Tag Archives: audience development vs. marketing

Audience development – follow up needed for visual artists

I am back from vacation and have been waiting for the next topic to come to me.  As I was having dinner with a colleague, the discussion turned to the lack of audience development for visual artists, or rather visual artists are not using audience development.  The conversation continued with my thoughts about how visual artists typically conduct business, and the main component that is lacking is building relationships after an initial connection has been made.  Many artists know how to market their events now.  They do get people to come to their events; some of them do quite well with numbers in the door.  If you want to get to the next level, a successful art business, you need audience development.

Perhaps visual artists are not as people oriented as other types of artists, but learning to follow up can be the single skill that will build your audience.  Let me give you some personal examples.

I visited about 10 different artists during our Open Studios tour last year.  I was interested in finding some new art to liven up a blank space area I had in the hallway.  I narrowed it down to about three artists I really enjoyed and had art within my budget.  After some thought, I chose my top artist.  I arranged a time to purchase after the event, had a brief conversation, signed her guest book, and went home happily with my new paintings.  The artist has my phone number, address and email.  She has not followed up with me.  As far as the other 9 artists, none of them have contacted me either, despite having my basic contact information.

The second scenario takes place at another art studio tour event.  I was very drawn to a particular photograph.  Unfortunately, the artist did not have the size I was looking for.  She said she could make it available in the size I wanted. I gave her one of my cards so she could contact me.  The event took place in June, and I have yet to hear from her.  Perhaps since it was my business card she hesitated, but maybe follow up was not a part of her business plan.

The third example, I happen to have many artist friends.  Some of them have new shows happening in the area.  Not one of these friends has sent me an invitation to their event personally.

Jazz by Linus Maurer (not what we purchased)

Lastly and definitely the best example, when I was in the Sonoma County area, I came across the Gallery of Glen Ellen that exhibits works of Linus Maurer.  When you think of Linus you think of Charlie Brown’s best friend.  This is the real live Linus, Charles Schultz’s friend and colleague.  We were not able to purchase one of the main paintings, but we did purchase a small drawing out of his drawings bin.  The gallery owner told us to give her our address.  Linus, no matter how much money the drawing/painting is, will respond with a personal note.  I was skeptical, but we did give her our address.  Lo and behold, about a month later, Linus wrote us a personal message with another little drawing, thanking us and wishing us much enjoyment of our new art piece.  Our names and specific art piece were in the message with his signature and date.  There is a drawing of him creating the drawing we purchased.  It was amazing!   I was completely blown away, and we are on hunt for our next Linus Maurer! Funny how despite the recognition Linus already has, he was the one artist that did follow up with us.

I am finding that it is very rare when an artist does follow up. I know that visual artists (and artists in general) rather spend their time in the studio working on their art.  The day to day business tasks are not what makes them tick.    However, if you want people to enjoy and purchase your art, if your art is for others and not just for yourself, meaning you want to share your gifts, then connecting and following up are crucial.  You want to automatically follow up with people especially if they show you they are interested in your work and most especially to thank them after they have purchased.  It’s a no brainer.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com
Facebook/twitter /E-mazing Newsletter /Blog

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

New Services!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

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Top 3 excuses I hear for not attempting audience development

I have been hearing a variety of excuses why some organizations and artists are not using audience development.   In this blog, I would like to take the time to provide answers for the top three excuses.

1. I am an individual artist so I do not need audience development.
Audience development is for anyone and everyone that needs support.  If you need a fan base, volunteers, donors, patrons, board members, people to help spread the word, you need audience development.  Audience development is about building relationships with people that will want to support your art.  It is about building positive people energy, or a community, that will surround your art to help you build more support.

2. I do not have the money or capacity to implement an audience development plan.
Most people do not realize that audience development helps build funding and capacity to support your art form.  The real problem here is that there is a need of shifting from old methods to newer methods.  If you were to take a look at what you are spending your time and money on, I am willing to bet that you will find old methods that are not worth funding or spending time on anymore.  Then you can shift these resources to an audience development plan that will build more support and start you on a more successful path.

