About Audience Wanted

For too long, arts & cultural marketers have operated under the premise that the key to their organization’s success is to “pick the low hanging fruit.”

I have come to reject that premise.

Fundamental changes in personal interests & economics – coupled with advances in technology and social media – are radically transforming every aspect of why and how audiences choose to engage.

There is no virtue left in the concept that organizations should “harvest” audience transactions rather than cultivate meaningful and on-going audience relationships.

Shrinking budgets have diminished (and in some cases destroyed) organizations’ capacities to pursue goals beyond those that generate an immediate return on investment.  Organizations are working harder than ever to accomplish less and less.

If it is true that necessity is the mother of invention, then the arts & cultural sector is due for a veritable RENAISSANCE of theories, explorations, tests & practices.

The needs are great – so now is the time to innovate!

In this blog, we will:

  • Examine questions of TACTICS:  What do audiences want, need and expect?  Who is innovating?  What new technologies show promise?  How can we learn from the experiences of others?
  • Evaluate questions of STRATEGY:  Where do we expect audiences to come from?  What does meaningful engagement look like?  What might we learn from other sectors?  What long-held beliefs deserve to be challenged?

I’m tempted to say that nothing is sacred in this evaluation.  But that’s not quite true.  I believe in artistic integrity.  I support artistic vision.  I respect artistic mission.  The drive to increase audience participation should NEVER come at the expense of artistic quality or intent.  That much IS sacred.

We begin with the most basic truth:  Every arts & cultural experience requires an audience.

So, our first step is to post the proverbial sign in the window that sums up what we most desire right now.

The sign reads:  “Audience Wanted.”


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