Category Archives: arts management

Whose fault is it if there is no audience?

Happy Friday to you and happy first day of November.  I hope you had a fun Halloween.  I ended up dressing in my devil horns and going to our local Mexican restaurant that we love.  They were all dressed in costumes to the nines!  It was a fun evening.

Yesterday, I also had a conversation with a visual artist and an email from a storyteller.  The visual artist has published books about marketing art, yet despite blogging and putting some links online, he is not getting much of an audience (yes, I see the irony too).  He mentioned that he did go with a publisher, but they are not doing much for him.

The storyteller had a gig on Halloween at a local library.  It was a cold, wet, windy night, and no one showed up for the event. She ended up doing her stories for 3 librarians since she was already contracted.

So, in these two scenarios, whose fault is it that they didn’t have an audience, or a bigger audience?  You can blame the publisher and the library.  Right?  They were supposed to do the marketing for you, especially if it is a part of your contract with them.  You can blame the weather, although if it is cold, wet and windy, an inside gig would be a good thing, and it was free to the public.

I hope you don’t get too ruffled, but it is also the artists’ fault.  In this day and age, you can’t rely on someone else to do the work of audience building for you.  They simply do not care as much as you, even if they are being paid.  You are the one that wants an audience.  An audience or bigger audience will help them, but you are the one that really, really wants that audience!

Many individual artists mention that they don’t have the time.  However, I see many artists on social media networks just as much as the next person.  They also say they don’t think doing it on their own would work, yet they could build a team of people to support their efforts in spreading the word, just like anybody else.  I also hear they don’t have the money to hire someone to help them with audience development work.  I found out that a few resourceful artists have built a team of interns to help them get done what they need to do.  I do want to point out that some of these artists are paying for marketing ads and other services (such as online galleries that claim they will help sell your art).  If those avenues are not working for you, why not use those monetary resources for someone to help you with audience development instead?

The main point is, individual artists can build a team of support to do audience development, and for good effective audience development, you need a team.  And again, artists can reallocate the funds that they do have to be earmarked instead for audience development help.

No wonder the efforts of the publisher and library may have fallen flat. They most certainly didn’t have you 100% on their team, and you are needed as the number one team member.

Here’s what I am thinking.  When there is a will, there is a way.  And, whatever you focus on is what is going to happen.  If you focus on blaming the other person for not building you an audience, you are going to get more of this.  If you focus on figuring out ways within your means (and you do have means) to help build your audience, you will get an audience.  You, despite wanting to give this work to someone else, do need to be a big part of the team.

So decide what you really want to have happen and go for it.  The blame game will not get you an audience, but action on your part will.

Thoughts?  Cheers? Tomatoes? 

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

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

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“People don’t come because they don’t care.”

An article hit me in the face this morning.  Wham!

Arts: Misreading the declining audience problem

I needed it too.  Despite all the attempts to change the experiences to fit new audiences’ preferences, we do have an underlying problem that we should be focusing on.  Here are a few quotes from this article:

With the turning of the calendar now to September, orchestras and opera companies begin their new seasons and a simmering anxiety about declining audiences bedevils executives and their boards.

Inevitably some organizations act on the widespread but generally erroneous assumption that people don’t attend orchestra concerts because of the formalities of the concert hall, the ways in which patrons dress or behave or because the concert experience itself isn’t “diverse” enough.

Change of attitude

It’s not, however, the experience of attending an orchestra concert that needs modification, as if encouraging patrons to cheer and whistle between the movements of a symphony is all that’s needed for sell-outs. Rather, it’s the public attitude toward orchestral music that needs to be cultivated.

The decline comes not from the formalities of the concert hall experience, but from the erosion of the idea that classical music is worth knowing. People don’t come because they don’t care.

…It will require much more [than pop cross-overs and informal dress and presentation]. It will take a strong conviction that the effort is worth it and the courage to explain the ways in which orchestral music is more richly rewarding than some other musical forms. Such conviction however, is increasingly difficult in today’s egalitarian culture that insists all art forms are of equal value.

Absent that conviction, only the music that’s most aggressively and shamelessly marketed will get into the ears of children. And then not only orchestras will be the losers.

The article sites two instances of audience development efforts being executed successfully to outreach and connect with potential, new audience members.

The underlying issue is that people do not have the benchmark arts as part of their everyday lives anymore, and this is why they don’t care about us.  In order to get people to care, we need to care about taking the time and effort to outreach and show them why our arts matter, and why the arts would matter to them personally.

I have always felt that shifting the experiences and experimenting with new presentations can be used as a gateway to an art form.  As mentioned before, it could be time to evolve in several ways since our world is changing.  I do agree though that informal this and that may not do the trick if the underlying problem of apathy is still there.

