Category: Arts and Culture Census

The Next Round of Add-in Dates – Arts & Culture Census

Is your organization doing everything it can to understand its audience? Do you do what other types of arts activities your audience members are participating in?

From a recent study published by the Wallace Foundation about arts marketing:

Arts organizations that want to build their audiences need to understand their audiences. That requires market research, and a number of conference participants talked about how gathering data – through focus groups, surveys or other methods – had been crucial to their work.

New Organizations may join the Arts & Culture Census group this May. The deadline to submit data is May 4, 2012. To join your peers from over 20 area arts organizations, email

What does the Arts & Culture Census offer your organization?A picture of a man next to a blackboard. Above his head are the words "target your patrons." An arrown is drawn on the blackboard. The arrow looks like it is going through his head.

The purpose of the Arts & Culture Census is to:

  • Simplify mailing list exchanges
  • Share list hygiene expenses
  • Identify a targeted, qualified and focused group of arts consumers
  • Examine consumer behavior through comparative market analysis

Lists can be traded with just a few clicks. The list exchange is permission-based and completely secure. Read the A&C Census FAQ online at

22 Participating Organizations

Academy Theatre • Artworks! Gwinnett • Atlanta Ballet • Atlanta Jewish Music Festival • Atlanta Lyric Theatre • Atlanta Opera • Atlanta Shakespeare Company • Brooks & Company Dance • CORE • C4 Atlanta • Essential Theatre • Full Radius Dance • Georgia Ballet • Georgia State School of Music • Kennesaw State University College of the Arts • MINT Gallery • North Fulton Drama Club • Rialto Center for the Arts • Schwartz Center for Performing Arts • Serenbe Playhouse • Synchronicity Theatre • WonderRoot

Additional Information

In 2012, we will expand this program to include:

  • Training workshops
  • Relevant panel discussions
  • User Group Meetings
  • Blog site for the Arts & Culture Census users – articles, best practices, & more!
  • Hosting TRG Arts in Atlanta for a special training session with members

Join your peers today. Email today!

An Analytics Tool You Should Know About

One tool we like to show artists and arts organization is Quantcast. Similar in spirit to Google Analytics (also a great tool), Quantcast allows site owners to gather data about visitors to their websites. Unlike Google Analytics, the information is available to the public. If your site doesn’t receive a ton of traffic like popular commercial sites, then Quantcast doesn’t really have enough data to supply information on usage, demographics, etc. However, there is a solution! Quantcast will help you generate a code tag to paste into your site. This allows your site to be “Quantified!” If this sounds to “techie” for your liking, don’t worry. The Quantcast site/support team will help you with adding this piece of code to your site. In deed, our site has been quantified. Wanna see?

What we found out using Quantcast…

Well, our visitors are highly educated & poor. This makes sense, as according the National Endowment for the Arts’, Artist in the Workforce findings, artists are not unemployed but remain severely underemployed, despite typically having more education than other U.S. workers.

Two pie charts. One shows high education, graduate level. The other shows low income.
C4 Atlanta Website - Education vs. Income

We also discovered that while our online audience is majority Caucasian, the C4 Atlanta website receives above average usage from African American visitors (compared to the whole internet) at 19%.

Bar chart showing site user ethnicity
C4 Atlanta Website Users - Ethnicity


How do they find that data? And isn’t it a little creepy?

Quantcast provides some info as to how they collect this information. If I had to guess, the info is tied to IP address and that address is tied to a physical address. They use direct measurement mixed with machine learning. The U.S. Census would be an example of direct measurement.

About creepy…

Remember the phone book? Once upon a time we could look up any person’s (unless they suppressed their contact info) address and phone number in an easy-to-use guide that made great use of very thin paper. Quantcast doesn’t reveal that information about people. It’s all aggregate. Also:

Quantcast Measurement is the first and only syndicated online traffic measurement service to gain MRC accreditation for compliance with IAB measurement standards.

That’s good. Very good.

As far as marketing is concerned, I think consumers are in control. It may not feel like it, but marketers want to get to know us. We tell them what we want advertised to us. Sometimes, we are right. Sometimes they get it right. But as we get deeper and deeper into a service economy, consumer voice is going to more important than ever. Building relationships with your patrons or audiences is key to survival. That relationship starts with understanding your core.

To review:

  • Visit Quantcast
  • Get a code to track info on your site
  • Insert code
  • Check out the marketing tips on how to use such data. Quantcast has some cool tips.
  • Use the demographic info as one of many tools in your toolkit to help measure mission impact
  • Have fun! Charts and graphs are pretty.

It’s 8 PM. Do you know where your patrons are?

The Atlanta Arts & Culture Census can help you find them!

