Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy Holidays and Arts Audience Development

Each year I scope out some holiday arts YouTubes.  I am still in search for a few more.  If you have a holiday YouTube, feel free to send it my way!

Here is the link to the gallery for your holiday viewing pleasure:  Holiday Arts Videos!

I did not post one of them there since I wanted to comment more about it.  I came across this mobile version of The Carol of the Bells:

To celebrate the holidays, AKQA teamed up with members of the Pacific Chamber Symphony and Music Director Lawrence Kohl to create a synchronized mobile orchestra.

If you go to: mobileorchestra.com they allow you to choose the option to experience it with a friend so you can view it together.  I really liked the creative aspect of this holiday campaign, and we shall see if it gets passed around more during the next few days.

If I had one holiday wish for the arts, it would be to become our creative selves again.  I have read in a few reports (here is one from Canada, p.26) that people enjoy going to the arts to experience something new.  This was one of the main reasons!  Are we offering them new experiences or are we continuing to recycle what we have offered before?  In terms of building excitement for purchasing tickets and tipping the scales toward a sell out, what causes this phenomenon to occur?  If we look closely at all the elements, it is the quality of the creativity in every aspect of the arts offering.  From our marketing to our production, creativity inspires people.  Isn’t this what we might be missing?

Happy Holidays to all, and may they be merry and bright!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Night pondering of the many personalities of Twitter for audience development

I was looking at the profiles of some new followers, and I realize there are some concrete personalities I am seeing.  Here are a few to get you thinking:

  • The Chatty Cathy or the Rampant Reply Robert: This Twitter personality is all about the conversation only.  You look at their stream and you see a sea of tweets starting with the @symbol.  There is no posting single thoughts or information.  Their profiles are more like chat rooms than anything else.
  • The Schizophrenic Sampler or the Nowhere Man: If you see an account that has tweets posted by many different people, meaning they hit the retweet button more than they post their own thought, you have come across the schizophrenic sampler.  I understand that these people are enthusiastic about sharing what they see, however, I often wonder if they have their own personality and opinions to share.
  • The Marketing Fool on the Hill: If all you see are post about them and what they are doing and selling, then you have come across this type of personality on Twitter.  Like the Fool on the Hill, they don’t realize that people don’t like them since they don’t like to be sold to 100% of the time.  This profile usually includes all the “I posted a photo on Facebook” or “I liked a YouTube” in which the YouTube is their latest and greatest.  They always are posting about their upcoming show, the music they are selling, etc, etc.  There’s a place for marketing on Twitter, but it should be a rare part of your tweeting experience.
  • The Quite the Quoter: These accounts are still hanging in there, but not as popular as they used to be.  This profile has tweets of inspirational quotes from famous people aimed to lift your day and thoughts.  The occasional lift is helpful, however the constant quotes gets a little boring.
  • The Social Media “Master”: These are the people that are pretending to be the masters of social media and are “proving” it by the number of people that they are following and who are following them.  When you take a closer look, they are more the Marketing Fool on the Hill personality and their following doesn’t represent meaningful relationships.  I follow a few real Social Media Masters and many of them converse with their followers instead of simply spouting their “wisdom” and puffing up their numbers with empty accounts.
  • The Negative Nellies: A very easy personality to spot and easy to stay away from, unless they are sarcastically funny and make you laugh, then by all means, follow them!
  • The Informative Informer: This is all that you see on these accounts.  Tweet after tweet of an article with a link.  There is no personality behind the tweets, no interaction.  Maybe they are bots in disguise?  What is funny is the fact people will follow these accounts for the information, and that generally gives them high numbers. The people behind these profiels are losing out on the full experience of Twitter which is the opportunity to build relationships with others.And my favorite personality, the one I always recommend:
  • The All Around Star: This profile will show a good mix of conversation, information, retweets, quotes, with a little bit of marketing.  In other words, they are showing their full personalities, helping others, and sharing good information for their followers.

There may be more personalities to define.  What personalities do you see on Twitter?  Which ones give you the pet peeve heebie-jeebies and which ones do you like to tweet with?  Let us know!

-Shoshana
Buildmyaudience.com

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Are you participating? Arts Audience Development

I have a quick thought today.  Are you participating in the arts as an audience member?  Yes, you might be the artist or the behind the scenes administrator, so you are participating in the arts.  However, I feel one of the reasons the audience is getting less and less is because some of us are not being good audience members to other artists and arts organizations.

