Tag Archives: audience

#Auddev chat, Thursday, October 11 at Noon ET on Twitter for arts audience development

I wanted to make sure you were all invited to the #auddev chat we will be having this Thursday:

Audiences’ Preferred Connections
Co-host Cindy Marie Jenkins, L.A.’s own Storyteller/Outreach Nerd, and I will be conducting a chat about audiences and how they prefer to connect with us. So dig up your latest surveys and let’s chat about our findings!

We mainly will be discussing the various questions we tend to ask on surveys, and what information are we finding out about our audiences.  Are these the right questions to ask?  What do we need to know?

I feel many of our surveys do not find the answers we are most in need of, which is knowing how our audiences want to connect with us.  How are they finding their information now?  What drives them to buy a ticket?  How do they want to participate?  What makes them feel engaged?  What makes them want to come back?  What are the main reasons they may not come back?

It’s time to go beyond the general demographics and get to know our audiences’ preferences.  So, join us as we discuss these questions!  You’re invited!

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

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.***

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Is audience development for the arts the answer?

I have noticed that when I post tweets about arts organizations that are going bankrupt, I always tag it #auddev needed.  I know some people are questioning this and feel it better to attribute the downfall of these organizations to simply bad management.  Why would I continue to shout out about audience development?

To me, audience development is not just a method or technique of arts management, but an entire philosophy about how to run a business today.  In an age where crowdsourcing and social media are popular, the days of us dictating art are no longer valid.  Our business models of producing, marketing and fundraising without thoughts of our audiences are unraveling.  It is not wise to fall back on old business practices, and instead, it is better to be creative, engaging and involving with the people around us.

Some of us believe that the invention of the light bulb changed the arts from inclusive to entitled.  Elitism crept in to the point that the (benchmark) arts are not perceived as for everyone.  All of a sudden, the masses are not supporting the arts, and we have tiny niche markets that have developed due to this, well, development.

Audience development, true audience development, can change the way an arts business functions due to one very big reason.  Audience development is inclusive and focuses on partnering with audiences.  It is a team philosophy that not only includes everyone on your staff, all your volunteers, donors and sponsors, but it also includes your audiences.  This means that everyone will be on the same page working to support your business.

For producing and marketing, this is far different than simply placing an ad that professes (from your spinning marketing team) that your show is “something for everyone!” “spectacular!” “other marketing byte here!”  Instead, when partnering with your audiences, you can incorporate their perspective beforehand instead of attempting to sell something that they might not enjoy in ways that will be ignored.  A flop from the start is rather expensive to work with.  Wouldn’t it be better to produce something that has more promise?

In regard to fundraising, your audiences will help you to raise the money since they are a part of your team.  Your board members and staff will now have added energy to keep them going too. Everyone that is a part of your team will be helping to raise money for your business.  This team mentality for fundraising makes more sense than the “we are great, give us money,” shouted by a few people, views of old.  Plus, with all the people power combined, you can brainstorm new ways of asking for money.  Let’s face it, annual campaign letters have become trite and disposable.  You need to turn some heads and inspire some hearts!

I do hear one concern which I will quickly address. I am not saying that the audiences are now in charge.  You still have artistic license and the ability to create your own strategic plans.  The difference is, you will no longer be creating in the dark after knowing your audiences.  With this philosophy, you will be able to take more risks and produce new work that will have more of a chance of being successful. Your programming, marketing and fundraising can become fresh again.

If you are squeamish about this new way of producing art, and you rather be the sole creator without any feedback, perhaps use audience development to build the right audiences that will enjoy your art – find the best audiences for you!  Please do use audience development for your marketing and fundraising though in any case since you still need a team for support.

So, is audience development the answer? It does sound like audience development can promise the moon and the stars, and in a sense, it can.  With hard work and determination to build relationships and build your team of community support, I see a brighter future for the arts despite the light bulb.

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.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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Filed under Arts funding, arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising

CRM: Who are we kidding? Arts Audience Development

Today is Wednesday, and you know what this means – guest blog post day!  Today we have a post from Lisa Baxter, Founder and Director of The Experience Business. She recently wrote a post that caught my attention that I would like to share with you.  Enjoy!

