Keep These Marketing Talking Points Handy

Arts marketers spend most of their time thinking about communicating with potential ticket buyers but there are plenty of other points of contact to consider.

To that end, there’s a good piece at Muse by Damian Bazadona titled 7 Challenges of Marketing Live Events, Advertising’s High-Wire Act (h/t Scott Silberstein).  While I don’t think it was the author’s intent, I found the challenges he listed to function as talking points arts marketers can use when describing what they do to friends, colleagues, and yes, even board members.

“Feelings” are tricky.
Selling live events is also selling feelings, and not all feelings are for everyone. Selling an experience is less about the latest features and practical benefits, and more about the impact the experience could have on your soul. It’s an emotional transaction as much as a financial one.

Overpromising carries a sizable cost.
Advertising messages must reflect the experience itself. Marketers need to inspire action but do so without overpromising.

The final one applies to the orchestra field in particular. The use of over-the-top language is still far too common and it never hurts for a reality check on this every now and then.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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