3.  I already have marketing, why do I need audience development?
If you are in need of a bigger and better audience, then perhaps marketing alone is not working.  Marketing is about hoping to target individuals that will want to take part in your art.  Audience development is about learning who these individuals are, reaching out to them, and building relationships with these people that you know will want to take part in your art.  I hope you see the difference.

I see there is a need for education, so I am attempting to complete my book by this December.  I am also available for workshops, seminars and phone sessions.  Please feel free to get in touch with me when you are ready to take the audience development plunge!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com
Facebook/twitter /E-mazing Newsletter /Blog

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

New Services!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

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Butts in seats and Audience Development

I have lightly touched upon this subject before, but I felt it was good timing for me to approach it again.  I was recently contacted by an organization that is in need of filling their seats, “we need butts in seats!”   They needed someone who could guarantee butts in seats in order to make their sponsors happy.  I completely understand the bottom line.  Funding is necessary to continue their program.  However, fulfilling the bottom line does not guarantee that the bottoms they are filling it with will return again.

Butts in seats is not audience development.  Butts in seats is a series of short term marketing pushes to paper the house.  Butts in seats can bring short term rewards like creating the facade that you are successful in filling the house, but in the long term, you are actually taking the focus away from building an audience that will commit to you and your art form.  The % of your butts for these types of consuming initiatives (time and money) is low to return.

Audience development is a long term initiative (takes time, but less money); it is about building relationships with the right people.  This focus will build your audience and fill the seats with people that not only will want to come back time and again, but are likely to become more involved with your art and organization by subscribing, volunteering and donating.  It may take more time to build, but it is well worth it.  In the end, you won’t need to work as hard since all of those never ending bursts of costly marketing pushes will become more and more unnecessary as you go along.

Furthermore, your art form took years to perfect.  Wouldn’t it be wise to approach something as important as building the right audience with the same diligence?

However, in my current search for opinions, I have come across a most interesting blog entry.  This blog is from March 19, 2007; the challenge of defining audience development is not a brand new one.  Jim Morris who was then the executive director of the Central Florida Performing Arts Alliance (now the Arts & Culture Alliance of Central Florida), succinctly discusses the difference between butts in seats and audience development, coming to this conclusion:

“The beauty is that by working together, both with attempting to fill seats to maintain the bottom line (arts organization role) and on audience development (Alliance role) through new collective initiatives our whole community will gain. That is where the real bottom line of producing art becomes more than just a commodity or widget to be promoted. It becomes a part of the completion to being human.”

I invite you to read the entire blog.

So perhaps butts in seats can serve a purpose, but the organization would get a little behind if it is not accompanied by audience development.  The short term and the long term can be accomplished together.  Bottom lines and people with bottoms will both be happy!

For further reading about butts in seats and audience development:

Invitation to the party: building bridges to the arts, culture and community, By Donna Walker-Kuhne

Beyond Butts in Seats: Building an Elite Program (not an article about the arts, but still valid)

Black like me (a very powerful blog entry about butts in seats and diversity)

Way beyond butts in seats

Until next time, may your audiences be happy and loyal ones, and if they are not, feel free to contact me!

~Shoshana~

Shoshana Fanizza is the founder of Audience Development Specialists. Her mission is to introduce artists and arts organizations to their existing and potential audiences and to help them to form more rewarding relationships.

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

Audience Development Specialists’ Facebook Page! for up-to-date news and information about audience development!
or if you prefer Twitter: http://twitter.com/AudienceDevSpec

Audience Development Blog

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A good resource for audience development!

Dear Arts Community,

I am straying from my regularly scheduled format to let you know about a great audience development resource.  It’s an audience development resource that has been around for almost 2 years, has been in the arts management business for over a decade, and has been in the non-profit trenches for over 15 years.  What is this helpful and supportive resource?  It’s me!