We are also not participating enough in spreading the word.  It is rare when I receive an email from an artist about something other than their own personal e-Newsletter.  When was the last time you as a musician (hi musicians), spread the word about an upcoming performance for your own group or another group you are not performing in?  Theatre people, you happen to be better than most of us, but you could also share more.  Dance people, you are also becoming better at spreading the word, but you all could share in the responsibility. Museum folks, yes, you can be more enthusiastic about sharing word about an exhibit.

It is not so cut and dry anymore.  Share the enthusiasm for your art and for others’ art!  Become an audience for other artists and arts organizations.  Artists and the arts administrators could be more a part of the audience development game.  Instead of simply relying on the few arts marketers out there, maybe we all could start participating more.

-Shoshana
Matchmaker for the Arts

 

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Fly by the seat of your pants and arts audience development

I have to say something.  After years of witnessing and dealing with, I can no longer remain silent.  Many artists and arts organizations have a “fly by the seat of your pants” mentality.   I’ve been prompted to break the silence after reading an article about the arts in Florida:

Arts groups’ weak finances prompt ‘call to action’ 

Less than 20 percent of local arts organizations have a fundraising strategy

Less than 40 percent have a strategic plan to carry out their missionJust 57 percent of arts-group chief executives receive performance reviews from their board of directors

Only 17 of the 81 arts groups that participated have endowments to provide ongoing support. Those endowments provide just $590,000 per year across the 17 groups — against $33 million in operating expenses.

Holy cow! If this is a snapshot of other areas of arts in our country, we are most certainly embracing a “fly by the seat of your pants” mentality.

When you engage in this type of arts management, poor planning is the biggest result which turns into audience development, marketing and fundraising campaigns that don’t even have a leg to stand on.  Planning is crucial for running a successful business, let alone a thriving arts business that relies more on solid foundations of quality in every aspect of the business.

Some companies can get by with status quo, but arts organizations are folding now due to this lackadaisical attitude.  In the past we were able to rely on rich patrons because we were artists.  Today, if we don’t deliver our part, patrons do not want to contribute.

A “fly by the seat of your pants” attitude is not going to attract serious investors.  It will only show the lack of planning, lack of follow through, lack of quality to your actions.  Instead, you will find your half baked plans and actions will not result in building an audience and building your monetary and volunteer support.  Your campaigns will continue to not succeed.

If you want to build an audience that is happy and loyal, planning must be a priority.  Follow through must be a priority.  Planning quality art and the customer service to back your art is extremely important.

Doing everything last minute without enough thought is not going to get you anywhere positive.  You might be lucky to stay status quo, but you most certainly won’t grow to become a healthy, thriving arts organization.

How can you break this negative cycle?  Set priorities and stick with them.  Many artists and arts administrators take on too much.  With their plates overloaded, each component gets less time and attention and each action, campaign, production is lacking in conviction.  Yes, focusing on a few things instead of taking on the world can create the change.

Audience development takes planning, creativity and thoughtfulness.  It takes time and effort to design and implement a good plan.  You need to plan time for relationship building for a bigger and better audience and a loyal audience that will support you and your art.  Do you really want to continue flying by the seat of your pants?   It won’t be too long before your unchanged underwear is showing.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Guest Post: Are artists involved in your audience development planning? They should be.

I have a guest blog post today for you.  I met Samantha at the 2012 National Arts Marketing Project Conference, and we had a good time talking about audience development and arts shenanigans in general.  I recently came across her current blog post and thought it would be fantastic to cross post it here.  Are your artists involved in your audience development planning?  I agree – the should be.  Only disagreement is her “butts in seats” comment, as you know that drives me crazy.  If you have a comment, please feel free to share in the reply box below.  Enjoy!************************************************

Are artists involved in your audience development planning? They should be.

