon Valley.

Many of you have probably heard of Gary Vaynerchuk, video blogging sensation and social media savant. I can’t help but be attracted to Vaynerchuk’s notorious high level of energy as he discusses the shift from creating brand content to creating CONTEXT in his new video:

Let’s sum up Vaynerchuk : last week, Google+ grew 1269%, Facebook expanded its platform, and “Word of Mouth” became the buzz words in the marketing world again. Read the rest of this entry »

Want to Win Audiences Online? Try Putting Them First.

Posted by David Dombrosky On October - 4 - 2011

David Dombrosky

During last year’s Arts Marketing Blog Salon, I stated that an individual or organization’s motivation for using social media is a primary factor in forecasting whether or not their efforts will be successful. This remains true, but even those who are truly motivated to engage their audiences can derail themselves with their approach to content.

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with a number of performing arts presenters, agents, and artists at the Performing Arts Exchange about their web strategies, use of social media, and engagement with mobile audiences. Throughout the course of these conversations, I noticed two important strategic elements for those experiencing success with social media.

Consider your content choices from the audience’s point-of-view.  
One of the most common issues I find in social media practice is that people often select content based on what they want to share. For example, one of the agents I spoke to at the conference had created a Facebook page with performing arts presenters as its intended audience. I noticed that a predominant number of the posts on the page were announcements for where her artists would be performing in the near future. When I asked her how this information is useful to presenters visiting the agency’s page, she was confused by the question. From her perspective, it was a no-brainer that anyone coming to the page would want to know this information. Read the rest of this entry »

Three Ways to Put Social Media in Its Place

Posted by Amelia Northrup On October - 4 - 2011

Graphic: Mike Licht via Flickr

Having written about social media and its application in arts marketing for the last few years, I’ve become aware of a disconnect. I’ve written about specific social media tools and tactics, but I realize that I haven’t addressed how it fits in with overall marketing strategy, and within the media mix.

Think about the campaigns that have delivered the most revenue. For many organizations, subscription or membership campaigns are the lifeblood of their revenue each year (a good example of this came from TRG Arts client Arena Stage recently).

Direct-response renewal campaigns usually produce the highest sales volume as well as the highest marketing return-on-investment (ROI). On the other hand, social media has eluded our efforts to assign value to it since its inception. Social media is hard to track ROI on and even harder to monetize. On top of that, it’s nearly impossible to track social media users because doing so falls outside of the proprietary systems designed to protect their privacy.

You will not, repeat, NOT hear my colleagues and me advocating for abandoning your social media efforts. However, we do ask you to consider the question: Looking at your marketing strategy holistically, how does social media complement your most effective marketing campaigns? Read the rest of this entry »

What Does It Mean to Be Engaged?

Posted by Sara Billmann On October - 3 - 2011

Sara Billmann

It’s an honor to be included in the Arts Marketing Blog Salon. I’m looking forward to learning a lot from the conversations over the coming week.

If the Internet was the buzzword of the mid-1990s, there’s no question that social media has reigned supreme over the past few years, with names of sites now popular becoming verbs that have entered our modern-day lexicon and the entire industry now abbreviated as something that even as recently as a few years ago would have implied something tawdry.

The beauty of social media is that it ultimately just takes word-of-mouth to a whole new level, albeit a more visible one. Let’s face it, there was a certain comfort in the pre-internet days of knowing that people heard about performances by ‘word of mouth’ without knowing what, exactly, was being said.

Now that message is broadcast far beyond the reaches of our own venues, giving us opportunity to enhance or diminish our own reputations with the press of a few keystrokes. We all plot how we can use this power to our advantage as consumers, but would be better off thinking about how we should be using its reach and power to ensure nothing but the most satisfied, engaged customer. Read the rest of this entry »

Marketing is Dead…Long Live Marketing

Posted by Deborah Obalil On October - 3 - 2011

Deborah Obalil

It’s been interesting to read various marketing experts and pundits over the past year or so declare the death of marketing as we know it in various forums. And, of course, we’ve all heard the platitudes of social media experts regarding the “customer being in control” and “it’s all about them, not you.”