Yes, I am an audience development resource that has yet to be fully tapped.  I have been hired by a handful of artists and arts organizations that have been willing to take the leap towards audience development in order to build their better audience.  So far, each of my clients have enjoyed increased audiences by an average of 30-50%, increased monetary resources (from sales and funding),  and increased publicity and word of mouth.

Even though I have a good track record, many people are still hesitant to take the leap from the typical every day to the new audience development way.  Maybe it’s because many of you do not know why audience development is different and maybe you do not know how well it works.  The following is an outline of what I would do for you if you were my client:

1. We look at your branding, but with an audience development eye.  I help you  to define or redefine who you are so you will be able to explain better to your audiences what you are about quickly and visually.  We also look at your existing  audiences – diving into the demographics and psychographics.  Then we figure out what the messages and visuals should be.  I want to make sure everyone knows how unique you are, to stand out so the right audiences can find you easily.  If needed, focus groups and surveys are used to help with this process.

2. We then explore more about your existing and potential audiences.  Who are these people?  What are their personalities like?  We help define who these people are.  This will help us to map out what we need to do and where we need to go to reach your best audience.  If you do not know your audiences, we take the steps to find out about them.   Again, focus groups and surveys can be helpful.

3.  We look at your existing connections and collaborations, your community, and we figure out who among this community is the best for certain types of support for your organization.

4. Next comes the plan – creating and implementing audience relations programs to build relationships with your existing and potential audiences.  We use your connection list that we created in step 3 to make it happen.  The best case scenerio is to make sure your plan covers all of the 4 C’s (Connections, Collaborations, Community, Caring) of audience development.

5.  Last step is to evaluate everything that has happened for the season.  We would tweak a few things for next year and pat ourselves on the back for increased audiences, sales and funding!

I have decided to run a special for 5 hours of my services.  You can use the 5 hours any way you like.  I can get a lot done in 5 hours!  So here is the special:

Book 5 hours of my services by September 30th, and you will receive these 5 hours for the low rate of $225! Yes, only $225!  That’s less than most marketing ads.  If interested, you can contact me through my website at www.buildmyaudience.com.

In five hours I can:

  • Help you figure out who you are and who your audience is.  – Or-
  • Help you format a specific audience relations program – Or-
  • Teach you about audience development – this option is great for the do-it-your-selfer’s -Or-
  • Support you in fundraising efforts  – I am experienced with event, individual and corporate fundraising – Or-
  • Create a bigger and better volunteer program – Or-
  • Brainstorm with you ideas for a better future – Or-
  • Help you figure out your best connections, collaborations, and how to build a sense of community around your art and organization – Or-
  • Create a thank you/stewardship program – Or-
  • Help get your board and fundraising team energized…

…The possibilities for what we can do in 5 hours is endless!  I am an idea person, and  I have never walked away from a consultation without the words “That’s a good idea!” being mentioned. If this is said in only one hour of working with me, imagine what 5 hours could bring…

So if you want a bigger and better audience, an audience that will be happy and loyal, you have the opportunity to work with me to build the right audience for you.   The knowledge about audience development will open a new world to you.  Each step that is made using audience development not only adds up to better audiences for you, but a better outlook for the arts in general.

Thank you for your consideration.  I’m here and ready to work with you!

Until next time, may your audiences be happy and loyal ones, and if they are not, feel free to contact me!

~Shoshana~

Shoshana Fanizza is the founder of Audience Development Specialists. Her mission is to introduce artists and arts organizations to their existing and potential audiences and to help them to form more rewarding relationships.

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

Audience Development Specialists’ Facebook Page! for up-to-date news and information about audience development!
or if you prefer Twitter: http://twitter.com/AudienceDevSpec

Audience Development Blog

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The 5th C in Audience Development!

Last night I did an hour consultation meeting with the Colorado Wind Ensemble.  I quickly explained about the 4 C’s of audience development: community, collaborations, connections, and caring. While speaking to them, a 5th C came up: Courage.

Audience development takes courage for many reasons.  For one, you need the courage to be able to take the steps to build relationships with people.  Building relationships takes a bit of moxy.  You need the courage to ask someone to have a cup of coffee with you.  It takes courage to mingle and to ask people questions to get to know them better.