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Customer Relationship Management: Pulling the wool over our own eyes

12 Apr 2012

I was chatting with the Marketing Manager of a regional producing theatre the other day. The subject of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) came up. When I asked what they were doing to develop relationships with their first-time bookers, this was the answer (I’ve captured the spirit of what was said here, not the actual words):

“When they book a ticket [an advance ticket] we contact them to say thank you and tell them about our gallery, shop, bar and restaurant facilities … and then after the show, we send them a questionnaire about their first impressions of the visit … later, we contact them about other relevant shows that are coming up.”

Now, this might sound like ‘building bridges’ from a marketer’s perspective. But, and with no disrespect intended to this rather wonderful Marketing Manager, what this CRM gem actually represents is a predatory attempt to:

a) coax ancillary spend from the customer,

b) extract information about them and,

c) second guess what they might want to see next when all that is known is they booked a particular show.

The first is up-selling thinly-veiled as friendly information giving … ‘sharing’. The second is research thinly-veiled as ‘caring’. The third is blind optimism!

Let’s not kid ourselves about how caring and sharing we are with our customers. We’re not pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes except ourselves because our canny customers will see right through it, and that’s no way to start a relationship.

I think the root of the problem might be that arts marketers have been hardwired to ‘extract’ rather than ‘give’, to ‘sell’ rather than ‘connect’, and measure success in terms of short-term gains rather than long-term, genuine relationship building.

Does this resonate with you?

I’m going to write further about this in subsequent blogs, but here are some alternative suggestions to the insincere sharing and caring that passes for CRM in some arts organisations today:

GRATITUDE: Thank first-time bookers promptly. Tell them you’ll provide more information on how to get there nearer the time. Provide a contact in case their plans change or they need further information. That’s all.

HELPFULNESS & EMPATHY: Nearer the time of the show, when they are in planning mode, acknowledge the challenges of their first visit by providing useful ‘insider information’ on how to make their journey easier, timely, safer, cheaper.

INFORM: Where possible, provide interesting snippets of information on rehearsals, reviews etc to build expectation and excitement.

DELIGHT: Find ways of making their first ever visit really special. Exceed their expectations by, for example, offering a voucher for a free drink and/or programme. Install a Welcome Table FOH for first time bookers where they can meet a friendly face and be oriented around the building. Chat with them and make them feel at home. Share your passion. Show genuine interest: find out how their journey went, why they came etc.

CONNECT and VALUE: Invite them to take their first steps into ‘friendship’ by subscribing to a mailing list based on their preferences (not your assumptions). Seek permission to include them in customer research … because their views are important to you. Gift first-time bookers with a discount voucher for a subsequent ticket purchase … because you’d love them to come back.

Just some initial thoughts … I’m sure there are lots of other, better ideas and practices out there.

In my mind’s eye, I can see some of you throwing your hands up in horror at the additional work this will entail – for no measurable, immediate return …. but the returns will come. Given that customer retention beats customer acquisition hands down in the economic arena, it makes sense to invest in retention as assiduously as we seem to churn out sales messages to the faceless would-be attenders.

Now … how might you design a super welcome area that gives your first-timers a symbolic hug when they cross the threshold into your world? [:O)]

Lisa Baxter is the Founder and Director of The Experience Business. A trainer and author she is frequently invited to talk about her approach to Qualitative Research, Experience Design and Creative Thinking both in the UK and abroad.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), Lisa is known as an inspiring and creative thinker who likes to take her clients on a voyage of discovery. Her aim is to help arts and cultural organisations re-imagine their offer, think smarter, plan more robustly and deliver excellence. At the centre of everything she does is the beating heart of the audience. Lisa has worked with organisations large and small to connect them with their audiences in a way that generates both business and social value.

An elected Associate Member of the Market Research Society (MRS), Lisa follows their rigorous Code of Conduct to ensure the highest ethical and professional standards. She is also a member of the Association of Qualitative Research (AQR), the Arts Marketing Association (AMA), Audiences Europe and the Customer Experience Professionals Association.

