Monthly Archives: October 2011

Halloween Audience Development YouTube kinda mood 2011

Every year I like to hunt for Halloween Arts YouTubes to show you some fabulous ideas for audience development during Halloween.

Here’s a novel idea from the Springfield Arts Council.  They are allowing people to rent their costumes for $15 (plus deposit).

Halloween 2011 at the Springfield Arts Council COSTUME SHOP

Fun trailer from Harford Dance Theatre

The Ballad of Sweeney Todd – Chicago Chamber Choir

Pumpkin Carving Art

Halloween music! Second Kill in b minor – by Piano Next Door – scary horror theme

“LONGING FOR TOMORROW” short film


Cheers to creepy and screaming audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Leave a comment

Filed under Audience Development

Audience Development and service with care…

I have been thinking about good customer service lately.   Good customer service is one way to establish yourself among our clamoring markets.  It is also a good way to show you care about your audience.  Good customer service, service with care, is good audience development.  The following is a quick list of suggestions to add to your daily life:
1. Spell people’s names correctly – You can view the complete blog on this one here: Audience Development and the name game
2. Go the extra mile and provide all the important information needed up front (as much as you can).   If you have people asking you:
a. What is the link?
b. When is it?
c. Where is it?
d. What’s the program?
etc.
either they did not read carefully enough or you did not provide the important what, when, who, how for them in a up front, easy to use manner.  For example, I was invited to meet at someone’s office and they sent me the details on the date, yet they forgot to give me the address.  They probably assumed I would look it up online, but why not provide that information up front in the email?  If it is a patron, it is more work on the patron, and some will say “forget it!” if you don’t supply the information needed.
3. Listen to your patrons and be helpful.  I don’t know how many times I have been on the phone with a customer service agent and they give me the panned answer “sorry I can’t help you with that” only to find out by calling back later, another agent was able to help me with the same request.   The second agent listened to me and was helpful by seeking out more answers when she didn’t know how she could help, and then she was able to help.   We no longer can afford to be the “nay sayers” when it comes to servicing our patrons.  We need to listen to them and be helpful to their needs and requests.
4. Follow up.  If you helped a patron with a problem, you have the opportunity to follow up to make sure you actually did help them.  For example, I switched seats for a person that called in since they broke their leg in a car accident.  I worked on finding the best seat to make them as comfortable as possible.  Then, I called them after the concert to see if the seat worked for them.  There was only one change like this, so why not take a moment to call?  If you say you are too busy, then you are too busy to have happy and loyal patrons.
Follow up can also mean finding out how they enjoyed a concert.  Try this, select a couple of patrons each concert to personally follow up with.  In fact, everyone on your “team” can do this.  A courtesy service call can go a long way in showing you care about their thoughts and feelings regarding your events and programs.
5.  Treat,  everyone with the care they are desiring.  This means that there are some folks out there that rather not get our mailings, but rather get an email.  Or, there might be some people that never want you to call them.  If that last example had “do not call” on their profile, I would have attempted to follow up in a different manner.  Find out how they prefer to be contacted.  You will then be catering their individual wants and needs and how they would like to be cared for.
6. Set a “get back” policy and stick to it.  People are falling through the cracks because sometimes we forget to get back to them in a timely fashion. Some businesses state they will return a call within 24 hours.  Some are less or more in their choice of window.  The point is to let your patrons know what you are capable of doing for them and then do it for them.  I have heard complaints from the general public that they have called or emailed, but no one responded back.  If you think you don’t have the capacity for this, you are setting yourself up for more decreases rather than increases.  People need to feel they are being taken care of.   It’s best to adjust so you can treat them well.
7. Be sure to thank them and be grateful for your patrons.  It’s time to stop being crabby when patrons call.  I have seen some arts orgs that actually feel put out when a patron calls.  Maybe sometimes it isn’t convenient for you when they call.  The best thing you can do is to take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are there doing what you are doing because they make it possible.  Being grateful to them, thanking them, and being there for them is what service with care is all about.

