UX Design


I recently learned a new concept: User Experience Design. (Thanks Devon Smith and Barry Hessenius–Barry's Blog Interview with Devon Smith.) Once again I find that a product development/management concept from the information technology world resonates with community engagement work. (I mentioned the idea of "community manager" in How to Engage.) The essence of UX Design is fairly self-explanatory. How can the experience of the end user of the … [Read more...]

Engaged Marketing: Sales

I am in the process of considering marketing as part of my ongoing series on mainstreaming community engagement–figuring out how to be engaged without adding a lot of new "stuff" to do. Here, I want to discuss how the sales process can be "engaging." (NB: In posts on mainstreaming engagement, I am addressing only those individuals or organizations that want broader and deeper relationships with their communities but are uncertain how to begin … [Read more...]

Engaged Marketing: Research

In my ongoing effort to imagine arts management structures/practices/programs in a community engagement context (what I call mainstreaming engagement), I'm in the midst of several posts attempting to do that with marketing. In the beginning (Engaged Marketing: Introduction), I discussed (with myself) what marketing is–a task not without its own difficulties. (My conclusions, grossly oversimplified, were that 1) Marketing included but was not … [Read more...]

Engaged Marketing: Introduction


Talk about "where angels fear to tread." OK, I'm going to start a series of posts dealing with marketing from a community engagement perspective. I simply ask for a little forbearance. I believe my difficulty is that people have in their heads so many different ideas about what marketing is. I began some of my early comments in this blog with what I now acknowledge to be a somewhat narrow (though largely unconscious) understanding that … [Read more...]

Brilliant Advice

I recently returned from the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Charlotte where I led a roundtable on mainstreaming engagement (pursuing all organizational systems from a community engagement perspective) and had a book signing. I had been concerned that I might feel like a fish out of water. (A pre-conference session was entitled "Monetizing Engagement" for heaven's sake!) On the whole I felt it was a worthwhile trip for me and I … [Read more...]



When I was a kid, I adored Camelot. There, I've said it out loud. (Well, to be more accurate, publicly.) There were many moments I loved. I'm only going to mention one here. When Lancelot is introduced he goes on at great length about how perfect he is for the Round Table. A knight of the Table Round should be invincible,/Succeed where a less fantastic man would fail./Climb a wall no one else can climb,/Cleave a dragon in record time,/Swim a … [Read more...]

How to Engage

I have been spending time of late trying to figure out the best path to engagement on the part of arts organizations. I am a firm believer that systemic engagement (mainstreamed engagement) is at heart the only way that will bear much fruit. Add-on activities won't get done. Seriously, where are the resources to do more? Or they will be marginalized internally and externally. Internal stakeholders will not see it as important; the community will … [Read more...]

Engagement Principles from a Marketer


In The Farmer and the Cowman I posited that arts marketers and community engagement advocates (in my case, probably "zealots" would be more appropriate) should be great friends and collaborators. In it I mentioned a series that Trevor O'Donnell (MARKETING THE ARTS TO DEATH) is doing on inexpensive approaches to marketing research. In another "hall of mirrors" moment of blogging, I was grinning ear to ear at his list of principles for marketing … [Read more...]

Focus Group or Story Circle

In my last post (Reinventing the Wheel), I talked about Roadside Theater's use of story circles in script development and relationship building. It was presented as one example of how arts organizations that have long focused on grassroots relationships have much to teach the rest of the arts community. In response, Roadside's director, Dudley Cocke, contacted me to amplify my point: Very few people have understood that all of Roadside's work is … [Read more...]

The Farmer and the Cowman


As I grow up (an incredibly slow and painful process, especially at age 60), I find myself, in spite of myself, learning things. One of the most revealing lessons I've more fully grasped in the last year is that arts marketers and community engagement advocates can and should be the best of friends. On first consideration, this is far from obvious. The two have vastly different ultimate goals, vastly divergent frames of reference. Marketers … [Read more...]