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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Filed under arts marketing, Audience Development

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

1 Comment

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