Part one of this post is here.
Let's start by defining the challenge. What most artists and arts organizations want to do is push their artistic boundaries. In fact I would argue that the desire to push those boundaries is one of the things that separate an artist from a hack.
What the a significant part of the public wants, however, is something a little different. The public lives in a world of abundant options. This creates a natural sense of risk aversion.
It's important that those of us marketing artistic events, exhibitions or performances respect this sense of risk aversion. In fact one could argue that the only real goal of marketing in the artistic space is to move the public past their risk aversion.
That's the purpose behind marketing that is centered around a particular point of views or a set of values. The purpose is to give the public something else that they can support with their dollars, attendance, etc.
So ultimately you are asking the public two questions:
1. Do you support this particular programming OR
2. Do you support our institution/our values/our particular point of view?
Two ways to say yes is better than one right?
Let's use an example. At my day job we are preparing to market the theater production Gem of the Ocean.
We are going to do the obvious, but challenging, stuff to market the show. We will determine the target audience, plan advertising, try to put the show in the most positive and enticing light possible, etc.
The issue is that most organizations stop there. But what if you are interested in this particular piece of programming? Is that the end?
Nope. Because I also want you to present you with marketing that reflects our organizational values and mission.
So if one of our values is artistic excellence how do I reflect that through the marketing?
If our company feels like classic theater is important and valuable how do I reflect that in the marketing?
If being a warm and generous company is important how do I reflect that through the marketing?
Those are the questions.
What are the answers? Honestly I don't know yet.
But the answers aren't really the point. The point is to ask the questions. If you do that consistently then great answers were come.
There really is no secret to great arts marketing but if there was one it would be this one . . .
Don't settle for just one path to the art.
Create multiple ways for the public to connect. The programming. The values. The mission.
The more open doors you have the better it is for everyone.