From November 11-13, 650+ arts marketers from across the country came together in Memphis, TN, to learn how the marketing strategies, tools and decisions of today will play a pivotal role in creating our field’s tomorrow.  ArtPride New Jersey’s Web Content & Promotions Manager, Emily Ambash, and I (Koren Rife, Marketing & Communications Manager, at your service) attended the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (and stalked some ducks), and here are just a few quick-ish notes that I took away: Don’t take your current audience for granted While we all need to build new audiences, our current audiences are really the ones to focus on. They’ve already bought before, making them more likely to buy again, but this also makes them more likely to give! Retention is paramount. Segmentation is key So, old audiences are really important. But gaining new audiences is also pretty important. So, it’s SUPER important that you get the right message to the right people at the right time. If you are blasting the same message to everyone, no one – or, well, next to no one – will hear it. Technology allows us to segment audiences to make sure we are doing just that. What is fringe will become mainstream As Frank Zappa said, “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.” Cool comes from the unknown. Go beyond your own borders. –Oh, and your current audience? They’re more likely to go against the grain with you than those new audience peeps. And how do you create something cool?... COLLABORATE The COOLEST thing I saw while in Memphis was an opera-hip-hop dance battle. It was AMAZING.


Two crazily different art forms came together to make one of the most memorable arts experiences I have EVER had in my 30+ years on this planet. Collaboration between arts orgs, whether they are completely disparate or actually rather similar, is not something to gloss over. The return when arts come together to create fresh experiences is incalculable. Speaking of experiences… Experience as a social status FOMO (“fear of missing out,” if you’ve somehow missed the memo) is still a thing in 2017, and that’s not changing anytime soon. People want to be completely immersed in an experience AND they want that experience to be exclusive. For instance, I reconnected with an acquaintance from college who works for a chamber orchestra in Atlanta (hey, Vanya!). She has no trouble selling out her group’s intimate in-home performances, but her public concerts are a much harder sell. Being part of the in crowd, getting something that very few others can, is a big ticket seller across the board.


Art plays a critical role in making our communities better Creativity joins people from many different ethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds together. Art is a language that everyone can speak. And "it's important for a community to hear their stories being told back to them like a mirror being held up," –Leslie Barker, Director, Caritas Village in Memphis, TN. If you’d like more information on how art can bring your community together, please reach out to ArtPride’s Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, Ann Marie! It’s not “marketing multiculturally” but marketing in a multicultural world Multicultural consumers are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. populations. As our nation becomes increasingly multicultural, leaders in the arts have the responsibility and power to bring people of different cultures together. As a multicultural nation, we have to adapt our message to our changing communities. The focus must be on participation, though, not assimilation. And when it comes to participation… Arts education–no, the other kind–is key Not everyone knows how to be an arts patron. Not everyone knows that you don’t have to be an art major to enjoy a museum. We have to start at someone else’s level, and to create meaningful programs, we must first learn about the people we want to engage.  We have to find that “in,” and make it easy for them to join. Interested in more? Check out Americans for the Arts’ YouTube page with videos of NAMPC’s keynotes. And don’t be afraid to reach out! While it’s impossible to put three days’ worth of knowledge into a blog post, I am happy to chat with you about what I heard, and I am sure Emily is too.