Secondly, it takes courage to ask your connections to help you.  Many people have trouble asking their friends and family for help and figure they don’t want to bother them.  They spend their time attempting to network with people they barely know and ask them for help.  That’s what networking is about, right?  However, think about who cares about you and who wants you to succeed in life – your friends and family!  Not asking your friends and family to volunteer, donate, connect you with a good connection is like cutting yourself off from your main life support.  Get over your personal discomforts and get up the courage to ask your friends and family for help.  You will find a better network of relationships naturally building for you to help build support for your art.

Lastly, it takes courage to try something new and different than what we have been doing all along.  Audience development is a new way of building your audience; it is different than the typical marketing and networking that we have learned to work with over the past few decades.  Build up the courage to take the risk and try audience development.  Move some of your marketing budget to an audience development line and start creating audience relations programs.  I can guarantee you that the time and efforts and the small amount of money you give to audience development will build your audiences, your volunteer base, your donor support.  One of the number one reasons people go to art functions is through a suggestion from a friend or family member.  I am seeing that these numbers are equaling or adding up to be more than marketing and publicity put together.  Audience development, the personal, one-on-one approach to spreading the word works!

So, what are you so afraid of?  Use the 5th C of audience development to take you to the next level.  Take the risks to build a better audience using good old fashioned courage, and you will see a world of support unfold for you.

Until next time, may your audiences be happy and loyal ones, and if they are not, feel free to contact me!

~Shoshana~

Shoshana Fanizza is the founder of Audience Development Specialists. Her mission is to introduce artists and arts organizations to their existing and potential audiences and to help them to form more rewarding relationships.

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

Audience Development Specialists’ Facebook Page! for up-to-date news and information about audience development!

Audience Development Blog

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Is audience development “marketing” in disguise?

Last week I had an interesting discussion about whether or not the term “audience development” was simply a new term for something old, “relationship marketing.”

Wikipedia defines relationship marketing as:

Relationship marketing is a form of marketing developed from direct response marketing campaigns conducted in the 1970s and 1980s which emphasizes customer retention and satisfaction, rather than a dominant focus on point-of-sale transactions.

Relationship marketing differs from other forms of marketing in that it recognizes the long term value to the firm of keeping customers, as opposed to direct or “Intrusion” marketing, which focuses upon acquisition of new clients by targeting majority demographics based upon prospective client lists.

The practice of relationship marketing has been facilitated by several generations of customer relationship management software that allow tracking and analyzing of each customer’s preferences, activities, tastes, likes, dislikes, and complaints. For example, an automobile manufacturer maintaining a database of when and how repeat customers buy their products, the options they choose, the way they finance the purchase etc., is in a powerful position to develop one-to-one marketing offers and product benefits.

It is organized around processes that involve all aspects of the organization. In fact, some commentators prefer to call relationship marketing “relationship management” in recognition of the fact that it involves much more than that which is normally included in marketing.

Martin Christopher, Adrian Payne, and David Ballantyne | [3]at the Cranfield School of Management claim that relationship marketing has the potential to forge a new synthesis between quality management, customer service management, and marketing. They see marketing and customer service as inseparable.

Relationship marketing involves the application of the marketing philosophy to all parts of the organization. Every employee is said to be a “part-time marketer”. The way Regis McKenna (1991) puts it:

“Marketing is not a function, it is a way of doing business . . . marketing has to be all pervasive, part of everyone’s job description, from the receptionist to the board of directors.”

I have to admit that from the above definition, audience development certainly uses relationship marketing, however, and a big however at that, audience development is, in my opinion, so much more.  Audience development has a specific task attached to it – developing an audience.  Yes, it uses the building of relationships to do this, but the specific task of moving the audience member from a one-time interest to a happy and loyal and involved patron is what sets audience development apart from the generic relationship marketing.

