Category Archives: arts marketing

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.***

My eBook

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Halloween YouTube Kinda Mood 2013

Happy Halloween!  Halloween is the second biggest holiday of the year, yet there were few videos to choose from. I did happen to find some good ones.  I hope you get into the scary act next year, and for now, enjoy:

Visit our YouTube Channel!

-Shoshana

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Your website and your audiences

I just finished reading the article Three Ways the Role of Your Website Has Changed. Is Your Nonprofit Keeping Up?

The major reason why websites may not work in your favor is when you build it to be all about what you want and need and not about your audiences’ wants and needs.

One of my favorite audience development quotes is:

Your audience gives you everything you need. They tell you.
There is no director who can direct you like an audience.

-Fanny Brice

When building a website, make sure you have an audience panel to judge it for you.  Have them run through the website to give you feedback on what they like and what is missing for them.  If your website does not provide the information needed and wanted from an audience perspective, why bother having it?

Your audience can direct you to be the best you can be for them, which will translate into more audiences for you.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Buying my eBook will help you and me!

PS We are starting to dry out, and we have hopes to rebuild our living area next week.  In the meantime, consider donating to my campaign for funding to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.  Thank you for your support!

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The Moment – Using the moment to build audiences

After a conversation with Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont, a pianist from Brussels, he touched upon the concept of the moment being a core reason why people attend a concert. Has classical music (and the arts) been ignoring this important reason? This was my thinking out loud session about using the moment to build audiences. Thanks, Pierre-Arnaud!

Head to Pierre-Arnaud’s website for more of his brilliant thinking:
www.pierre-arnaud-dablemont.com/

Email subscribers, you will have to click on the link to take you to the blog post.  Thanks so much!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

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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

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 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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Rebooting and gifting

I have been reading a book by Catherine Allen called Reboot Your Life.  Apparently, I am not taking time off the right way.  She suggests that we go through 4 phases in order to guarantee we gain from our sabbatical.  Here are the 4 phases:

Phase 1: Clearing out – Take time to clean your life from all the physical, mental and emotional clutter that has accumulated over the years.

Phase 2: Reconnecting – Reconnect with yourself and others to discover who you are at this moment in time.

Phase 3: Exploring – Take time to research and explore all the different possibilities for your next chapter in life.

Phase 4: Re-entering – This is the transition phase back into the mainstream.  Tasks like sprucing up your resume and focusing, planning your next goal to make it happen.

I have been officially off since April 13th.  In this time, I went from phase 1 to phase 2 and 3 and back again to phase 1 instead of allowing myself to naturally go through each phase.  I think I have flunked out of sabbatical school!  Seriously though, it has been challenging for me to let go in order to have the time needed to recharge and regroup.  I still feel a little burnt out despite my one month off, and probably because I’m not allowing enough time off before getting back to it.

Right now I am researching and exploring other business options, but after a conversation with my new friend, Ron Evans, I think I may need to start researching for what is going to make me happy and fulfilled.  I have been getting this piece of advice in different forms.  “Think of yourself first this time.” or “Think about what you want to have happen to make yourself happy.”  The advice is all coming from a place I am not very familiar with.  Most of my life has been spent helping others achieve their goals.  Taking time to explore what I want and need?  Well, easier said than done, but well worth shifting to this way of thinking if I can.

So, yes, this month I have discovered that I am a little out of balance at the moment.  There has been too much giving and not enough receiving.  The good news is that I have been working on the receiving part of the equation through a strangely, oddly, never would have thought about it exercise.  I have been reading the book 29 Gifts by Cami Walker and started my own round of giving for 29 Days.  For someone who naturally gives, I don’t have a problem with coming up with gifts.  Often, I can simply record what I already do during my normal days.  What this exercise is doing for me, it is making me focus on my gifts to acknowledge that what I give is a gift.  It is also teaching me gift giving boundaries.

GiftFlowersThe book mentions that the Universe will provide and you will start receiving during this process.  I can happily say that I have been receiving in weird and wonderful ways.  Gifts of advice from others have popped into my life.  We received a free dumping fee at the waste disposal depot since they forgot to weigh us at the initial weighing station (should have just said it was a free dump which I happily yelled during the fact, “We got a free dump!”).  I was gifted a free plant at my favorite garden nursery.  I also am realizing how much giving my friends and family naturally do too. I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of the month.  I am half way through this round.

What this all comes down to, after giving myself to the arts my entire life, maybe I need to focus on the arts giving back to me and take time to recharge through my own artistic goals and plans as well as partaking in arts events without any work objective.

I sometimes write about how we get hung up on the negatives and forget how lucky we are to have all the positives in our lives.  One post in particular comes to mind about losing and gaining our passion.  We can all stand to enjoy ourselves more and focus on the positives in our lives by stepping back and giving ourselves time to recharge, rethink and to find our current passions.

The one decision I have confirmed is I no longer want to be a consultant in the same sense as before.  This means that ADS will be different or replaced by another business, job, or path.  As I mentioned to Ron in my conversation, I will always be an advocate for the arts, but I now know that I have to be more of an advocate for myself.

Time off will continue with spotty posts for a little while longer.  I’m allowing everything to unfold in due time.  Thanks for listening, and I know you, dear reader, are a gift as well.

Shoshana

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Going in circles or Artsitis

Artsitis – Will you work for the cure?

I feel the arts are a bit dis-eased.  Budget cuts, shrinking audiences, and other gloom and doom that hits the news regularly are casting a murky illness over what we could be doing to better the situation.  I have good news and bad news.  Which would you like first?  The bad news?

