In about a month I'll finish my seventh full season handling arts marketing for a professional theatre in Chicago. That will also mark over eight years of working with artists and arts organization as a speaker, workshop presenter and consultant.
Over those years I've used marketing to sell millions of dollars worth of tickets and have had a chance to help people from all over the world.
So here's the one thing I want you to know about marketing art, whether it's live theatre, dance, museum experiences, whatever . . .
It's really hard.
And it's getting harder.
There are many reasons for this. One is that the quality of work all around us is rising. I know it's popular to say that the world is filled with dreck but what I see is a world filled with quality options. More good theatre then any person could possibly experience, more quality books then a person could ever read, more interesting films then there are hours in the day.
This creates a marketing challenge because none of us are just sitting around with a huge entertainment hole that needs to be filled. All of our cups runneth over so it can be hard to get people to add one more thing to the cup.
Things are also challenging because there are a lot of effective marketers. As I go around and meet people I'm always impressed at how slick their brochures are, or how effective some of them are at web design or social media.
It's all good. Maybe a little too good.
So you have a public being hit from all directions with this good marketing and, again, the natural instinct is to shut down and ignore all but the loudest voices.
In my experience, the only way to overcome that is by creating marketing that is more human. I know, that sounds weird . . . "more human". What do I mean?
Well think about the people you have in your life that you really adore. What do they have in common? I would guess that they . . .
Make you laugh.
Make you think.
Make you feel welcome.
Those are the sorts of people you would gladly welcome in your life. There is always room for them.
And that's the sort of marketing people will welcome in their life.
That's the other thing I have learned over these seven years. If the marketing touches them, they will make room for it. If it's not just good, but it's authentic and comes from a good place they will listen.
That's your opportunity. It's the opportunity to create marketing is good AND . . .
Good AND educational.
Good AND matching the artistic values.
Good AND unexpected.
Because just good, isn't good enough.
And with that, the blog is on an hiatus. I'll be back July 20. Thanks for reading.