Earlier this year, my friend and colleague Matt Lehrman of Audience Avenue asked to interview me for his ArtsJournal.com blog on audience building. I was thrilled to participate, and below are the responses to a couple of his questions.
Allow me to offer you these two tablets…how would YOU write the 10 Commandments of classical music audience engagement?
- Thou shalt not ignore the different interests and needs of your community and/or audience segments.
- Thou shalt not assume that your internal likes, dislikes, habits, traditions and expectations are better than those of the patrons you serve.
- Thou shalt not assume that everyone in your community knows about classical music and that your masterworks will sell themselves.
- Thou shalt not alienate your patrons through poor customer service tactics and rigid, inflexible, outdated, non-patron-friendly policies.
- Thou shalt not try to cut your way to success. (Thank you, Michael Kaiser.)
- Thou shalt reflect your community’s unique culture in your programming, collaborations and outreach programs.
- Thou shalt be open-minded, experimental and brave when making programming decisions. Marketing is a lot more effective when the product is fantastic.
- Thou shalt believe in soliciting input from others and looking outside of the bubble.
- Thou shalt participate in transparent communication, planning and decision-making processes.
- Thou shalt commit to what is presented on stage by investing in a unified vision, your artistic product, your marketing engine and your musicians.
What do you recommend reading for arts & cultural leaders who wish to keep an eye on the advancement of the cause of audience-building in the area of classical music?
Only a few of the recommended books and articles below are directly related to classical music, but I think they’re important reading for those involved in audience development/engagement and arts marketing.
- Poke the Box
- Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
- Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
- Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
- The Art of the Turnaround: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations by Michael M. Kaiser
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
- Rengen (Renaissance Generation): The Rise of the Cultural Consumer – and What It Means to Your Business by Patricia Martin
- Not for the Likes of You: How to Reach a Broader Audience (a hat tip to David Snead of the NY Phil for introducing this to me!)
- It’s Not About You … It’s About Them: A Research Report on What Motivates Bay Area Donors to Give to the Arts and Artists
- Intrinsic Impact Study – Assessing the Intrinsic Impacts of a Live Performance (WolfBrown)
- Engaging Audiences – Taking the Long View of Participation-Building: A Prescription for Hard Times (Wallace Foundation)
Recommended Blogs related to audience development/engagement topics
- Greg Sandow
- Amanda Ameer, Life’s A Pitch
- Clayton Lord, New Beans
- Andrew Taylor, The Artful Manager
- Seth Godin
- Michael Kaiser
- Matt Lehrman, Audience Wanted
Recommended Classical Music blogs, because they are excellent
Recommended Email Subscriptions