Tag Archives: arts management

Do you know who your arts people are?

Quick thought for the day: Do you know who your arts people are in your neighborhood?  Are there people in your community that are artists from a previous life that you are not connecting with?  These are people that may have studied an art form previously and decided to do something else for their day jobs.  They might also be arts administrators now.

These types of people are out there, and it would be a fabulous idea to find them and make a special connection to them.  You see, I am one of these people.  I have a degree in music.  I know some people in my community know that I am one of the arts people, yet are they making an effort to invite me personally?  Very few are.  I usually attend when they extend this type of personal invitation too. 

Also, don’t forget the people that you have worked with in the past (and have left on good terms).  You could look up the history of who has worked at your organization in the past and rekindle the relationship. 

I know there are others like me in your community, people who have arts in their lives past and present that are not attending your events.  So, do yourself a huge favor and discover these people.  You may find them casually in a conversation at the grocery story or online when they comment on an arts article, or in your database of past employees.  Are you making note and following up with a more personal invite?  Let me know what happens when you make this an audience development effort!

-Shoshana

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Human algorithms and arts audience development

The latest and greatest idea is the use of algorithms (check out You’ve Cott Mail’s line-up)  to produce suggestions for our audiences based on what they have already purchased.  Amazon and Netflix formats are being worked on underground to become the next big thing for arts websites.  At first I was excited about the possibilities.  Finally, I thought, we will be able to increase exposure to the arts by suggesting more arts that will matter to our audience members!

Today, I am applying the breaks based on a “rebuttal” from Adam Huttler, Fractured Atlas’s founder and Executive Director.  He did bring up the fact that these computer based algorithms could go astray and make suggestions that make as much sense as a ballet purchaser being suggested a grunge concert (although, maybe that would work for some?).

When I was reading the “buts” about the new computer algorithm formats, I came up with a major one myself.  I replied on his blog post and will save some time by quoting myself here:

Algorithms could be quite useful, but in all the hub bub on this brilliant discovery, we seem to be forgetting that back in the day, the customer services, sales, box office staff used to suggest other offerings to their patrons based solely on knowing their audience member’s tastes personally. There are talented people that can serve as an algorithm if they would take the time to get to know their audience members and keep track of preferences in their databases. Old fashioned up-selling should not be ruled out in favor of a computer attempting to fill this void.

Are we again attempting to go by the lazy side and use computers to build our audiences for us?  The last time this happened, the online ticket purchase without needing to speak to or see someone from the arts organization, we experienced patrons falling through the cracks.  And now, the computer algorithm suggestions may not only have people falling through the cracks, but cracking up when the suggestions are ludicrously spit out.

Why do we keep attempting to save time and effort when time and effort is what we need to get back to?  Word of mouth is the best way to build an audience for an event.  We have surveys upon surveys that are proving this.  Word of mouth involves human interaction.  We trust our families, friends and colleagues.  Do we trust a computer interface when it artificially computes word of mouth?  Most of the time we laugh at it because it is yet another inhuman form of mass marketing in disguise.

We need to humanize the arts again.  Good old fashioned interaction – face to face, people to people.  The golden age of customer service can’t come back too soon for us.  People make the world go round.  People energy creates an idea and catapults it into becoming a reality.  I will put my money on the Human Algorithms every time, and if you want to build the best audiences for yourselves, I hope you will too.

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 management, Audience Development

Excuses for arts audience development?

Excuses, excuses. We may want to accomplish something, however, as humans, we also tend to make excuses.  We want to grow as individuals and artists, to better our art and organizations, yet we ourselves build road blocks to our success.  Silly humans!  So, I wanted to talk about two of the biggest excuses for why people do not start audience development planning and programs.  For my email subscribers, you will need to click on the web link to take you to the page to listen.

Any comments and feedback are appreciated.  Happy Monday to you too!

PS We are getting very close to announcing all of the 2013 offerings – stay tuned!

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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Focus is key for arts audience development

I have been thinking a great deal about focus.  In a conversation, I mentioned that what you focus on is what will come to life.  I also expressed how many non-profit executives are scattered when it comes to what is on their plate.