December 4, 2012 · by · Bookmark the permalink. ·

Having worked for several years in the Symphony world, I have experienced firsthand the ‘us vs. them’ mentality between artists and management. The Symphony world is well-known for its labor disputes, musician strikes, management lockouts and general distrust of each other. But I often find it odd that performers and management have such distaste for each other when we should all be working toward the same goal – keeping our arts organizations sustainable in our communities. Some of it may be attributed to the right-brained artist mentality not understanding the left-brained business mind and vice versa, but I think there’s a lot of commonality that artists and management share that is often overlooked.  While finances are certainly at the core of this, not to be ignored are the ideas needed to continue introducing new audiences to our art form. And this is where both artists and management need to work together. So let’s take contract negotiations and budgets out of the mix for a moment and just talk about idea creation.

While I would never expect the concertmaster to write the season’s marketing plan, just as I shouldn’t be expected to play first trumpet, the two sides can work together using our own expertise on finding ways to reach untapped audiences in new and exciting ways. In my years in symphony marketing (or any marketing, for that matter), I find that there is never a lack of new ideas. Someone at least once a week says to me, “You know what you oughta do…” Most times I listen, smile, and either file the idea away or dismiss it. But here’s where I really think both sides of the organization can work together and come up with some really fabulous ways to spread the joy of our artform. I have talked with musicians who’ve said that they don’t feel like anyone listens to their ideas. And I know many staff members who feel totally cut off from having access to the musicians, even in an informal manner. Bridging the two sides can help morale all around, as well as build the opportunity to work together towards a common cause.

As stated in an earlier post, new audiences are key to keeping the relevancy and vitality of classical music alive in the 21st century. Our marketing and development teams (another key relationship in any non-profit) are focused on identifying and cultivating these soon-to-be patrons and donors. What the management side can bring to the table is doing the research to find out who these new audiences are, how and where to market to them, and how to sell them a ticket. What musicians can do is tell their story. Make themselves available to the public. Be the face of the artform that we’re promoting.They are the ones to create the relationships that are KEY in this day and age of the arts. No one really cares what the Director of Marketing says. I have a small enough ego to know that what I say isn’t worth a hill of beans (is that still a phrase?). But when a musician makes a phone call, or appears in a video, or does a radio interview? That’s when ears perk up. That’s what makes a potential audience member interested in attending the Symphony. I can send postcards and record TV spots and place newspaper ads and I’ll get a few bites. Traditional media isn’t dead. But when the artist making the art becomes involved, and perhaps makes a personal invitation, I think we’ll see a much more significant response.

As we work on our new audience initiative, I plan to involve as many musicians as I can (and who are willing) in the planning and implementation process. It can be so much more effective if I ask the musicians up front, “Hey, what kind of program should we create to attract a younger audience?” than it will if I say, “You’re doing this service on this date and time and wear this.” Get them involved in the planning by serving on task forces. Ask them to invite their yoga class or book club or softball team to a concert. Invite them to participate in pre- or post-concert discussions with patrons. The participating musicians may feel a sense of ownership if they helped create something from the ground up instead of just showing up for a performance without having any idea on how the audience got there. I have found that if you just ask the artists for input, you’ll hear back, “How can we help?” We all want more butts in seats. Let’s work together on finding effective ways to do it. [:O)]

Samantha Teter is an arts marketing professional with over six years of experience as Director of Marketing in the Symphony field and four years of experience as Director of Marketing and Events in a performing arts venue. She holds a BA in Radio-TV Broadcasting and an MBA with a marketing emphasis. She is also an actor and singer and a patron of the performing arts.

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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

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts, arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Random thoughts from fiscal cliffs and landfills to donation asks for arts audience development

What do fiscal cliffs and landfills have to do with audience development for the arts?  Quite a lot actually.  Allow me to explain.

The priorities in America and possibly the world are all mixed up these days.  When countries are being run by greed for power and money, what is really important in life is not being funded.  The arts, in my opinion, are important to our lives.  We would be living life in the dark without the arts.  There would be no color in our world, no design,creative sciences or inventiveness, no music, no plays, movies and television shows, no historical reference, no spark to our lives.  How am I certain that the arts are one of the vital ingredients for humanity?  Because of the Landfill Harmonic:

Landfill Harmonic film teaser from Landfill Harmonic on Vimeo.

A country that has no means, but has the human spirit to create is making instruments out of remnants from the landfill.  The arts are a basic need, a basic desire that has to be filled.  This video showcases that the arts are a priority in our lives.

