Audience development is sexy!

adjective, sex·i·er, sex·i·est.
3. excitingly appealing; glamorous: a sexy new car.

According to, sexy can mean excitingly appealing. To me, audience development is excitingly appealing, thus, it is sexy.  Let me explain further.

I have always felt building audiences was sexy. The best way to build a happy and loyal audience is by using audience development techniques. As of late, audience development has been ill defined and given a bad rap. This is a shame. The true identity of audience development is desirable since it provides the results that are desired, a healthy arts business with plenty of support.

“Audience Development is the building of relationships with your existing and potential audiences, through the use of specific audience relations programs, in order for them to become more involved with your organization and/or art form. Audience development uses the 4 C’s: Community, Connections, Collaborations, and Caring.”

– Shoshana Fanizza

When you have the goal of building relationships with your audiences, some wonderfully desirable objectives can be achieved:

1. You build your capacity.  Audience development helps you to increase audiences (ticket sales), volunteers, sponsors, donors, members, purchases, etc! Audiences become more invested in you and your art which translates into more money and more people support – an all hands on deck mentality to build a familiar community!  This is very excitingly appealing for many arts businesses.

2. You gain loyalty.  Through your relationships and audience frame of mind, your audiences will feel cared for and know that they are being factored into how you conduct your business.  Your consideration will reap loyalty.  With loyalty there is less money needed to sway people to attend and donate.  Using less money and gaining more money is excitingly appealing, right?

3. You can become more diversified.  Using audience development can help you to diversify your audience.  In an age where we are desiring younger and more inclusive audiences, this makes audience development very sexy!

Sexy can also be defined as glamorous.


1. full of glamour; charmingly or fascinatingly attractive, especially in a mysterious or magical way.

2. full of excitement, adventure, and unusual activity: the glamorous job of a foreign correspondent.

Audience development is glamorous, since the outcomes have a touch of mystery and magic. People find it incredulous when the results fall into place.  The programs used to build relationships with your audiences can be creative and adventurous, and they might be considered unusual activity since they tend to be different from typical status quo marketing.

So, based on this definition of sexy, audience development is excitingly appealing.  We desire a bigger and better audience for our art and arts businesses.  It is glamorous since it has charm and is fascinatingly attractive due to how audience development is accomplished.  Audience development can be extremely exciting, especially when the energy builds to the point you can feel it surging.  It’s an incredible feeling for sure, the feeling of well executed audience development and the results you can achieve.

To be quite honest, all this word dissecting can be boiled down to semantics.  And, it also can be reduced to beliefs.  Regarding “audience development,” due to the successes I have had,  I choose to remain positive about it, and positively sure in my belief of how sexy it truly is.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists


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

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