The fact that the definition of relationship marketing goes on to suggest that the main benefit is “to develop one-to-one marketing offers and product benefits,” separates audience development from relationship marketing even more.  Audience development is not used simply to be able to market one-on-one, but to actually get to know the patrons in order to build a sense of partnership, to get the patron involved (not just a customer of).  Also, audience development is not just about relating to the patron one-on-one, but serves to establish relationships between patron and patron.  Audience development builds a sense of community among all the patrons, something that relationship marketing does not do.

Lastly, relationship marketing seems to be a means to obtain a customer and to keep a customer, while with audience development this goal is still the after thought, what naturally happens.  The goal of true audience development is the relationship.  Treating the customer as a friend is relationship marketing.  Making  friends for life is audience development.

All in all, audience development uses the “relationship” part of relationship marketing, but doesn’t necessarily use the “marketing” part.  To me, audience development is a unique entity all its own and something well worth pursuing.

Until next time, may your audiences be happy and loyal ones, and if they are not, feel free to contact me!

~Shoshana~

Shoshana Fanizza is the founder of Audience Development Specialists. Her mission is to introduce artists and arts organizations to their existing and potential audiences and to help them to form more rewarding relationships.

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

Audience Development Specialists’ Facebook Page! for up-to-date news and information about audience development!

Audience Development Blog

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Audience development – Shift from monetary goals to connecting with people through your art!

I joined a forum that is addressing audience development head on.  I am realizing more and more about the shift that is needed.  The encouraging news is that there are some people on this forum that seem to get it, people like Kelly Tweeddale of Seattle, WA.  I have been admiring her comments due to the fact that they are pointing to the need to build relationships and the time that is necessary to do this.

Here is her most recent post that I admired:

“This may seem counter to traditional marketing theory, but we have just gone through an exercise to purposely de-monetize the discussion of audience development.  Too many times we let the real and pressing budget and financial needs drive the strategies.  If we are really earnest about attracting, engaging, and connecting, we must exercise the patience to let a community develop without the almighty transaction being forced down their throat.  As much as the naysayers of the early internet said that free content would never monetize, it has proven that over time it has.  In our organization’s case we have begun to define what behavior and impact we are looking for and measuring that.  As a complementary adjunct, we are also making access to transaction and sales as easy and seamless as possible.  It is currently a leap of faith, but it does allow different thinking to occur when you make the financial transaction an outcome rather than the goal.”

I completely agree with Kelly. Patience is needed to allow a community to build. Relationships are not built overnight.

“It is currently a leap of faith, but it does allow different thinking to occur when you make the financial transaction an outcome rather than the goal.”

This is such a wonderful statement. It’s almost as if many of us are forgetting why we are in the arts in the first place. Is it simply about making money or is it about connecting with people through our art (with the financial transaction being along for the ride)? I understand that it takes money to produce art, but people are not going to support art due to the monetary needs. They are going to support it due to the emotional and spiritual connections, the relationships with the art and the artists. I do believe a major shift needs to occur. We need to find a way to make the arts valuable again.

The reason the arts were valuable in the past (pre-19th Century especially) was because people did feel connected to it. It wasn’t about the money in those days. It was about the participation, the value of the arts for our culture, the community feel between the audience and the artists. We were in it together back then. The audience was not in the dark. Instead, they were a major part of the production in every part of the production. It wasn’t a solo for us to view, it was a concerto for all of us to perform.

So the shift from artist vs. audience to artist working with audience needs to happen. The shift from monetary goals to the goals of connecting with our art needs to happen. The shift from mass marketing to audience development (relationship building) needs to happen. These shifts will help create the win-win situation that we vastly need to keep the arts healthy and alive.

We are in an age where people crave to connect and participate. Engage this need and the arts will thrive.

Until next time, may your audiences be happy and loyal ones, and if they are not, feel free to contact me!

~Shoshana~

Shoshana Fanizza is the founder of Audience Development Specialists. Her mission is to introduce artists and arts organizations to their existing and potential audiences and to help them to form more rewarding relationships.

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

Audience Development Specialists’ Facebook Page! for up-to-date news and information about audience development!

Audience Development Blog

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