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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.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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

Audience development for the arts – #Auddev chat 3/23 – Professional/Amateur audience perceptions

For our Monday Moment, take a moment to look at the #auddev chat we had on Friday, 3/23.  We were having a discussion about professional/amateur audience perceptions.  Do audiences perceive the differences?  Are they willing to pay more for “professional?”  How do we define “professional” vs. “amateur” anyway?  Why are some amateur companies funded as well as professional groups?  If “professional” means being paid, how do we factor in “guest artists” into the equation?  There were other questions and issues that came up as well.  One of the questions that didn’t come up is why are some “amateur” groups doing better than “professional” groups in terms of audience and funding? and Why are they considered in the same pool for various grants?  Should they be separately funded?  They are all “non-profits” despite “professional” or “amateur.”

What is your stance on these issues?  Please feel free to comment in the reply box below!

From User Tweet
AudienceDevSpec Welcome to #auddev chat! Today I am here with @maricarjagger events organisation and marketing professional out of Portsmouth, UK.
AudienceDevSpec Hi @maricarjagger #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Please use the hashtag #auddev to chat with us.
RachealMc MT @audiencedevspec: Welcome to #auddev chat! I’m here with @maricarjagger events organisation & marketing profess. out of Portsmouth, UK.
AudienceDevSpec The main question is: Do people differentiate going to professional vs amateur performances? #auddev
RachealMc RT @audiencedevspec: Please use the hashtag #auddev to chat with us.
AudienceDevSpec RT @maricarjagger: Yes. The question is whether we should differentiate between amateur and professional events through pricing. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger So, meaning that the price of professional should reflect a higher price? #auddev
RachealMc RT @audiencedevspec: The main question is: Do people differentiate going to professional vs amateur performances? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Right now I think there is all sorts of murky blur lines happening between “professional” and “amateur”. #auddev
THEATREtc RT @RachealMc: RT @audiencedevspec: The main question is: Do people differentiate going to professional vs amateur performances? #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec That’s recently come up here in Toronto with a vengeance. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc Can you give me an example? #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec Our Actor’s Assn attempted a protest of one of our largest production companies over bringing in a non-union tour #auddev
Silagh Yes, audiences do have different perceptions between professional and amateur productions. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc Yes, the Union issue comes into play in this discussion. Were they charging the same ticket price too? #auddev
maricarjagger RT @AudienceDevSpec: Please use the hashtag #auddev to chat with us.
AudienceDevSpec What also gets blurry is who is to define who is professional and who is amateur. #auddev
RachealMc @silagh they do have different perceptions, but the question is what classifies amateur vs. professional? #Auddev
JessieRelephant RT @AudienceDevSpec: The main question is: Do people differentiate going to professional vs amateur performances? #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc I didn’t event think of the Union as part of the equation! Interesting #auddev
AudienceDevSpec There are companies that say they are professional, but the quality may not be. Will the audiences know the difference? #auddev
Silagh Some audiences expect lots of parents with video cameras at amateur performances. Even if not kids in show. #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec In the US being non-union does not automatically mean amateur, but it does here and the stigma’s huge. #auddev
RachealMc Absolutely. RT @maricarjagger: @AudienceDevSpec Should we price a professional show more than an amateur show? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc Wow, so in Canada there actually is a standard based on “Union”? #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec 100%. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc We were discussing recently whether a ‘professional musician’ necessarily one who has a degree in music #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc The lines completely blur in the US. I have been to amateur performances in one city that are professional in others #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec Yes, they were charging a comparable ticket price. #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec It becomes trickier because it was originally a US union tour & got downgraded before it arrived here. #Auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc How does one get into the Union then? Are there quality standards or just a fee to pay? #auddev
RachealMc @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc some of the most gifted & skilled musicians I know don’t. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc I suppose there lies the difficulty with pricing! #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Will an audience member choose a higher price ticket for the perceived extra quality? #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec When I lived in Miami it was like that, same for my experience in Houston. #Auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger @RachealMc I have seen the same pricing for amateur/professional. #auddev
RachealMc Great question. RT @audiencedevspec: Will an audience member choose a higher price ticket for the perceived extra quality? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec This also relates to grants and other funding as well. #auddev