This is one of the many reasons why audience development is crucial for today.  It’s not about the spin, it’s about getting people to care again, to realize that the arts can open them to a knew way of thinking and feeling.  It’s about the good stuff of why we are artists in the first place.  Sharing what really matters and outreaching to people that are ripe for this sharing is the way to go.

It’s about getting to know people again, building relationships, and sharing what truly matters, the arts!  So, although I feel it is time to experiment and potentially find some new rhythms of producing arts, it is more crucially important to reach and connect with people again.  This will make all the difference in the world because these efforts will bring care back into the equation.  We certainly want people to care about the arts again.  Right?

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  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, arts marketing, Audience Development

10 point plan on how to build relationships to build your support

It’s been a while, and I apologize for this, since I have given out some advice.  Audience development is all about building relationships in order to get more people to support you and your art form.  So how can we do this in a day and age that is less connected in live time?

Here is a little road map to get you started…

1. Take notice of the connections you have online.  Are you having conversations with them?  Start getting to know people by talking (tweeting) with them.  Get to a point where you start feeling a relationship blooming. If you feel you can work together or want to get to know them better, take steps to personalize your online connection.  For example, the people on Twitter I want to get to know better, I will invite them to my more personal accounts.

2. At meetings, be sure to trade business cards after having a good conversation.  Let them know you would be interested in having coffee/lunch sometime.

3. Follow up on your online/live conversations and follow through by emailing, direct contacting them, or pick up the phone to ask for a time to meet.  This means you are taking these new contacts to the next level.  If for some reason some contacts do not respond back, don’t worry.  It may just mean it is not the right time yet for that contact.

4. The ones that do respond, meet them for coffee/tea/lunch or a Skype/Hangout call if you are not in the same area.   Get to know each other further, and eventually talk about how you can support one another.

5. Follow up to thank them for the meeting and let them know you have been thinking about your conversation.  Are there collaborations or partnerships that can be discussed further?  This is the time to attempt a more concrete meeting.  Keep getting to know them personally and continue with step one until it naturally cycles around again.

6. Make plans to work together, do something together, etc.  This is where the relationship is at another new level.

7.  Keep the cycle going to deepen the relationship.   Be sure to have thank you stops along the way to show your appreciation.  Also, continue to help each other with advice and by being helpful when and where you can.

8. Think about the support you need.

9.  Start asking once you feel you are at a good point in your relationships.  You will know when it is the right time.

10. See the support add up! Continue to thank and be thankful.

You can have your board members and ambassador volunteers work on building relationships in this fashion with potential audience members, donors and sponsors, and watch what happens!  In fact, anyone that is a part of your arts business can help in this fashion.

Building relationships makes it easier to get the support you need since you will now be asking a friend, or at least a very friendly colleague.  The stronger the relationship, the easier the ask, and the more likely you will get the support you need.

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

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

My eBook

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

2 ways to skin a cat, but please don’t skin a cat!

There seems to be a rumbling about arts marketing lately.  There are people that believe that artists and arts organizations need to step up their game or hire someone else that has more experience.

Here is the latest of the rumblings:

Cincinnati Art Museum makes cuts

The Cincinnati Art Museum recently eliminated its design team, instead opting to use a Cincinnati marketing and design company to complete its projects.

Yes, this is one way to change and step up in the game of arts marketing, that is if the company that is hired is truly a player.  However, there is another way that will allow arts folks to keep their jobs.  It’s called education!

There are many ways an arts administrator, arts marketer, etc., can obtain education.  I see a variety of workshops, classes, and seminars that are being offered to get you started.  I also know of some fantastic consultants (wink) that can teach you how to build your audiences and market more effectively.

It saddens me that the people that are truly dedicated to the arts are being cut in favor of bigger corporate companies that are paid well to get the job done.  Except in cases where the employee is a complete yahoo, there seems to be a disconnect between wanting results and being loyal to the people that you employ.  You can have both.

Wouldn’t it be better if education was supplied to help these dedicated individuals flourish and get them up to speed instead of skinning a bunch of cats in favor of spending more money with a big corporate firm?

You may get results going with those big corporate firms, yet you might be hurting our industry by not investing those dollars in the people that care more about the arts in the first place.  Remember, these are the people that took the jobs despite the decreased nonprofit salaries.

You would also be helping all the educators, consultants and arts agencies that are supplying this form of education.  It’s time to start helping the people in our own industry to get the results we want.  Wouldn’t it be best to support our own while we help ourselves?

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

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

My eBook

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Be the change you want to see

Change2

As some of you may know, I am in the midst of a legal challenge with Getty Images.  I will write more about this in the future, since the knowledge will help others.

