From time to time, I like to update or add to a post of mine about the challenges facing the performing arts in the way that they sell and market themselves.
These ideas apply to everyone, but they are especially useful for the arts.
Here are 5 ways to express value that you can control…
Make your website inviting for the new and uninitiated:
There’s a certain arrogance that goes along with the concept of “we are awesome” and you should know it mindset that undercuts a lot of marketing and selling efforts.
In the arts and entertainment, we see it even more readily happen.
Check out this tweet:
We shouldn’t need to convince people of the value of attending [event/show/exhibition]. They should already know.
— Shit Arts Administrators Say (@artsadminssay) September 12, 2018
This attitude is like rat poison to your organization.
You can’t expect that just because you love something and understand the value of something that your audience will.
Here’s the first rule of marketing, if your message doesn’t get across that’s your fault and not your audience’s.
So make sure that your website’s landing page inspires people to take a deeper dive.
Invite them in because they don’t have to know everything to enjoy your building and your performances.
If you never get people in the door, you’ll never get them to become repeat customers and fans.
Use different media to communicate your message:
I’ve always felt that the laziest marketing in the world is done for Broadway shows.
You get a billboard, print ad, and posters with some glowing line from a review that may have actually trashed the show and roll it out.
The thing is that in 2018, we should be able to do much better than that.
In fact, it is malpractice not to.
Recently I had my friend, Dan Meagher, on my podcast to talk about growing an audience for the Diablo Ballet in San Francisco.
To me, the best part of the podcast was when Dan talked about how he is able to bring people in and use the power of free tools and social media to draw attention to what the Ballet is doing.
Strangely enough, he’s the exception.
If you’ve followed along with me over the years, you know that no matter what industry I am dealing with, I have a pretty easy framework that I use jumpstart conversation:
- What is the value?
- Who is the buyer?
- How do we reach them?
This can be adapted to any circumstance and if you are deft, you can manipulate the question over and over to reflect different audiences and ideas.
The big key is that you need to spend some time thinking about the ways that you are reaching out to your audience and working to ensure that you are going to them and not just putting your message where you feel comfortable.
Focus on the outcome:
For something that is built around creating and stirring emotions, the way that the arts is sold can often come across as emotionless.
I’m visiting the Carnegie Hall website right now and their tagline is:
And, I have to be honest, what the hell does that even mean.
The brand of Carnegie Hall is pretty strong and special, but that tagline is pretty meaningless, if you ask me.
Because it is basically bad marketer buzzword.
The thing is that if I mention Carnegie Hall to someone on the street, it is going to evoke an emotional response in almost everyone.
Because Carnegie Hall is used as the height of a performing career…
You’ve heard the joke: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice! Practice! Practice!”
That’s real for a reason.
Carnegie Hall is one of the premeir destinations in the world…and yet they are selling themselves on their website like just another place?
The fact is many places do just that.
They undersell their experience and the outcome of spending a night with the performers in an beautiful setting.
That’s part of the reason that the value isn’t understood because it isn’t explained.
Don’t fall into that trap…focus on the outcome of the event and the specialness of the experience.
Am I wrong? Give me your thoughts in the comments section!