clydefitch Pivots on what “extra quality” is, no? MT @audiencedevspec: Will audiences choose higher price tickets for perceived extra quality? #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec It’s much easier to get into CAEA than AEA. I got in with a letter. Many ADs won’t even look at a non Eq resume. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch So defining quality is an issue as well. #auddev
RRCreative RT @AudienceDevSpec: Will an audience member choose a higher price ticket for the perceived extra quality? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc Union is a matter of having a company claim they are professional? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I do feel a professional company has the choice of pricing higher than their local amateur company. We pay more in other industries. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec It gets tricky when amateur companies price on the higher side, then the professional company may be pricing too high for audience. #auddev
maricarjagger RT @AudienceDevSpec: Will an audience member choose a higher price ticket for the perceived extra quality? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I know that professional companies that I consider professional get frustrated when amateurs call themselves professional. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec RT @maricarjagger: A concert by a world renowned chamber group £15 & last week a local piano teacher charges £15 for her concert. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Was the chamber group upset by this? #auddev
maricarjagger A concert by a world renowned chamber group is £15 here and last week a local piano teacher charges £15 for her concert. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Some Unions require an audition to get in, but some are fee based from what I am seeing/hearing. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec As a promoter, I was! We were careful to make sure the prices are affordable, but what is affordable? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Most reports point out that $25 or under is “affordable”. People will pay more for what they want. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec What is also interesting is sometimes the amateur groups get more of an audience than the professional ones. #auddev
RachealMc MT @maricarjagger: @AudienceDevSpec …We were careful to make sure the prices are affordable, but what is affordable? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch An amateur group can have a star show up too. #auddev
clydefitch @audiencedevspec Also, wouldn’t you agree “extra value” varies (or differs) by genre, setting, time of year, magnitude? #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec That begs the question whether less people will want it if the event is more expensive? #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec @maricarjagger That is a key question. #auddev
RachealMc @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec I’ve worked with companies where the gross over spending & wastage is sickening. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger That is a major question to consider. People will spend money on what they value. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I think it is about asking your audience for their perceptions before you price. What is worth it to them? #auddev
RachealMc @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec The costs are then passed on to the audience & they wonder why people complain of high prices. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc @maricarjagger So some professional companies don’t have to price as high if not wasteful. Good point! #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec I’m sure they will value something they know well and that means ‘touring’ artists cannot win #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Great point, which is why #auddev is so important so they get to know!
maricarjagger In the case of the local pianist I do realise there’s an element of ‘who you know’ determining attendance. #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec @RachealMc @maricarjagger I think we all need to be realistic about the economy & spending patterns. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec So the audience needs to perceive as valuable to them and see the value in the extra cost of the ticket. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I do wish there were more standards for “professional” “amateur”. Being subjective, it may never happen. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec Are we saying that cultural offering need some longevity to afford time for audience development? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger I’m not sure I completely understand your question. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Join us for #auddev chat!
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec Audience development needs time, right? #auddev
dloehr @AudienceDevSpec The reason my theatre co. uses “professional” is simply to distinguish between hobby & vocation. We also tour. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact Interesting, so now we have more labels in the mix. LOL! #auddev
RachealMc RT @audiencedevspec: I do wish there were more standards for “professional” “amateur”. Being subjective, it may never happen. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @dloehr Do we have a list to define professional vs. amateur though. Couldn’t an amateur company tour. If they get a little pay…#auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec While not a fan of over-labeling, I think this one fills a definite need & eliminates some confusion. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I see some professional companies say they are community oriented, which also gets a little tricky. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @dloehr So your definition is if this is your job (not hobby) then you are a professional? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact Semi-pro is a label in the music world that is similar. #auddev
