It use to be that the success of arts marketers was dependent on how well they could predict the future and then pray for success. But those days are over. Today, arts marketers can rely on data analysis and market research to make well thought out strategic decisions.
I, for one, am glad that marketers no longer have to rely future telling because marketing is an essential part of the arts experience. As a jazz trombonist, I had to learn how to market myself to land gigs and then market my gigs so that people would come to them. Arts organizations have to do the same. But they must market their organization as well as individual performances.
Several years ago Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) ran an institutional marketing campaign with the theme “BAM and then it hits you”. The message they conveyed was that the experience at BAM lingered long after you left. This campaign excited people about BAM as an entire organization, as opposed to a singular performance.
There are countless other examples of successful marketing campaigns in the arts. As emerging arts leaders I think it is essential we pay attention to trends in marketing. What are the latest trends in arts marketing? How do arts marketers use data analysis and market research to make strategic decisions? What type of programming is becoming most difficult to market? There are an endless amount of questions we can ask.
This Sunday April 7th, the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University will feature a panel discussion to answer these marketing questions and more. What questions do you have about arts marketing today?
The panelists for the Marketing Trends panel include:
Jennifer Buzzell – Strathmore: Jennifer Buzzell is the Vice President for Marketing and Communications at Strathmore, a multi-disciplinary arts center in North Bethesda, MD. Accomplishments at Strathmore include leading the efforts to be the first arts organization in the D.C. area to allow patrons to select their exact seats online; starting an innovative grass-roots and guerilla marketing program that reaches out to sell tickets and raise awareness through non-traditional means; spearheading the efforts with the Strathmore staff to have Strathmore branded as a leader in customer service for the arts in the D.C. area by not charging customers separately for parking and ticketing fees and allowing all patrons to exchange concert tickets; and moving from a subscription-based sales model to a single ticket/membership based sales model (Strathmore Stars). Jen has a Masters in Arts Management from American University, and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Boston University. She was named the Montgomery County 2012 Emerging Arts Leader by County Executive Ike Leggett and Catherine Leggett, accompanied by proclamations from Senator Barbara Mikulski, the State of Maryland and Montgomery County. Jen is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery (2009), and serves on the Board of Directors of The Bach Sinfonia, and committees for the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington and Wheaton Urban District. She lives in Wheaton, MD with her husband Jeremy and children Zoe and Myles.
JoAnn LaBrecque-French – The Washington Ballet: JoAnn LaBrecque-French is currently Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for The Washington Ballet. Her extensive background in performing arts includes working as the Director of Marketing and Communications for Washington National Opera; Director of Marketing and Communications for Houston Grand Opera; Public Relations Manager of Los Angeles Opera; and as an Account Executive with Davidson & Choy Publicity, one of Los Angeles’ premier arts and entertainment firms. Prior to coming to Washington, DC, Ms. LaBrecque-French was the Director of Program Resources at Neuhaus Education Center, a professional teacher development organization where she developed and implemented marketing, website, communications and on-line teacher-training initiatives. Her expertise encompasses traditional and nontraditional marketing, communications, and advertising with an emphasis in branding, positioning, media and community partnerships, website development, and incorporating electronic and social media and community outreach into comprehensive and multidimensional external institutional campaigns. Ms. LaBrecque-French’s consulting client list includes Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet, CalArts, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Khady Kamara – Arena Stage: Khady Kamara joined the Arena Stage in 2001 as a Subscriptions Manager and has been an integral member of the Communications team through her work in Audience Services eventually being promoted to Director of Audience Services before taking over as the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications. Under her leadership, Arena’s sales team repeatedly broke box office sales records for a number of shows, including South Pacific, Sophisticated Ladies, Oklahoma!, and Red. Ms. Kamara successfully administered the recent upgrade and transition of Arena’s ticketing software to meet the ever changing needs of its growing patron base. Her work was integral in the success of Arena’s temporary residency in Crystal City and the opening of the Mead Center for American Theater the fall of 2010. During Ms. Kamara’s tenure, group sales revenue has more than doubled in scope and range of audiences reached. She also pioneered unprecedented efforts to maximize donations with single ticket purchases. Khady is the recipient of national and local awards acknowledging her service and professionalism, including the 2009 Outstanding Box Office Award on behalf of Arena Stage from the International Ticketing Association (INTIX) and as a 2009 Offstage Award Honoree from the League of Washington Theatres (LWOT).
Jack Rasmussen – American University: Jack Rasmussen is the Director and Curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. He previously held Executive Director positions at di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature, Maryland Art Place, and Rockville Arts Place. He was the owner and director of Jack Rasmussen Gallery in Washington, DC. More information can be found on his blog.