Arts patrons look board watching T.V.
Your Arts Patrons

Join your peers in the Atlanta Arts & Culture Census this March. The Arts & Culture Census is brought to our community through a partnership with TRG Arts, one of America’s most respected marketing consulting companies. Nearly 400,000 unique arts patron households currently represented!

We will be adding more companies to the Arts & Culture Census March 2, 2012. The deadline to express interest in being a part of the Arts & Culture Census is Friday, February 17, 2012.

What can the Arts & Culture Census do for my organization?

  • Get to know your patrons
  • Discover how to find new patrons
  • Secure list trading with your peers in just a few clicks of the mouse
  • Identify areas of growth and collaboration within the Atlanta region
  • Pull instant demographic reports for board meetings, grant proposals & more

How do I join the Arts & Culture Census?
Fill out this short interest form!

What do your peers think?

Atlanta Ballet has been both a consultant and database client of TRG since 2005.  TRG’s knowledge of performing arts marketing and specific focus on database marketing have been invaluable.  Their eMerge product has allowed Atlanta Ballet to create an aggressive direct communications marketing plan using mail, email and phone as methods to stay in touch with our existing and future patrons.   The launch of a community arts database in Atlanta will allow us to continue to grow strong arts patrons by reaching out to non-ballet patrons, and allowing other organizations to connect with Atlanta Ballet patrons., creating stronger arts patrons who crossover multiple Atlanta arts organizations. -Tricia Ekhom, The Atlanta Ballet

Although we had a broad understanding of our Schwartz Center arts patrons, we didn’t have much real data to support our media buys and who we were targeting. Once our info was loaded in TRG, I could easily print out demographic reports–showing zip codes and demographics like age, income and buying habits. Some of the research data was surprising to us; particularly the average age being a bit younger than we thought. The Arts & Culture Census has also made requesting mail lists from other arts organizations a breeze. – Jessica Cook, Emory Arts, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts

Organizations currently participating in the Atlanta Arts & Culture Census (as of 01/16/2012)

  • Academy Theatre
  • ArtWorks! Gwinnett
  • Atlanta Ballet
  • Atlanta Jewish Music Festival
  • Atlanta Lyric Theatre
  • Atlanta Opera
  • Brooks & Company Dance
  • CORE Performance Company
  • Essential Theatre
  • Full Radius Dance
  • Georgia State University School of Music
  • Kennesaw State University College of the Arts
  • MINT Gallery
  • North Fulton Drama Club
  • Rialto Center for the Arts
  • Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts
  • Synchronicity Performance Group
  • The Georgia Ballet
  • The New American Shakespeare Tavern
  • WonderRoot

Reflections on an Arts Forum

Last night we attended a public arts forum with Mayor Reed. As always, any time we get to sit in a room with an elected official — no matter whether we agree with the official’s policies and positions — in such an intimate setting, it is a privilege. We would like to first take this moment to thank Mayor Reed for his time and attention, and for receiving the challenge the community offered him to more strongly stand for the arts.

Among the many comments yesterday, two stood out to me precisely because they seemed to be among the least welcome comments in the room while they were spoken.

The first person appeared to be the youngest one in the room — she stood up in response to the question, “What role does art and culture play in supporting quality of life?” During her speech, she was ignored by some in the room. Perhaps its because the youngest among us are also those with the least access to money or other resources. Granted, she was not the most eloquent person to speak (and nor was I when I spoke, quite frankly). But she offered concrete examples of some of the ways citizens have used the arts as a tool for community improvement.

And this is the point I believe she was getting at: that the arts serve as an effective tool for citizen engagement — whether through community festivals, public art (temporary or permanent), productions, and so on. Some art is produced and presented by professionals, and some art is produced through collaborations with audiences.

This is why there is no “silver bullet” or “unified theory” type of answer as to why the arts are important. As a tool for civic engagement, artists collaborate with people in many sectors of the economy for a wide variety of community benefits: quality education, crime prevention, economic development, and so on. I believe this was part of the speaker’s point.

The second person who caught my attention made what seemed to be some of the most controversial remarks in the forum. He stood up to answer the question, “What type of infrastructure does art and culture need to support initiatives noted above?” He spoke forcefully of the burden of having to go through a lengthy and expensive process to obtain a liquor license for his for-profit improv theater space. It’s probably an understatement to say that his remarks didn’t quite meet with approval from the rest of the audience for a number of reasons — more reasons than I could adequately describe here.

However, I do want to bring out a larger point from this remark. I believe it is one that affects everyone who works in the arts, whether for-profit or non-profit. It happens very often in forums like these that we tend to compare our city’s arts ecosystem with those in other cities. “Chicago does ABC — why don’t we?” “Austin does XYZ — why don’t we?” Comparisons like these are fair, and should be sources of inspiration. Whether in our comparisons to other places, or in our own right, we should never apologize for aspiring to become a better city, a better region, or a better state.

