“If you want to sell something to somebody, you have to tell them how it will satisfy their desires. It’s one of the oldest truths known to humankind. But in the arts, we don’t really know who our new audiences are, we refuse to learn what they want, and without knowing what they want, we can’t tell them how our products will satisfy their desires. So instead we blather on endlessly about how wonderful we are – or how wonderful people should think we are – and hope that young, culturally diverse people will somehow magically find us as appealing as traditional audiences once did.”
So Trevor O’Donnell diagnoses the problem with arts marketing (at least in the US) today. While his accusations of lazy, ego-driven marketing might be exaggerated, there is much to ponder here. I certainly agree that much arts marketing is still too ‘arts-centred’ and uses too much ‘arts-speak’, instead of being customer-centred and using customer language.
Read his full blog post here. He’s so passionate about this subject he’s written a book about it, titled Marketing the Arts to Death. It’s certainly worth thinking about the language we use, and how we evaluate the quality of our marketing, to ensure our first objective is to establish meaningful communication with our potential audiences, about the types of experience they can expect to have with us.
Still struggling with demographics, wondering why it’s not really helping you identify potential new audiences, or how best to create offers to existing segments? Here’s an article on the National Arts Marketing Project website from the US, which explains why just using demographics is problematic.
Author Sara Leonard says “People enter into relationships with other people and with organizations because they share interests and values. The principle applies within the arts, too. Our arts organizations need to have clear and consistent organizational identities that are expressed in our missions, programming, and marketing, and we need to know how the organization’s personality intersects with those of our audience members. In order to do that, we need to understand their interests, values, likes, and dislikes so that we can most effectively relate to them. To use the lingo, we’re talking here about psychographics.”
See more at: http://www.artsmarketing.org/resources/article/2014-03/deeper-demographics#.dpuf
US arts researcher Alan Brown takes stock of the most significant trends re-shaping demand for the arts, and the groundswell of creativity and experimentation leading the orchestra field in the US into the future. Drawing on a body of research on orchestra audiences and arts participation, this closing keynote of the recent League of American Symphony Orchestras Conference identifies the key challenges to engaging the next generation of orchestras and embedding orchestras in the creative life of their communities.
One quote which stood out for me: “community engagement starts with season programming”. Watch it now and spread the word to all you know in the Australian orchestral community: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=420i4xIzlAg