dloehr @AudienceDevSpec We tour outside of the region, though. Our community group is largely shop owners, people with day jobs… #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec The trickiness lies in the polyvalence of the word “community,” here used in a diff way than “community thtr” #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger @dloehr Right now, people piece together their income, so if they are paid, could be one of their jobs. #auddev
dloehr @AudienceDevSpec …who can’t afford to take the time away from those jobs. #auddev
RachealMc RT @dloehr: @AudienceDevSpec The reason my theatre co. uses “professional” is simply to distinguish between hobby & vocation… #auddev
melissaimpact @dloehr @AudienceDevSpec Other issue is that many working at small thtrs of our own for no/low pay are pros working at larger thtrs #auddev
AudienceDevSpec MT @clydefitch: Often I feel amateur vs. professional = issue for professionals, not amateurs. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch Really great point! #auddev
dloehr @AudienceDevSpec But we try to work with them whenever possible; there’s no class warfare here, just different goals. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @dloehr I know professionals that can’t afford it either. LOL! #auddev
melissaimpact @dloehr @AudienceDevSpec “Amateur” and “professional” are inaccurate when tied only to pay grade in the arts #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Here’s a monkey wrench, a professional could (and does sometimes) work for an “amateur” company. #auddev
dloehr @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger I’m only talking about my town’s community group in terms of touring, btw. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch You can use the #auddev hashtag. You have great points for everyone!
dloehr @melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Right. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch It’s money and income, it’s close to everyone’s heart! #auddev
RachealMc RT @melissaimpact: @dloehr @AudienceDevSpec “Amateur” and “professional” are inaccurate when tied only to pay grade in the arts #auddev
AudienceDevSpec RT @clydefitch Also, what defines amateur/professional? Most professional actors don’t live off their work but never ID as amateur. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch If you trained for years and pay lots of money for college, do you want to earn less that the hobbyist? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec There are some groups in my town that claim to be pro, but quality wise, they really are not in MHO. #auddev
dloehr @melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Tho I didn’t–and don’t–use the term “amateur.” #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec I this case I have no quibble with them if they charge less for tix #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I think it is some of our perception that amateur are “stealing away” from professional that is the basis. Am I right? #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Not sure you can tie “professional” to quality-All it covers is whether this is your career as opposed to a hobby #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger We would need to first establish who is pro and am and then figure out pricing as an industry. #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec as “Guest Artists” I would say almost all performers have done it here. #auddev
clydefitch @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec Obviously not. I’m not celebrating the amateur vs. professional divide, I’m acknowledging it exists. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact However, there are “amateurs” that can produce professional work. #auddev
melissaimpact @dloehr @AudienceDevSpec Me neither–I think most thtr pros do not. It’s “professional,” “professionally-oriented,” and “community” #auddev
RachealMc @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch When I interviewed Brian Dennehy, he said theatre school was… #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact I have performed in some “community” groups that were as good if not better than “professional” #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec and that is difficult to establish and also regulate #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact Don’t they deserve to charge more then? #auddev
dloehr @melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Yup. #auddev
RachealMc @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch … the absolute worst thing an actor could do. #Auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact Oh I agree about the label, but they could charge more because they are awesome! ;O) #auddev
maricarjagger @RachealMc @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch In a sense you’re right, going to school doesn’t prove you have talents…#auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact We were talking about ticket pricing in all this as well though. #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Pricing isn’t just abt quality or value–often we price low b/c we’re trying to remain accessible. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc So the price of that “guest artist” ticket for the amateur group would go up. #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Pricing is about accessibility more than quality for most of us, I think #auddev
AudienceDevSpec RT @melissaimpact: @AudienceDevSpec Pricing is about accessibility more than quality for most of us, I think #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Big pro thtrs make a minority of income as earned, majority as contributed #auddev
RaymondMcNeel @clydefitch @AudienceDevSpec Per the Latin, an amateur does something for “the love”. (Oh, and Charlie Sheen is a professional.) #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec generally, the prices would be the same. The company would budget for the extra costs. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger @melissaimpact So true! But then, this could make the ticket price equal to the amateur price. #auddev