It is in that spirit that I would offer comparisons between Atlanta and the sort of city or region we would like for this place to become. Georgia is one of very few states where non-profit arts organizations must charge sales taxes. This, of course, is an economic burden on those who choose to participate in the arts — and these taxes disproportionately affect those who are least able to afford them. This policy also limits the number of options arts administrators have in choosing the best ticketing software for their companies.

Atlanta also burdens its arts industry through euclidean zoning ordinances that have the effect of separating arts organizations from the communities they are meant to serve. Why should art spaces only exist in commercial or non-residential districts?

To put it succinctly, there is a point here that could very well be argued: that Atlanta’s artists and arts organizations are taxed more, regulated more and funded less than their peers in competing cities. We do not have the data to make this argument unequivocally, but it is an argument worth considering. After all, there are also ways Atlanta competes favorably with New York City — much love to New York, but y’all don’t have everything.

Our job, as we see it, is to help make Atlanta a more interesting place for artists. But we’re humble enough to say out loud we can’t do it all ourselves. That’s why we look to the best practices found in other cities and form partnerships with other service providers to offer the best services at the lowest cost to the community.

We also look to you for your leadership and support. It’s one thing for us to say as a community that more funding is needed. And it is needed; we must continue to demonstrate how much value we create for our communities, even as we tend to capture very little of that value. But it’s also another thing entirely to generate additional support from the public by keeping our base of support motivated. It is not enough to create a strategic plan that relies on the miracle principle to sell more tickets.

As a tool for civic engagement, the arts are clearly important to the life of our communities. Support for the arts creates a super-multiplier effect that goes unappreciated when its not adequately measured. Let’s work together to make a strong case of support. In these tough economic times, it’s more important than ever to make the case, rather than excuses.

Know your patrons?

Do you know what your patrons look like? Do they donate to your company? Do they have kids? What do they like to buy?

Do you have a picture in your head? Good. Imagine that people who don’t see your shows, visit your art openings or attend your lectures are out there aimlessly wandering around waiting to learn about your organization. Imagine that those friendly wanderers look an awful lot like your current patrons. How do you reach them?

We can agree that knowing your patrons is a good idea, right? You need to know everything about your patrons because chances are you haven’t exhausted all avenues to reach and retain them.

What excites us about the Arts & Culture Census: it helps the Atlanta region’s arts community connect more meaningfully to patrons. The more avenues your organization has to reaching audiences that look, act, and behave like current patrons, the less money, time and frustration your staff will spend on marketing initiatives. Even if you know your patrons, making assumptions (without data) about all of the region’s arts consumers provides an anecdotal approach to marketing at best.

What the Arts & Culture Census is NOT: A replacement for your current ticketing system.

The data co-op is designed to augment marketing strategies for maximum impact. We get a lot of questions about Tessitura. TRG’s system is not designed to compete or replace Tessitura, or any ticketing system. It is designed to help create an efficient means to cultivate, grow and retain patrons. It is designed to foster community collaboration. You should have in place a system (whether it be software or a comprehensive marketing plan) to help you track and understand your patrons. The Arts & Culture Census allows you to not only look at your patrons, but you can get to know the habits of patrons in other disciplines, companies, regions, etc. You can also track where your patrons are spending arts bucks elsewhere. Maybe this leads to some creative marketing between two companies? Maybe it tells you that your assumptions are correct? Maybe you will be surprised!

When It Comes to Marketing, Your Gut Is Still Not Smarter Than Your Head

A more audacious goal…

C4 Atlanta is an arts service organization. We have goals for the ENTIRE arts community. It is our hope that this service will encourage a standard of marketing accessible to all budget sizes, disciplines and audiences. The more we share information, support each other and raise awareness as a community, the more we are visible within the entire Atlanta ecosystem. The more we are all elevated to success, the stronger we all become.

Join us

Not only will your membership allow you access to the Arts & Culture Census, but you will also be supporting community-wide social innovation initiatives. It has been a tough couple of years for many of us in the arts community. When I was laid off, my world was turned upside down. So I understand that paying membership isn’t necessarily on the top of your to-do list. But I am asking you to invest in the long term. To look ahead at the possibility of greatness. I believe that a strong recovery comes with the right long-term investment. I believe in an Atlanta community where the arts are at the forefront of innovation. Join C4 Atlanta.

Interested, but you need more info? Email

— Jessyca Holland, Executive Director

P.S. – Direct mail is still relevant.

Young Adults Prefer Offline Marketing Offers

Direct Mail vs. Social Media Marketing & Email


Initial Results: Atlanta Arts and Culture Census

Where does Atlanta’s arts community stand in terms of patronage? For the first time, we have community-level data that gives us a glimpse at enough of this picture to draw some pretty significant conclusions. Community data was compiled by TRG Arts. Thank you, TRG!

