Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Building audiences. It is something we all must take time to do. It can be a little scary as we have to look honestly in the mirror and ask, what are we marketing and is it working? The great news, audience building is really a combination of advocating for your organization while also collaborating with your community. In this month’s Advocacy and Collaboration Curated Episode, we interview Culture for Hire founder/creator, Ruth Hartt. In the conversation, she explains the many ways we can intentionally shift to grow our audiences and reach.
Ruth talks a lot about how we are marketing our events and how our words can automatically make folks feel like outsiders and not welcome. But not to worry, a few simple actions can have a massive impact! You can hear Ruth unpack the initial steps in this month’s episode, but we also wanted to direct you to the resources she has on her blog over at CultureforHire.com.
Have you identified why your audiences are not growing? Ruth talks in the interview about moving away from egocentric marketing as the first step. In her blog, you can actually take a quiz to see if that could be an option for your organization. As Ruth says,” On the continuum from egocentrism to customer centricity, where does your organization land? Are you driving away customers by ignoring them?” Take the assessment over on the blog and get your results instantly.
Another great example on the blog, Ruth explores the “six assumptions arts organizations are getting wrong” – but don’t worry! She offers insight into how to take action right away. As she says: “Let’s be real: The coronavirus pandemic has been a hellish time for the arts sector. And now, with endless variants looming, the light at the end of the tunnel feels further away than ever before. But a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. There’s no better time than now to reconsider the traditional assumptions that hamper audience growth—and may even be alienating consumers.” Check out this blog and explore the six assumptions Ruth suggests to abandon today.
Finally, in the A&C interview, Ruth talks about “the art of gathering” and how and why we must rethink tradition to make arts essential. She says, “It’s time to overhaul our thinking around what a classical music concert should be. We’ve based our traditions on nineteenth-century societal hierarchy for far too long. When we don’t examine the deeper assumptions behind why we gather,” writes Priya Parker in The Art of Gathering, “We forgo the possibility of creating something memorable, even transformative.”
The great paradox of gathering, she says, is that there are so many good reasons for gathering that we often neglect the crucial exercise of establishing the main purpose for coming together.
But isn’t the purpose of a classical music concert to enjoy classical music performed at its highest level? Think again. Classical music is the what, not the why. And when we conflate category with purpose, says Parker, “we end up gathering in ways that don’t serve us.”
Determining why we gather—moving from the what to the why—adds value for everyone involved. And every decision about that gathering, from format and etiquette to audience experience and marketing, becomes easier.” Check out the full article here.
We really enjoyed our conversation with Ruth and we hope you’ll take a moment to explore the whole interview. Let us know what you think and how we as your A&C Committee can support you through the creation of resources, opportunities, and more!
Learn more about the ACDA Advocacy and Collaboration Committee and their resources at ACDA.org/advocacy or follow A&C on Facebook and Instagram. You can also listen to this episode on the Music (ed) Matters Podcast, Episode 169, anywhere you get your podcasts or watch the full interview on YouTube.