maricarjagger @melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Our prof concerts are accessible by ticket price, but not covering the full cost of the musicians #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Pricing more abt marketing than abt income for nonprofit thtrs–majority of their $ is contributed #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch @rachealmc @maricarjagger Plus, amateur companies can be non-profit too. #auddev
melissaimpact @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec That’s the case for almost every 501c3 arts org in the country. High price isn’t a marker of quality #auddev
melissaimpact @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec Low price isn’t marker of amateur. Big co.s use a plethora of price pts, some very low for outreach #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec @clydefitch @maricarjagger As can professional companies up here. #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Big LORTs use lprice pts equal to smaller co.s as part of various outreach efforts all the time #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact @maricarjagger So if the price isn’t an indication, which we have established, will the audience get it? LOL! #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Will they get what? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact @maricarjagger The price is the same for both pro and ama. So, will they understand who is who? #auddev
clydefitch @rachealmc @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Curiously, it’s theatre that forever thrashes these issues. Er, amateur folk art, anyone? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact @maricarjagger We may not see price as a distinguishing value, but our audiences might. #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger I think that’s true to a certain extent, depending on the marketing & culture of the producing org #auddev
RachealMc RT @audiencedevspec: @melissaimpact @maricarjagger We may not see price as a distinguishing value, but our audiences might. #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Big co.s offer luxury exp at high price pt- better seats, etc– outreach at lower price pts. I think #auddev
Becca_E_Smith @RaymondMcNeel @clydefitch @AudienceDevSpec love that, but what abt pros? Is a pro in it for the $ or just some1 who gets paid? #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger the marketing of the experience is key. Are you there for a luxury exp? Or are you there to #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @Becca_E_Smith @RaymondMcNeel @clydefitch That’s a new kettle of fish there! #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch @rachealmc Ego aside I think the important issue here is whether a pro can compete in the marketplace #auddev
clydefitch @audiencedevspec @RachealMc @maricarjagger No more than boiling complex, nuanced socioeconomic trends to 140-word tweets. #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec @clydefitch @maricarjagger @clydefitch I think ego plays in any industry. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger I think you just rang the ding, ding, ding bell with that one! #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger see something cool you can share w/friends? The same big co can offer varying experiences #auddev
clydefitch @audiencedevspec @RachealMc @maricarjagger More seriously, for some it’s totally tied to ego. Others don’t fret about labels. #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger A GREAT example of this kind of varied experience/varied price point is @berkeleyrep #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger This convo is so interesting, but I have to go teach! Loathe to leave you brilliant ppl. Thank you! #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I think @clydefitch is right. All labels aside, it is going to come down to what is great & what is good. #auddev
clydefitch @becca_e_smith @RaymondMcNeel @AudienceDevSpec I don’t think pro = monolithic mindset. Tho most people don’t turn down $, generally. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec It’s been a quick, intense and interesting hour at #auddev chat.
AudienceDevSpec Thank you to: @clydefitch @melissaimpact @RachealMc @maricarjagger @Becca_E_Smith @RaymondMcNeel @dloehr for stopping by! #auddev
maricarjagger @melissaimpact We can reconvene the conversation another time with @AudienceDevSpec #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Feel free to keep chatting at #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I will have a transcript of this conversation on my blog Monday morning. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch @melissaimpact @RachealMc @Becca_E_Smith @RaymondMcNeel @dloehr Thank you all for the eye-opener on #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec Thanks for hosting! #auddev
Becca_E_Smith @AudienceDevSpec thanks for hosting! #auddev
AudienceDevSpec We know that professional and amateur are clearly challenging to define. Price is not the indicative factor either. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec What will ring true is not the labels, but the quality of the work. Everything else is merely technicality in MHO. #auddev ;O)
RachealMc @audiencedevspec @clydefitch @melissaimpact @RachealMc @maricarjagger @Becca_E_Smith @RaymondMcNeel @dloehr Thank you all! #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Whew! That was a fantastic conversation. We now return to our normal #auddev hashtag.
AudienceDevSpec .@maricarjagger Thank you for the topic! #auddev
AudienceDevSpec If you have a topic for #auddev chat, please contact me.
clydefitch Thanks to: @AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact @RachealMc @maricarjagger @Becca_E_Smith @RaymondMcNeel #auddev #FF
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec Fascinating subject and I look forward to more #auddev sessions

