Will Lester: “Let the Numbers Speak for Themselves”


Will Lester is Vice President of Network Programs at TRG Arts, a data-driven consulting firm specializing in pricing and patron loyalty. TRG also has the distinction of managing 20 community data networks throughout the U.S. While the networks began as a way for arts organizations to share lists of patron contact information to cross-promote events, they’re now growing into a robust arts community resource, allowing for research on audience … [Read more...]

Gene Carr: “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”


With all the news of government monitoring of cell phone and Internet records, I thought it opportune to ask Gene Carr, the founder and CEO of Patron Technology to share his thoughts on the implications to the arts & cultural sector of innovations in technology, databases and more. The adage that “with great power comes great responsibility” seems appropriate for all sorts of companies that gather and manage patron databases. What advice … [Read more...]

The Drive to Audience Avenue


Please let me invite you to visit the new and just-launched website of my company, Audience Avenue:  www.AudienceAvenue.com. If your priority is audience-building, then you'll be happy to find a central location for new ideas, practical applications, important resources and the connection of similarly interested people from throughout the arts & cultural sector.  In my hopes & dreams, this is the first step toward the idea of a Massive … [Read more...]

Resolutions for a Happy New (Fiscal) Year!


"White. A blank page of canvas. His favorite. So many possibilities." The very last line of Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George expresses the kind of optimism that deservedly arrives with the start of every new project & every new year, even a new fiscal year. A fresh start. A clean slate. Square one. Tabula Rasa A New Beginning There may be nothing more empowering to the human mind than the chance to start … [Read more...]

Silly Little Mistakes


"Silly little mistakes add up." When our kids were in grade school, that's how my wife and I impressed upon them the need to double (and triple) check their tests and school assignments before submitting them. Silly little mistakes reveal gaps in our thoughtfulness.  They are places where we give back points for no purposeful reason.  Each is (at best) a nugget of carelessness and (at worst) an unconditional moment of surrender. Over … [Read more...]

The Rising Ick Factor

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This really isn't news: That credit bureaus monitor our actions and marketing agencies score our consumer propensities is well known. That we routinely sign-up for mailing lists and make all sorts of on-line purchases without bothering to even read the privacy policy, is commonly accepted. That Facebook, Google, Amazon and who-knows-how-many other on-line systems track our clicks, preferences and patterns to deliver fundamental parts … [Read more...]

Massive On-Line Library of Arts Marketing Resources


You'll never have to start "from scratch" again. Have you heard of the massive on-line library that collects, evaluates, catalogs and shares high-quality/non-proprietary work samples among nonprofit arts & cultural organizations? Recognizing that 1) so many of the administrative, marketing and fundraising staff of arts & cultural organizations arrive at their positions from OUTSIDE the sector and without any specific arts & … [Read more...]

The Enemy is Empty Seats

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Do empty seats make you angry? They should!  They should make you BOILING MAD. Each empty seat represents a direct cost: the wasted expenditure of advertising, the loss of immediate cash flow, pressure to increase ticket prices and/or spend even more on marketing, a diminished pool of future donors. Each empty seat also carries the indirect cost of the APPEARANCE OF FAILURE to artists, audiences, members & donors, visitors, … [Read more...]

A Rose By Any Other Name … Doesn’t Sell

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"Sometimes, We Want Prices to Fool Us" is the title of today's New York Times article that notes that "...most shoppers, coupon collectors or not, want the thrill of getting a great deal, even if it’s an illusion." You want proof?  The article reports that J.C. Penney suffered a whopping 25 percent drop in sales  over the last year due to its decision to stop promoting sales and offering coupons and instead focus entirely on offering “everyday” … [Read more...]


Pathways 2

The word rolled off his tongue so easily, I almost didn't catch it. Steve Martin is the Managing Director of Childsplay, the renowned professional theatre company here in the Phoenix area whose chosen audience is children. We were discussing the evolving nature of the cause of “audience development” and the various implications of its growing number of metaphors – pathways, on-ramps, entrances, channels, passages, approaches, avenues, … [Read more...]