There are many more ways you can service your patrons with care.  If you think of any creative ones, please do reply with a comment. 
Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Audience Development and some cool arts statistics!

Yesterday the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Section of Statistical Abstract –  http://1.usa.gov/ooiiXY – came out.  This is the statistics section of the census data that has been collected.  Being the audience development geek I am, I was fascinated by some of the facts and figures.  I ended up tweeting some of the more interesting facts while I was going through this report, section by section.  The arts part of the report goes through page 8.  If you are interested in knowing where we are in terms of arts participation, this report gives us some clues.

The article I found that provided the link to the report stated that there are more people bird watching than going to classical music concerts.  You will not believe what else was found out, although some data proved some of my theories correct.

The following are my tweets that follow each section of the report.  Let me know if you have any comments by replying.

  • Revenue for Museums and Historical is similar to revenue for Amusement Theme Parks (2004-2009)
  • Spectator sports is about twice the revenue of performing arts.
  • Statistics on money spent on reading by age is interesting.  The younger generations does not spend as much money on reading. There is a message for structuring marketing there.
  • Interesting numbers for memberships. For Museums and Libraries, looks like it went up in 2005-2006, but has been steady since then.
  • My question then is: What were museums and libraries doing in 2005-2006 that attracted members?
  • Broadway – playing weeks have gone up, but attendance really hasn’t.
  • Nonprofit theatres – unfortunately the data is structured with more companies reporting and would take calculations to figure out.
  • Opera – less companies reported, less audience is apparent though in relation.
  • Symphony Orchestras – up and down attendance and not in relation to amount of concerts.
  • Females participate more in the arts than males except for purchasing art. Interesting
  • Good for Illinois! Highest allocation for the arts agencies and it had a whopper of an increase from 2010 to 2011.
  • Report proves that younger generations are more hands on – higher % participation statistics as they get younger w/ few exceptions.
  • % High to Low: Reading, Museums, Live Theatre, Art shows, Photography, Other music, Rock, Play instrument., Country, Dance, Classical, Radio
Which facts and figures astonish you?  Which ones did you guess were already true? Which ones need more discussion?

There may be some more interesting data that I missed during my scan of the report. If you catch any important ones to discuss, please do reply in the comment section to get the discussion happening.

Audience development is about building relationships with people.  Just remember though that these numbers are actual people. These numbers can provide some clues, and to me they validate that audience development is vastly needed.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Leave a comment

Filed under Audience Development

Audience Development and branding creatively

This week has been a whirlwind of thoughts.  Mainly it has been a week of thinking about creativity.  The death of a very creative thinker, Steve Jobs, has again brought this topic to the forefront.

I have been recently thinking about branding.  Branding needs to communicate in a nutshell who and what you are about.  You would think branding needs to be creative, but I am finding that in some cases we are afraid to brand outside of the box due to already established conceptions about certain establishments.

I have been hoping to be invited to speak about this topic since I have been doing research on the brands of symphony orchestras.  After sampling through the brands of over 50 organizations world wide, I find the established norms for branding have won out over creative branding.    Only 9 (maybe 10) orchestras stood out as a different kind of brand.  The rest of the symphony orchestras, if you were to block out the name of the organization and ask which symphony this was, you wouldn’t have the slightest clue.  The logos, the photos, the marketing jargon are all basically the same. Your mainstream audiences will find you easily, but your new audiences may continue to ignore you easily.

In a world where there is so much of so much, wouldn’t you want your brand to be creative?  Wouldn’t you want your brand to stand out?  Yet, most of the organizations and artists will play it safe due to already established norms.  Is this helping or hurting our arts industry?

Sure, the standard established brand will automatically let people know that you are what you are.  It’s been what is expected of you for decades.  If you really want success though and to be buzz worthy, wouldn’t it be better to stand out and have a brand that is inspiring, original, clever and out of the mainstream box?

