The More Arts Marketing Changes, The More it Stays the Same

Posted by Ms. Ruby Lopez Harper, Oct 15, 2018 0 comments

I wanted to write a succinct and direct opening to our week-long arts marketing blog salon—something catchy and engaging—something witty and amusing. As I read over the blogs you’ll see this week, I realized that the reality in which arts marketers exist is anything but catchy, engaging, witty, or amusing. It is hard work. It is, in some cases, thankless work—it is, in short, WORK. Every day, every season, every cycle, every program—arts marketers are charged with affecting an organization’s earned revenue, voice and message, tone and personality. The tools and resources are many, and deciding which to use can be daunting.

Marketing is everyone’s job. Understanding what and how, even in a minimal way, can generally make the job of the arts marketer a little easier. Last year, I presented a session at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC) in Memphis on Communicating Value. It was an interesting exercise to understand how much the work of an arts marketer has changed over the years and yet remains the same. We still work to create engaging and regular content for audiences to consume. We provide insider peeks, insider access, insider perks, all while managing and facilitating interaction and relationships with audiences.

This week, you’ll hear from a broad range of professionals. Those with 20+ years in the field and those newer in their journey. They have expertise in audience development, accessibility, planning, and research. The overarching theme to all the blogs is that it takes thoughtfulness, intentionality, awareness, and drive to entice, engage, and retain audiences. It takes creativity to ensure consistency without being stale or stodgy or, worse, out of touch/sync. It takes alignment with organizational goals and priorities to guide and inform the message that arts marketing professionals then enhance and breathe into life.

This week, you’ll find tips, thought-provoking questions, and “lessons learned” to add to your toolkit. You’ll get a taste of some of the topics we will cover during the National Arts Marketing Project Conference Nov. 9-12 in Seattle that will kick off our year of learning in 2019. And you’ll get a chance to hear that you aren’t alone in your journey. You aren’t alone in the work, and you aren’t alone in your excitement-mixed-with-frustration as you continue to do more with less and navigate the delicacies of your organization’s authenticity and brand.

Part of the NAMP community at last year's conference in Memphis.

What we hope you get from this week’s blog salon is a sense of community. We’re all working to figure it out. I hope you get insights that will help you prioritize and focus. We hope you get a new list of professionals you can connect with at NAMPC or during upcoming trainings. We hope you get a validation of tactics and strategies that continue to work, even when they may feel like they don’t. While the landscape changes, and the methods are changing with them, some things will stay the same. Authenticity, thoughtfulness, intentionality, and consistency—those things will never go out of style.


The “Optimizing Your Arts Marketing Practice” blog salon is presented by Montalvo Arts Center.

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