Panel Recap – Integrated Marketing

Target Your Patrons

May 31, 2012 – C4 Atlanta and Rediscover Print hosted a panel discussion at the Atlanta Ballet’s Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre. A big “thank you” to our awesome panel:

Read Panel Bios

I am also grateful to Tricia Eckholm, Atlanta Ballet’s Director of Marketing for helping us organize and moderate. Tricia also hooked us up with the sweet venue for the event.

Download the audio recording of this session – At the end of the blog!

A recap (in my own words):

The first presenter was Jeanette Bryant, Appleton Coated. Jeanette opened with re-framing the old joke “what is black & white and red (or read) all over?” to “what is black & white, read all over, and comes alive and pops out at you?” Jeanette was illustrating how the digital age has changes the landscape for marketers (and audiences). How we consume information has evolved; however, she cautioned arts organizations against getting rid of print marketing for some very good reasons:

1 – print is portable – think about the number of patrons who like to keep the program after the show.

2 – Print is personal – we get to touch it. It can be designed to speak specifically to a targeted audience

3 – Even using digital messaging, you need print to be a gateway. QR codes are a great example. More often than not, a QR code is found on a postcard, flyer, program, brochure, business card, etc. All are print materials.

Jeanette talked a little bit about QR codes. My biggest takeaway: use a QR code to direct a person to a special site or call to action. Avoid using a QR code to take a person to your “brochure site.” QR Codes can go to a microsite.

Our next guest was Lynn Miller from Printheads. Lynn used her own experience building her company as a case study for marketing a business. She gave some great examples of packets she put together to get noticed. What I really took away from Lynn’s presentation was the emphasis on planning. I know this seems really simple, but if you don’t have a marketing plan then you will not know if your marketing tactics are working. You waste money and precious time.

We always recommend that artists set marketing goals along with program goals in an overall development plan. For example, if you know you need to sell x amount of painting, tickets or whatever to make x amount of money, then work backwards from your deadline (day of show or gallery opening). Set dates for when you need to place an ad in the paper, hire a graphic designer, mail out postcards, etc. Have an actionable plan and record your progress. It is not easy, but it will save you money and time AND like Lynn’s story, you will get results.

Sherry from RGI talked about several great tactics for marketing. She also echoed Lynn’s emphasis on planning.

Sherry also emphasized targeting a market. We preach this ALL the time. This is why we are so passionate about our Arts & Culture Census program. If you don’t know your patrons, then how can you develop meaning, lasting relationships with them. It takes way more money to get a new patron then it does to retain those your already have.

Sherry also mentioned these juicy marketing vocabulary words:

(check out this article from Technology in the Arts)

Finally, we heard from Stephanie, Prographics. Stephanie emphasized the need to measure your marketing efforts. She urged arts organizations to use measurement to build meaningful relationships with patrons. She also outlined the key pieces any business needs to “test” their marketing message or to target market: a physical address, phone number and email. Collect data, data, data.

For those smaller organizations who are not collecting addresses, this is where I say, “tsk , tsk.” It is imperative that you collect that data! If you are not collecting the proper data, then what else are you missing? How do you measure your demographic reporting for grants, mission reach, etc.? How do you build relationships with your patrons?

I did not take extensive notes during the Q&A. To hear questions from your peers, I would suggest listening to the audio (see below).

If you would like to talk more about arts marketing, hit me up!


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