Today though, I have been thinking about all the support requests I receive.  There are so many crowd-fundraisers happening and so many requests to spread the word for an event, that I am starting to have my head spin.  Maybe I need an exorcist, but what I really would love to see happen is more collaborative efforts for helping each other out.

If you want more support for your art projects, it would be good if you helped others as well.  Here is a list of easy things you can do to be the change you want to see:

  • I follow a give 10% away rule for events and personal donations.  I feel it is good karma, and you become part of the community with this effort.
  • Help spread the word of other peoples’ events.  This will show the other people that you are a team player in your community!
  • Buy another artist’s art or go see a show that is not put on by your organization.  We all need audiences.  Being a part of their community will likely see a return that they will become one of yours.
  • Purchase books, webinars, and other educational resources from your respected consultants.  The consultants are here to lend everyone a hand, but will only remain helpful and in business if you help them too.
  • Donate to other art projects when you can.  I understand budgets are tight, but again, being the change and distributing the change you want to see will come back to you.
  • Be part of an arts solution team for your community.  If you want the community to help the artists, the artists can continue to be creative in helping the community.  They will sit up and take notice!

All of us need support.  In a world where more individuals are clamoring for attention and support, this being the change you want to see happen to you can cut through all the noise and make a huge difference!

If you have any other ideas, please feel free to post in the reply section for all to see.

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

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

My eBook

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

The uncomfortableness of old and new side by side?

My friend, Dale, sent me a thread to look at on Reddit: Going to my first symphony, what are some tips for my first experience?

This ongoing conversation has me thinking about traditions and their protocols.  The traditions with the respective protocols are generated by people.  People adopt these ways, and a status quo forms.

We are currently in the wave of changes in status quo and our traditions are being challenged.  I have mentioned traditions and status quo a few times now, but I have yet to explore it further than the thought that changes are happening and people are taking sides due to these changes.

Currently, I am thinking about the Amish way of life.  Back in the day, the majority of people churned their own butter, plowed the fields with horses and donkeys, sewed and washed their clothes by hand and built their own furniture.  When steam, gas, electricity, came into the picture, everything changed and the old way of living was put to rest, except in the places where people chose to continue to live the old traditional lifestyle.  We have pockets of the old among the new.  The Amish live a quiet life in a hidden pocket of our noisy society.  They are still in existence and have not died in the process of change.

I feel that we can have pockets of tradition to be side by side with the new.  The key is to figure out which end of the spectrum you choose to live in.  If you do decide to choose the old traditions, which is fine, be prepared to live in your pocket, your extreme niche.  You will still find an audience, yet it will be a smaller, more specific audience.  If you want to break out of the traditions, be prepared to risk, experiment, reach out to new audiences, and change with the times.

It doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.  We can complain about the new audiences and their disrespect for the old traditional way of presenting the arts, or we can choose to be comfortable and live in the direction that we decide is best.  Neither way is wrong.  It’s only a matter of choice!

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

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

My eBook

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Be an artist and a business for audience development

Tonight I will be giving a presentation on Audience Building for All and the Top 20 Tips for Increasing Everything.  If you are in the Boulder/Denver area, check it out and join me!  One of the points I will be discussing is the tip to be your artist self and be creative.  It is a little ironic that sometimes in attempts to appear business-like, we are ditching our creative selves and instead showing the world a version of us that is not really us. Rather we are projecting what we think people want or “expect” us to look like or be as a business.

An arts business is a business, yes, and we have to run the business like a business.  This, however, does not mean that we can’t have a little fun, that we can’t be our unique, visual, colorful selves.  In fact, the more we can show our true colors, the easier it will be to attract the right types of people for our audiences.   Think about the regular business world.  The companies that are standing out are using the arts to make them sparkle.  We need to be doing this too!

The good news, we are getting a little better at this.  I had done a quick study on orchestra and theatre company sites two years ago.  This first round of looking was a little dismal with similar, non-artsy sites.  Today, I am starting to see more individual personalities and more artistic natures in the redesigns.  Hurray!

This philosophy can be carried through to all that you do.  Is your artist self shining through? Is your marketing and branding specifically your artsy you? Do the visuals, colors, and messages you send out into the world speak your individual artistic language?  Do the letters you send out have your special tone of voice and artistic feel?  Do your programs have the creative spark that set you apart?  Buttom line, are you being your unique artistic self in everything that you do?

In the end, yes, we do want to appear professional, yet we also want to impress as the creative artists that we are.  This step will help you to stand out and gain the right audiences specifically for you.  It may also make you feel good and honor that being your crazy artist self in our inundated business world is a better way to go.

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

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

My eBook

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