The bad news is that the majority in our industry have Artsitis with the nasty symptoms of going in circles, feelings of paralysis, and whoa as me pox.  The symptoms worsen with each focus on the negative and each complaint about what is going wrong, which leads to migraines and nervous breakdowns.  This group of arts folks keep bashing out the what is wrong scenario.  They hire expensive research teams to calculate and articulate what is wrong and what should be done, over and over again.  They attempt to paint a different picture to funders while doing the same clunky, tired out programs.  The puss builds and oozes, the germs spread, the infection infects, particularly in bigger gathering places, where frequent Artsitis outbreaks have been documented.  You see, the shoulds and all the talk about the problems add up to more dis-ease.

This dis-ease makes my skin itch and my brain twitch.  I am sick with concern that as an industry, we are heading in the wrong direction and/or moving at such a snail pace that life will run us over and bury us in its dust.

The good news, which is desperately needed to ease the pain, there is a cure for Artsitis and some artists and arts organizations have already been applying the dosage.  It’s called audience development in all its varying forms:

  • Research that focuses on solutions that turns into programs for building your audience
  • Technology formats that engage, educate and inform your audiences
  • Outreach projects with the intention of starting relationships with people that are not attending
  • Social media which is social
  • Diversity programs that bring people of varying cultures together
  • Fundraising projects that get the audiences involved

I could go on and on.  In order to be effective, what do all of these audience development points have in common?  Focused planning and committed action.  Instead of contracting Artsitis, going in circles, and applying bandages of conversation, action (the antidote) is being taken. There are examples out there of people experimenting with their dosage in order to get to what works to cure their dis-ease.

Artsitis is making us turn blue (and green with envy of those already working toward their cure), and making us feel blue about our industry.  We feel panicked and out of control.  We feel fear that we don’t have enough time to turn things around.  Misery loves company, so we talk and talk and talk about what needs to happen, what needs to shift, instead of actually doing something about it.

Maybe we all (myself included) need to take a big dose of reality medicine and realize that if we don’t start taking action to make the changes, Artsitis will eventually kill us.  Strikes and bankruptcies galore.  This is not the arts world I would like to envision.

Aren’t you tired of going in circles or moving at a speed that is easily passed by?  I know I am.  So, I will be taking a huge dose in the coming month of April.  I am taking time to evaluate, research and plan for the next phase, and then action will happen at an experimental speed!  We all can take this dose of medicine any time we want.  There is no shame in taking the time out to mentally and physically prepare for action. In May, I will shift to action.  I admit that I have contracted a little bit of Artsitis, and now it is time to cure what is ailing me.

It’s the action, in the end, that will cure Artsitis after all.   Will you help me work for the cure?

What action are you taking to build relationships with your audiences?  Let’s talk about solutions!

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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Copy and pasting for arts audience development???

I hope you had a nice weekend!  I found this weekend to have a common theme that I wanted to share with you.  The concept of copy and paste and how it is affecting our artistry, audience development, and the future of arts administration.

I started off the weekend reading The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamine Zander.  I am about 2/3 into this book, and it offers a fresh perspective on how to relate to people with a broader mind and more creative agenda.  It starts out with an example of 9 dots in a box formation, and you are asked to connect all the dots in one line (without lifting your pen/pencil).  The solution is not forthcoming if you confine yourself to this box.  You have to go beyond the borders in order to accomplish the task, and the line (spoiler alert) does not form a box in the end, but a triangle.

I also went out to dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  She is a professor at our local university.  She was mentioning the challenge of presenting her work without using a PowerPoint presentation and instead relaying the information in a more visual way.  She is a believer that her students will learn more with this visual aspect, that they will absorb more by really listening and paying attention.  She received complaints on her feedback from the students.  60% wanted her to go back to her typical PowerPoint.  They wanted everything point by point.  They wanted the .pdf of the presentation. They do not want to “waste time” listening and attempting to create the lesson in their own words.  They are afraid of missing what will be on future tests.

We had a big discussion about how education is becoming a copy and paste function instead of a creative learning process.  With all the standardized testing formats, the PowerPoint bullet presentations, there is no outlet for students to take a concept and run with it.  Instead, they feel uncomfortable going beyond the box and would rather copy and paste the content to get the grade.  Getting the grade and graduating is the objective, not learning and creating for themselves.

If graduate level education has resorted to this copy and paste mentality, we are certainly heading toward a slippery down slope for propagating the next generation of creative minds. This also will most certainly present problems for the up and coming arts administrators in our future.  We are already starting to see the Arts, in terms of audience development and marketing, falling into this same copy and paste mode, despite the fact that we are the creatives in our world.

There are still a few among us that are generating new content and new ways of outreaching to our audiences, but I see a great deal of “buzz words” and “buzz programs” being copied and pasted.  Despite the original idea being sound, this will not increase our audiences because one size does not fit all.  You can take a program from one area, and it may not work when recreating this same program for another area.  Copying and pasting will not work for us.  We all have different audiences, unique people that are attending our events.  We need to get beyond the copy and paste mentality to create our own specific programs in order to build our individual audiences.

To me, this is a slightly worse scenario than the templates I had mentioned before.  At least with a template, you can tweak it a bit to fit your own needs.  With copy and paste, there is no individuality at all.  Our audiences are being subjected to another audiences’ ideal, not their own.

So, yes, I am concerned about the future of arts and education if the copy and paste mentality becomes the norm.  The only way we can get out of this box is if the arts leaders of today start creating outside of this box themselves.  I do hope that they will!

Thoughts?

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