Selling The Benefit

There’s a good post from arts marketer Ruth Hartt where she recounts how difficult it is to find an arts and culture website that features a homepage hero section that focuses on patron over program.

Customer centric advertising is anything but new, but Hartt hits the nail on the head when she laments about how few arts and culture organizations put that approach into practice.

Having said that, she recently came across one example where the entire hero section does nothing but focus on delivering the patron benefit:

OA is highlighting a specific customer motivation that is entirely unrelated to art (“Help me escape from the mundane of my boring life so that I can be refreshed, inspired, and re-energized when I return to my job/my family.”)

That’s the thing about a customer-centric approach. When you sit down with arts sector customers and listen to their stories, you realize pretty quickly that the market category that you’re competing in is not music, or theater, or visual art. The category is the customer’s buying motivation.

Which is why, when you start thinking about your market in terms of the Job to Be Done (like “Help me escape from the mundane,”) the size of your target audience expands dramatically.

Granted, it’s not easy for most arts marketers to embrace benefit driven marketing.

Whether it’s internal push-pull factors making a case for why marketing messages need to concentrate on artistic and programming elements or your core audience that goes out of its way to make sure you know they only want to hear about those aforementioned selling points, there’s not much reward for taking these risks.

Even when those campaign are successful, the traditional undercurrent is always there, working to pull things back.

But I always like to say we can’t expect to catch up by going slower and looking at an end point requires unified vision.

To that end, the more we have this discussion, the sooner silos come down and the current eases up. Hartt’s post is a good entry in that conversation.

And in case you’re wondering, here’s that hero design from Opera Australia:

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.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment