How does the world change when there is no such thing as "mainstream"?
What happens when, outside of the Super Bowl, there is no TV show that everyone watches?
What happens when there is no book that everyone has read?
What happens when choices become abundant?
Part of what happens is that the things we buy and the things we consume (or don't consume) all combine to form a crucial part of our own identity.
Think of it this way, when options are abundant we make our choices based on what they say about us. So people who attend a Monster Truck rally are saying something about themselves and people who go to ballet are saying something and people who go to BOTH are saying something else entirely.
So when I think about arts marketing I'm constantly pondering this question:
What does it say about this person when they decide to attend this event?
When someone comes to my theater what does that say about them?
When someone comes to my concert what does that say about them?
My job as a marketer is to create an answer to that question.
So the sum goal of the marketing we work to create at my day job is to say that if you come to our theater you are saying that you are interested in the connection between art and academics. You are saying that you appreciate a theater that brings literature to life. You are saying that you value diversity on stage.
That's why I want you to come to see the work. Not because you may like it. Because the truth is I can't control if you like it. What I control, at least, is the messaging around what the organization stands for and THUS what it means for you to participate.
Arts marketing isn't about selling. It's about definition. It's about defining what the values around this artistic performance or event.
Do that effectively and the audience will find you.