What do you think?

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

5 Comments

Filed under arts marketing, Audience Development

Audience Development and Steve Jobs

The news about Steve Jobs passing is all over the internet and on the international news.  He was an innovator of our times.  He was creative and a go getter.  The combination changed our world.

One of the articles I found was: The 13 Most Memorable Quotes From Steve Jobs

I was intrigued by his focus and dedication to providing products that blew our minds.  Here are a few of the quotes I particularly enjoyed since they relate to audience development:

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

[BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998]

I’m not sure I completely agree, but the fact that he went a step beyond, most likely using what he would prefer to use, he did ultimately come up with products that surprised us and that we wanted to use.  He paid full attention to the quality of the product, how it looked and felt and what it was able to do for us.

“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

[BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998]

Our messages, our outreach programs, need to be more simple.  The audience needs to understand and connect with us in a moment.  This is why this quote resonated with me.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

[Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Don’t settle.  Enough said.

“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”

[NBC Nightly News, May 2006]

This quote also meant to me to never stop being innovative.  If you keep doing the same programs and events over and over, you will never get to the “what’s next.”

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

[Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Having trust and confidence is key.  Where you get this from is your choice.  Sometimes you need to be quiet and listen to find the answers and then be brave enough to implement what you discover.  Other people can tell you what to think, but don’t listen to them if it doesn’t fully resonate with who you are and what you want to achieve.  The dots will connect on their own if you do trust and have confidence in yourself and your ideas.

Steve Jobs was an amazing person of our times, and he also serves as an example that each of us has the ability and the opportunity to be this amazing too.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

2 Comments

Filed under Audience Development

Bigger arts organizations and audience development

I have seen two more news stories about symphony orchestras going bankrupt.  What in the world is happening?  We could say this is a case of audiences no longer relating to these bigger organizations and how they function and present their art.  Times are changing and the ways that audiences want to participate and become more a part of the arts could be a big piece of the puzzle.  I do not feel it is due to humans no longer relating to the art itself, which has been proven is not the case.

In my humble opinion, it is the fact that these bigger organizations are functioning using old school management and marketing, and they have yet to switch to a new audience development mentality.  I see that some of these organizations have 10-20 people on their marketing staff and on their development staff.  It is not the case that they do not have the capacity or people power.  I have seen organizations with less than 6 people on their staff use audience development effectively.  I believe the problem lies with the fact they refuse to shift and change with the times.

The other piece of this puzzle is the hush-hush nature of how these organizations are being run.  They refuse to be transparent, and when they are in the beginnings of needing help, they do not allow their audiences to be a part of the solution.  Instead they continue to hide behind the mask of “everything is fine” and continue to clunk along using the same old methods that they have been operating with for decades.

When it comes down to the wire, the last leg moments of functioning, this is when these organizations divulge the information that they are in serious trouble.  The media is more than happy to show how dire the situation is for these organizations, and there is hardly a positive leg to stand upon.  I admire the late turn-around spirit that some of these organizations are attempting to promote, but in many cases, it might be a little too late to get these massive ships to turn-around.  The iceberg was spotted long ago, but now they do not have enough time, and the impact sinks these organizations like the Titanic.

The good news is that like a phoenix, new organizations rise from the ashes, and hopefully with this renewal will come a new mentality, an audience development mentality of working with your audiences to build better arts organization.

We no longer can ignore our audiences or give them what we think they want.  They want to be included, and they want us to be more responsible and accountable when they do give us their support.  They provide us our livelihoods.  We owe them the best in return.  There should be no more excuses.  If you are a bigger organization, you have the capacity.  It is time to shift your presumptuous operations mentality to a mentality that builds relationships and partnerships with your audiences.  Please do so as soon as possible so you will not become another Titanic in the sea of dead arts organizations.

PS  This is a generalization.  There are bigger organizations that are doing well and have changed with the times.  They serve as wonderful examples for all of us.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

 

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development