If the arts were to be a part of the fall off due to the fiscal cliff, we would still find a way to create and perform.  However, think about what we could do if we finally got our priorities in life straight.  What would the world look like if the greed for power and money were gone?  There wouldn’t be a fiscal cliff and there probably would be the means for funding of the arts more fully.  We as a human race tend to take the arts for granted.  It’s only when the arts are gone from our lives that we find that we need to sift through the rubble, the garbage, to find a way to express ourselves again.

This taking the arts for granted can be flipped on its head too.  We as artists tend to take our audiences for granted.  I hope non-profits of all kinds will take a moment to ponder this point too.

We are taking our audiences for granted.  We assume that if we create, the audiences will be there.  You can call this the Field of Dreams Syndrome.  We take it for granted that the right people will show up and start to support us, and then we fall flat with doing the work to build the relationships to create the support that we need.

For example, I receive donation asks from a variety of organizations.  I might have given in the past, I might not have.  The organizations that are targeting me based on who I have given to in the past have not started a relationship with me.  They are asking without knowing who I really am as a person.  I rarely give to these random asks.  The ones I have given to the past are organizations that caught my attention through a variety of avenues, such as tabling at an outreach event.  I have at least spoken to a representative, gone to a show, or volunteered for their cause.  I gave to these organizations since a relation has been established.

I only choose to continue to give if the relationship continues.  Many organizations at this point will take me for granted and continue to ask without any personal contact with me.  The only organizations I continue to give to at this point are the ones that treat me like an individual person and not just a number on their mailing list.  They make sure to thank me and contact me to keep me in the loop before asking for another donation.  They send me updates on how my money is being used.  They may call me to thank me personally.  I did receive a call from a board member on one of these organizations.  I only gave $25 that year too. Wow!

To tie this random post up into a nice gift with a big red bow for the holidays, you can trace back to the initial thought.  We have our priorities mixed up.  Instead of taking the road of hard work and thoughtfulness for others, we are taking the path of laziness and greed for money and power.  People will not see the value of our art and organizations until we start valuing people as individuals.  The world will not see the arts as a priority until they see the arts become more a part of the world in ways that are helpful and supportive to their communities.  Perhaps if we started acting as individuals and support the people in our lives through solid two-way relationships, we can start adding a positive voice to the collective for a better, common sensed, prioritized world.

If you ever wondered why getting the arts funded has been so darn challenging, now you know.

PS  These thoughts are my own humble opinion.  Feel free to challenge, add, and consider your own thoughts and post as a reply!

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

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Filed under Arts, arts advocacy, arts management, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising

A sick cat and audience development for the arts

CharliSome of you may know that one of my cats is very ill.  I have been back and forth to the vet many times in the past two weeks.  Both me and my cat are tired of the whole thing.  During the process, I realized that I am incorporating much of the advice I give to my clients for the 4th C of audience development, or the Care element of their plans.

  • I want to make my cat as comfortable as possible during this time.  I put an extra special soft blanket in her carrier to make the travels a little bit better for her.
    What are you doing to make your patrons more comfortable during their experience with you?
  • Her problem right now is not being able to keep food down. I am buying medicines and foods to help calm her stomach.
    What changes are you making to solve any problems your patrons are “ailing” from?
  • At the vet she sat in the corner, tired from the entire ordeal.  Today, I am “hearing” that she needs a little bit of time before another round of medications begin.
    Are you listening to what your audiences prefer?  What are you doing to accommodate their schedule, their needs? 
  • I was rewarded this morning when she began to eat a good breakfast.  After weeks of not being able to keep her food down, she seems to be doing a little better.  She purred when I pet her too.
    Caring for your audiences will have their rewards.  They will want to give back if you cater and care for them. 
  • I know that I will have to make decisions that will benefit her even if she doesn’t take to it from the start.  What makes this easier is her trust in me.
    If you care for your audiences, over time, they will start to trust your judgement even if they don’t completely agree with you. 
  • My cat has been with me for 14 years.  I couldn’t imagine my life without her.
    Just like a relationship with a pet, your relationships with your audiences can be loyal and long lasting if you keep caring for them throughout the relationship. 

Which brings me to the moral of this little cat tale (and tail).  If you care for your audiences through every experience with them, they will become happy and loyal audience members.  They will want to support you since they now know that you care for them too.  In the end, you can’t imagine your life without an audience, and when you care enough, they will not be able to imagine a life without you and your art.

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

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, Audience Development, Fundraising