Using data from 18 participating arts and culture organizations from the Atlanta region, we’ve found:

  • Atlanta’s arts and culture organizations serve the entire community, not just a few groups here or there.
  • Audiences and patrons for Atlanta’s arts and culture institutions come from all 50 states.
  • The largest concentration of arts audiences can be found in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, including Cobb County, North Fulton County, and Gwinnett County.

Granted, the data from the Arts and Culture Census is not yet complete. In fact, this initiative has only just begun. So far, between the 18 participating organizations, there are 370,671 households accounted for. Over the coming three months, more organizations will join in the Arts and Culture Census.

At C4 Atlanta, we believe that data can be used not simply for “measurement,” but to help arts organizations create real relationships with their audiences. That means each organization should have real facts about who they serve, not just supposition. That also means we, as a service organization, should also have real facts about who we serve.

PDF: More Info and Data (Charts Included)

If your organization’s data is not represented here, take a moment to learn more about the Arts and Culture Census. Then please feel free to contact us to see if participation would be right for you.

What is a crossover report, and why does it matter?

Statistics may be defined as “a body of methods for making wise decisions in the face of uncertainty.” — W. A. Wallis

How often do you find yourself making assumptions about your patrons, and basing your marketing decisions on those assumptions? It’s a fair-enough practice, considering that you do not always have all the information you need to prove your assumptions right (or wrong).

One of the most powerful tools offered in the Arts and Culture Census is the crossover report. Take a bunch of aggregate data, fold it over onto itself, and use the results to smash your most firmly held assumptions. But what does that mean?

Take, for example, your patrons. How many of them come back, and how often? Out of all your audiences who saw “Sweeney Todd,” how many of them saw “A Christmas Carol?” How many of each of those audiences were donors at your hundred-dollar level?

You may or may not already know the answers to these questions. The tools offered to you in the Arts and Culture Census are easy enough to let you create these reports in just a few mouse clicks.

But if you could only use your own data in these reports, that wouldn’t tell you a whole lot. With each additional participating organization, you get access to create crossover reports that compare your patrons with those from other organizations — or even from the field as a whole.

How many visual arts patrons are also theatre patrons, or music, or dance? The answers may surprise you. And it’s those surprises that provide you with valuable information for your marketing efforts.

Crossover reports will provide you with insight into potential new audiences. These reports help you discover the largest crossover areas between your patrons and those of other organizations and disciplines. Using that information, your organization can save money on more targeted outreach efforts in promoting to new audiences.

What is Psychographic Data & Why Should I Care About it?

How is this different from demographic information? How do I use this information?

I want to take a small moment of your time to define, “psychographic” data. I found a pretty simple description via “How Stuff Works.”  Why am I talking about pshchographic information? Because the Arts & Culture Census makes psychographic information available to participating arts organizations. Here is the type of information to expect. Get to know your audiences better!


Even though you may have determined your demographic group, people within that group still have very different perceptions about the benefits or value of your product and will be motivated for different reasons. These differences are known as psychographics. To further target your efforts, you’ve got to determine not only who buys (or will buy) your product, but what makes them want to buy it. Include as much psychographic information as you can dig up, such as what their spending patterns are, whether they are brand conscious when it comes to your product type, what influences their buying behavior, what promotional efforts they respond to most often, etc. You also want to know how they go about buying it and what you can do to encourage them to buy more. You need this information so you can, in effect, clone your best customers. It is important to really pick apart what motivates them to buy.

The information you glean from a journey into your target audience’s brain is often key to your marketing efforts, particularly the positioning of your product. It includes the audience’s activities, interests, and opinions. You have to work through behavioral factors, economic factors, and even interpersonal factors to get to the root of purchasing behavior. Answer these questions in your overview:

  • What do they like about your product?
  • What do they like about your competitor’s product?
  • What made them decide to buy your product?
  • Did they know which brand they were buying before they purchased it?
  • What advertising messages had they seen prior to buying?
  • How much disposable or discretionary income is available for this type of purchase?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What emotional aspects impact their purchase?
  • What is their social class or status?
  • Who is the actual decision-maker for this type of purchase?
  • What values and attitudes play a part in this type of purchase?
  • Who do they look to when making purchasing decisions?

Now that you know your target market and market segments, define your market using concrete numbers and percentages. In other words, how many users do you currently have and how many potential users exist for your product or service? If you are offering a regional service and have found that there are 80,000 potential customers in your geographic area, then this is where you put that information.

Explain the growth and other changes you see in the market and how the competition is failing, flailing or flourishing as a result. Include some market history if it applies to your product and market. Refer to the statistics and data you’ve discovered through your market research and be sure to quote the source and date.