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

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50 Winning Tweets from the 2011 NAMPC (many about audience development)

There are still some tweets and such floating around after the National Arts Marketing Project Conference – Winning Audiences.  Today I saw another tweet about the 50 Winning Tweets from the 2011 NAMPC.  I not only enjoyed the collection of tweets, but the format via Issuu, a free online publication program, is worth the mention too.

Enjoy!

Click Here to view what I am talking about!

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

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#NAMPC National Arts Marketing Project Conference – Winning Audiences – Final Day

After practically no sleep, I was still excited about the last day.  This was the day I was scheduled to present!

8:45 Engaging Audiences through Collaboration and Innovation

I had a great team to work with.  Our moderator was Kory Kelly, Director of Marketing & Communications at Actors Theatre of Louisville.  Also presenting with me were Sam Read, Deputy director of Theatre Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington and Greg Fiedler, President and CEO of the Greater Flint Arts Council in Flint, Michigan.  We decided to tag team our presentations so one would lead into another.

I started off the morning of our Engage Audiences through Collaboration and Innovation with an overall look at the variety of collaborations you can achieve.  Each type of collaboration had a case study story to give an example – the case study pointed out how it engages with your audience.  This presentation was from the view point of one organization working with many other arts and community organizations.  This was a milestone presentation for me too since I vowed to never do another “PowerPoint” presentation ever again.  You can hold me to it!

My audience was a little sleepy during the beginning of my presentation, but I could see them waking up in the middle.  8:45 am?  Much too early, right?

Sam Read took the ball and presented Arts Crush.  This festival is full of creative ideas on how to get the different disciplines of the arts working together and working with the community.  Innovative programming, venues, and audience development can result when a community gets together to co-create an arts festival.  His presentation was exciting and the theme of collaboration and innovation was demonstrated perfectly.  One of my favorite quotes – Move beyond the butt!

Greg Fiedler had a video presentation that spoke about the Parade of Festivals that his Arts Council is responsible for.  The point of the presentation was to not only show how different and interesting festivals can work together to build audience, but also how the arts are changing the perception that surrounds Flint, Michigan.  Unfortunately, almost everyone raised their hands (before the video) when asked if they heard something negative about Flint.  Fortunately, everyone raised their hands when asked if the video gave them a more positive perception of Flint.  The arts are making a difference in Flint, and through collaboration (and innovation), the difference is noticed!

10:45 Closing Plenary with Sam Horn

This was an interesting move since this talk tied together all the elements of the conference – marketing, development, audience development.  We all seemed a bit brain dead and Sam Horn was speaking in codes, or rather acronyms.  The messages of her talk were extremely valuable. Some of her main points are as follows. When relating to people – don’t just tell them what you do – tell them an example of what you are doing.  Tell stories instead of relying completely on facts and figures.  Get them to raise their eyebrows by asking “Did You Know” questions and supply them with some of the most interesting details about your organization.  Lastly, relate your message to who you are speaking to.  Instead of a typical elevator speech that states your mission, which is the same for everyone, first find out who they are and then give them something to relate to about your organization. Even though I was dog tired and ready for lunch, I got the messages and agree wholeheartedly.

My Final Tweets

Lunch

My last little session of hanging with some great people.  A group of us went to hotel sports bar and grill before we left in our cars, taxis and eventually our airplanes toward home.  It was a fantastic ending to the conference – down time with folks that understand you.

Overall Impression

I have to say that all in all, NAMPC was an amazing experience.  The people I met, the presentations, the building of relationships – all factors were well worth it.  I will also say that I am proud of myself for presenting in front of my peers (which can make you a Nervous Nelly).  I am also proud of all of us that attended (well most of us) for leaving our egos at the door and being able to share our good ideas with each other.

I look forward to keeping in touch with the many people I was honored to become associated with during the conference.  If asked again to be a part of this experience, of course, I would say yes!

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

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Audience Development and sexed-up arts marketing

I wasn’t planning on blogging today, but I read an article that had my mind buzzing:

Sexed-up arts marketing campaigns a rip off

Xenia Hanusiak, a composer, performer and music reviewer wrote this opinion.  Here are a few excerpts to discuss –

When we are promised ”the experience of a lifetime”, or ”a night of passion” and neither manifests, is there recourse? And if so, from whom do we seek it?

