You've heard me say before that the most challenging aspect of marketing art is the unpredictable element inherent in the business.
It's safe to assume that every theatre company, every writer, every musician is doing the best they can to create the best art that they are capable of creating.
But sometimes it doesn't work out. Failure is part of the process. We know that. More importantly, the public knows that and thus it can be very difficult to convince them to invest the time, money and energy necessary to see our work.
I've always believed in looking at useful analogies to help solve a problem and in this case the world of sports marketing is very interesting.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone in charge of marketing a professional sports team. You've got all of the problems the "traditional" arts have, i.e. high ticket prices, lots of ticket inventory, etc. Plus you've got the additional challenge that comes from having a direct alternative (watching the games on TV) readily available to the public.
Let's stipulate that one of the easiest ways to fill the arena would be to have a winning team. But winning in sports, or the arts, is easier said then done. Even a great team wins about 65% of the time which means that 35% of the time (or more) you are going to send people who paid a lot of money home disappointed.
So what do you do when you can't promise a positive outcome?
Take a look at this ESPN article about how the Chicago White Sox are trying to sell tickets. As you scroll through the article notice how all the marketing options are on the table.
Package of ticket options? Check
Use of data to incentive repeat purchase? Check
The start of a loyalty program? Check
The marketing team there is starting to understand what we in the arts need to embrace.
If you can't control the end outcome you need to try to influence everything else.
So as a marketer make sure you are really considering all the tools you have at your disposal. You may not have the time or money to use all of them, but give them some thought. We need all the help we can get.