It is true that the traditional interpretation of the Marketing Ps (product, price, place, promotion) may feel outdated in a world where people engage as often virtually as they do physically. And social media has definitely been a game changer in regards to customer relationships and communications strategy.

While I often find little to argue with in the details of these various exhortations, the conclusion that all of this means marketing is dead or vastly different at its core from what it was ten or more years ago confounds me.

I have always understood marketing to be “the process by which you come to understand the relationship between the product and the customer.” I don’t think this definition has become false because of all the changes in the platforms we use to connect with our customers, or even because the needs of our customers may be vastly different from what they were a decade ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Butts in Seats: 5 Tips for Event Marketing Using Social Media

Posted by Ceci Dadisman On October - 3 - 2011

Ceci Dadisman

Social media is an important piece of the event marketing puzzle. Unlike most nonprofits that are marketing one product all year long (a charitable cause), a performing arts organization markets multiple different products (performances and events) throughout each season.

It can be challenging to market diverse offerings whilst still under the umbrella of one organization.

Let me share my top-5 tips to marketing events that will generate buzz and improve conversions:

1. Don’t forget about the 80/20 rule. This is a rule that I live by regarding social media marketing, whether it is when I’m marketing an event or not. I find that the best ratio to keep people engaged but not tick them off is to have 80% engagement and 20% broadcasting. Even when you have an event to market, talking 100% about that event is just going to turn people off and they aren’t going to listen to one word that you are saying.

2. Engage creatively. This one goes together with tip #1 about the 80/20 rule. You may ask, why should I waste time tweeting or posting about stuff that has nothing to do with my event when I’m trying to sell tickets? Well, that is pretty simple to answer.

If you are engaging with people, you will be top of mind so that when they do hear something about you or your event, they will remember the interaction and be much more likely to check it out. Read the rest of this entry »

Alison French

As the 2011 National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) Conference: Winning Audiences quickly approaches, we are taking a cue from our keynote speaker, Scott Stratten and his best-selling book, UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.

What better way to kick off a meeting about audience engagement, communications, and revenue generation than with an online discussion with you and 18 top marketing practitioners and consultants in the field?

Join us on ARTSblog for a dialogue on the broad landscape of arts marketing, social media, and audience engagement.

From October 3-7, join us as we wrestle with and ponder on such questions as:

•    What new ideas or campaigns are you deploying to win new or broader audiences?
•    How do you consider your audience’s perspective in your marketing and fundraising choices?
•    How are you identifying your audiences and how are you keeping them coming back for more?
•    How is social media changing how you speak with your audience and what you say?
•    How is the fear of a double dip recession affecting your marketing and fundraising strategies?

We hope you will visit us in the salon and take a moment to leave a comment, share an opinion, or ask a question.

Then come to Louisville, KY, November 12-15 to continue the conversation in person at the NAMP Conference.

What Do Facebook Changes Mean for Arts Communicators?

Posted by Jeff Scott On September - 27 - 2011

The new Facebook profile

As we all have no doubt heard by now, Facebook is launching some major updates to the site.

Some of these changes are already being implemented; the others were previewed at the recent f8 conference and will be released in the coming weeks.

Many arts organizations have come to integrate Facebook and other social media channels as important parts of their overall communications plans.

While it’s too early at this point to accurately comment on the impact, if any, these Facebook updates will have for arts communicators (marketers, advocates, thought leaders, and the like), it’s worth at least some preliminary thoughts.

1. The new ticker feed could be a double-edged sword.

One of the hurdles for arts communicators to overcome when using Facebook is the algorithm which powers the news feed on the homepage. Facebook only displays updates from individuals and organizations that the user has interacted with recently or frequently. Thus, while an arts organization’s Facebook page may have several hundred fans, it’s possible that only a fraction of them are actually seeing the content that is posted. Read the rest of this entry »

Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.