NOTE: If you get my blog via email you should have already received an email about the re-opening of my online class on email marketing. The enrollment deadline for you guys is Monday, August 25 at midnight so the clock is ticking. For everyone else, you'll get a chance to enroll soon so keep your online eyes open.
And now on with the show
Some of the most common questions I get about arts marketing revolves around building new audience. In that spirit here are some thoughts:
The tighter the audience target, the better. A lot of audience development efforts fail because they aren't specific enough. At my day job there was a general desire to draw audiences of color. In marketing we translated that to drawing in people from specific zip codes. In this case we wanted the neighborhood around our home venue. The goal was to make our theatre been seen as the neighborhood's home theatre.
That translated to a specific set of tactics, including offering targeted mailings and discounts just to those zip codes. We tried to incorporate the name of the neighborhood into more of our marketing.
You get the idea.
My point is that in order to make the most of our limited time and resources we had to become comfortable with including some people in our audience development plan and EXCLUDING a lot more.
Now I want to be clear on what I mean by excluding. It didn't mean that all people aren't welcome at our work. What it means is that our marketing efforts were focused toward certain targets.
One of the realities we all face is the limited nature of our resources. Unless you work at Coke, McDonalds or Amazon you just don't have the ability to hit everyone. So you have to be smart. You have to be willing to define your audience target in language that is as clear as possible.
It's a cliche, but it is true . . . you can't hit a target that you can't identify.
Your art isn't for everyone. It's for someone.
Define that someone.