There are more Museums in the USA than Starbucks & Mc Donald's combined. Art is everywhere around your neighborhood , from the County Dance center to Art Basel, Lincoln Center to The Smithsonian...Meanwhile, beyond the Time Out, Goldstar & a few niche digital players, more and more Arts & Culture digital portals , Apps or magazines are flourishing across the country, vying to bring consumers and Art aficionados , aggregate calendars or targeted events for them to attend. It seems that Art marketing is becoming of age, trying to optimize its R.O.I. and leverage the power of Digital & social media to better spread & engage with a wider audience beyond their captive following.
However, beware of a few pitfalls for both burgeoning and experienced Art marketers :
it's all about the EXPERIENCE with Art and the STORYTELLING: rather than just pushing an exhibit, a show or an artist, what the general public craves is a special interaction with it: some of the key challenges to Arts & Culture being still reserved to an elite are accessibility and education: so if you bring consumers an easy, engaging opportunity to experience something that too often seems remote, it will resonate with a wider audience: be it through an Art tour, a ground breaking Science exhibit , a slick editorial piece or a user-friendly website, the angle and the format , sometimes more than the art itself, will lead to a wider appeal & success; that's how some of the biggest Arts fairs, Theaters or Museums have grown into such commercial successes and recognized brands, even in the field of underfunded Art.
allocate BUDGET based upon FOCUS / CONCENTRATION: no spreading / sprinkling all over....Approach your budget allocation / arbitration with care: under $ 100k, your investment should be not spread beyond a handful of carefully selected channels and platforms of choice (preferably scaled to your audience & geo location, properly vetted in terms of analytics i.e. audited circulation & readership, unique visitors, clicks or sign-ups , demographics profile etc...).Print or traditional media can be a start but leverage the power of Digital to its maximum since it offers a better impact for a targeted audience , thus measurable in many ways: ask for stats, there is no reason why you should not get previous campaign results, CPM, CPC, click-through etc...If you are not being offered these metrics from past campaigns or from verified third party sources (Google analytics, Internet Advertising Bureau, Adobe, Comscore etc..) move onto a more professional , trustworthy partner...
find your UNIQUE personality & COLOR: so many Arts & Culture or Artists fall into the trap of lining up with some generally accepted codes that they have seen around: if anything, Arts businesses & venues should be a mosaic of diversity also when it comes to MESSAGING: splash your marketing with the color of your identity, your space or your art itself, be CREATIVE, find DISRUPTIVE ways of standing out in CONTENT but also in MESSAGING: be original, speak to your audience as if they were an insider, your cast and crew, who will remember you long after they see your banner AD among a thousand others...Go ahead, it's ART, not detergent or Insurance that you are marketing ! ENJOY and make a SPLASH !
learn the SCIENCE behind the Art of MARKETING: every campaign, every banner, every event should bring a lesson-learned: how did it work ? was it seen, did it engage the audience , what did trigger ACTION or make the Return On Investment ? If you can't answer these questions, you can't repeat: renew the format, explore new media/ partner, question the initial objective or metrics of success...That's how you learn in marketing and get smarter.