In my humble opinion, I feel that a majority of organizations and some artists have too much on their plates.  They feel everything is important, but what tends to happen with this mentality of spreading yourself thin?  You tend to do everything half-assed (excuse my crudeness).  Certain tasks end up falling through the cracks, and you can end up damaging important relationships, in addition to not seeing very good results overall.  Furthermore, if you have capacity issues, this will only add to the burden and staggering weight on the people involved and burn everyone to a crisp.

This spreading yourself thin can apply to the overall strategic planning for the year, how your staff and board functions, your programming in attempts to please everyone, etc., etc.  Spreading yourself thin is only going to deliver “thin” results.  Don’t you want fat, gargantuan, successful outcomes?

In order to get away from this mentality, some very difficult decisions need to happen.  You need to evaluate and prioritize and ultimately let some things go.  If you keep attempting to focus on everything, nothing big will really happen.  If you allow yourself to go through this, albeit difficult process, you will reap the benefits.

Here is a point by point example of what you will want to do:

  • Start with your mission – remind yourself who you are
  • Take a look at all that you have on your plate and get rid of the programs/projects that are not in alignment
  • Think about what you want to ultimately achieve – dream big – and pick one or two objectives for the year
  • Choose your audience development goals using this big picture
  • Plan out your audience development programs, in alignment with your mission and audiences, and implement over the year
  • Track and evaluate throughout the year and decide to change, carry over to next year, or replace with a different program if necessary

If you really want to develop a quality audience, figure out what is important to you, make sure it is aligned with your mission, who you are, and who your audiences are, and plan on focusing on a little at a time to get bigger results.  I am seeing that when artists and organizations use this laser like focus, amazing results are happening!

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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The changing face of classical music for arts audience development

Inspired by the article, The changing face of opera, posted in the Oxford University Press’ blog by Meghann Wilhoite, I give you my first mini-podcast for 2013.

Have a great weekend!

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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Resolution vs Commitment for arts audience development

I wanted to share a quick thought that has been on my mind lately.  There is a big difference between a resolution and a commitment.  I have mentioned this thought in passing, but now I want to expand upon it.

You may desire to build your audience.  You might also have a resolution this year, “I will build my audience by x% in 2013.”  However, if you do not make a commitment to take the actions necessary, the resolution will only be a desire, a want.

I view desires or wants as the seed for change, but without water and sunlight and a plan that you put into action to provide everything for that seed to grow, nothing will change.

For 2013, let’s you and I make commitments to take actions for the changes we desire and want.  Let’s create a plan and commit to bigger and better audiences.  Let’s commit to finding you the best audiences for you.

After all, commitment could be the 5th C of audience development, if you commit to it!

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, Audience Development

The Knights Who Say Niche for arts audience development

niche

noun

1. an ornamental recess in a wall or the like, usually semicircular in plan and arched, as for a statue or other decorative object.
2. a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one’s niche in the business world.
3. a distinct segment of a market.
4. Ecology . the position or function of an organism in a community of plants and animals.
adjective5. pertaining to or intended for a market niche; having specific appeal: niche advertising.

All Monty Python kidding aside, I would like to see more artists and arts organizations say niche.  I was looking at a theatre organization’s website yesterday, and despite the photos and marketing jargon being of a unique quality, the description and the overall look and feel of the organization did not separate them from everyone else.  In a time where it seems like there is an arts organization born every minute and a deep ended pool of individual artists of all kinds, having a niche should be mandatory.What makes you unique or different could make the difference in obtaining the right audiences for you and your art.  Taking the time, money and energy to create your niche brand is the best way to put your money and hard work to good use.  You can still be a theatre, orchestra, dance company, visual artist, film organization, etc., etc., without being exactly like another.  People will still recognize the type of art that you do, and they will also recognize why you are special in our world of art.

Take a look around you.  What arts brands stand out for you?  What arts organizations and artists grab the spotlight and are gaining the best audiences for themselves?  I assure you that these are the organizations and artists that are part of the fantastic group of The Knights Who Say Niche!

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

4 Comments

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development