Effective arts marketing requires a bit of distance.
Or to put it another way, it's difficult to market things you are overly emotional about.
That's what I thought about when I read this wicked good post by TimeOut Chicago's Kris Vire who wonders why some arts organizations do such a poor job selling their work to the public. Kris focuses on theatre but trust me, what he said could apply to a whole bunch of art forms.
Here be an excerpt:
"Rather than playing up what’s cool about a show, a season or a theater company, so many ads and press releases (particularly from our larger institutions) emphasize the Serious Art Points.
Consider this grabber line from Steppenwolf’s current print campaign for Art, opening next week: “A heated debate over modern art colors this rich comic study of male friendship.” Damn, don’t that make you want to go to the theater."
There are a lot of reasons for that sort of thing and a lot of good ways to fix it (we will talk about fixes later this week) but one of the biggest reasons is that artist organizations get so close to the work that they forget this vital rule of arts marketing:
You are not your audience.
The "Serious Arts Point" that make your head tingle with excitement may not (probably don't) mean nearly as much to the general arts patron as you think it does.
This is why I believe that the person who handles your art marketing should be a fan of the particular art form he/she is marketing . . . but not that big of a fan.
To much fandom distorts your perspective and can cause you to miss opportunities to connect your art to an audience.
So if you are in a situtation where, by necessity, you have to market work you also create make sure you have access to people who can objectively evaluate your marketing.
If you're a dance person it may be as simple as showing that promotional postcard to a colleague who knows very little about dance and saying . . . "does this make you want to come see the show?"
So remember, love and marketing are rarely a good mix.