I have to agree with her here.  Unless the show is so amazing that we talk about it in the future, maybe we need to be more honest with our marketing.  I can say as an audience member that I have been hoodwinked more than my fair share taking a chance on these “experiences of a lifetime” hype and instead getting a mediocre production.  These performances are entertaining to pass the time, but they aren’t necessarily full of passion.  The arts need to be upfront about the type of experience they are sharing.  Not all performances and art are going to be mind-blowing, but that is okay.  The art is still worth sharing, but perhaps we need to package it for what it is instead of using language that oversells and deceives.  I’m guessing the problem is that every artist thinks their offering is the “greatest” or the “most spectacular” art that is being offered.  Perhaps we can use our audiences to get some honest feedback before we start promoting to the general public.

In the arts, offering proof before making a claim is a difficult proposition. We are, after all, in the business of subjectivity – one man’s passion is another’s poison. What’s more, in contrast to the commercial market, where product launches and marketing campaigns often go hand in hand, arts marketing is prospective. It is not unusual for marketing, with images and text ranging from confronting to salacious to divine, to arrive in subscription booklets six months before the creative team even sets foot on the rehearsal stage…

So, is using scantily clad models for your opera subscription false advertising when they won’t appear on stage? Is promising ”the greatest show on earth” or ”the experience of a lifetime,” an unsubstantiated claim?

I’m curious to hear what you think about this.  I do feel we need to be a little more responsible in how we sell our offerings.  Even though we do not have an organization that regulates our marketing, this should not mean that we don’t have an obligation to sell our art in an honest light.  Think about the audiences that are getting duped.  They will feel the old bait and switch has happened to them.

Or take the practice of misrepresenting from reviews for marketing purposes. All too often, the following occurs. A review reports that the entertainment at hand has all the ingredients for a thrilling night, but the production fails. Marketers cut and paste the single word ”thrilling”, magnify it on rooftop billboards and splash the out-of-context word on full-page advertisements.
I am in total agreement here too.  Taking a review out of context is distasteful and can ruin your reputation even more than a bad review.

Many similarly pernicious marketing trends exist, but my biggest gripe is the recent trend in classical music to popularise its product like a pop experience. This, in my view has been one reason for the public’s ambiguous response and falling attendances.

The disconnection promotes a disingenuous relationship. Why not take the road of it’s ”the real thing”? It is, after all, centuries old, it will never be hip – so represent it for its authentic self and perhaps people will respond. Arts marketing that promises to make Lady Gaga out of Beethoven doesn’t just mislead through hyperbole. It disrespects artistic authenticity.

This is where I part ways with her line of thinking.  I do feel that the classical music world needs to package the experience in ways that are relevant to today’s audiences.  If Mozart were alive today, do you think he would have settled for the same old boring classical music wrapping that we have been producing for decades?  Heck no!  He would have been a creative “pop” sensation in all that he did to sell his music.  The “real thing” can be “hip again” if we showcase it the way it was originally meant to be showcased.  You see, classical music was only put in a stuffy wrapper after the elite highjacked the genre.  Before then, the classical composers of the day were the rock stars of the day and they would perform for everyone and anyone.  They were flashy in their own way.

Classical music can be exciting again. I get excited when I see Beethoven produced in a more modern fashion.  It’s still the same amazing music that it will always be, but if it is performed in a way I can stand up and cheer, which some movements deserve that type of response, I bet more diverse audiences will be able to relate to it again.  As I mentioned in the past, traditions are only traditions because “we” make them so.  Change the traditions then!

For the most part, I agree that we need to be responsible for the marketing that we put out there.  I understand that you think you need to super hype it up in your marketing language to attempt to get an audience these days.  However, there will be more harm done to our industry than good if we continue to not present our art with more honesty.  Audiences will start to take “sensational” to mean something more mediocre.  “The once in a lifetime experience” will become the “last thing I want to attend again.”

This means, there is no replacement for high quality art.  If you have something that is high quality, something buzz worthy, this is when it is completely okay to “sensationalize” your marketing, because it will be the absolute truth and nothing but the truth.

What do you think?  Please feel free to comment by leaving a reply. 

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

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