As an arts marketer that works in a professional environment I have a particular problem. I need to sell a certain amount of tickets (paintings, books, whatever) to achieve certain sales goals.
That's my problem.
But that isn't your problem.
And when I say "you" in that sentence I mean the public.
The public could care less what my sales goals are. It doesn't matter to them that we "only" sold X amount of tickets when what we really need to do is sell Y amount of tickets.
The challenge here is that so much of how we try to do to market art implies that the public should care about our sales needs. We have stuff to sell. They have money. Thus they should buy it.
Of course not.
The public has more then enough options for how to spend their money. They don't really need another one.
So what do they need?
They need to feel connected to something meaningful. They need to feel that the organizations or people they give money to are aware of them and care about them.
They need surprise.
They need delight.
They need story.
What they don't need . . . what WE don't need . . . is to be sold. The sale comes at the end of the marketing process but it ISN'T the point of the marketing process.
The irony is that often the best way to get people to buy is by moving the focus away from the need to buy (which is a problem they don't have) and toward the higher goal of marketing.
The message, as always, is don't just try to sell art. Aim Higher.