Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stategic Research

This article on audience research, featured on, encourages us to consider research in the broader context of institutional goals and strategies. While this is spun for arts managers, it's applicable to any organization whether for profit or non profit.

My favorite line is this:
"Research is about improvement. If you’re not going to program, market, schedule, fundraise, price, package, interact, design, educate, budget, plan, or something differently based on what you learn, then why bother asking your audience questions in the first place?"

I work with artists that come to me in a panic - their promo materials need help and they need a new logo and website. These are no doubt important observations but too often they consider the short term (and likely the least expensive and quickest turnaround) solution - a quick easy design.

As this article points out, everything should be strategic and holistic. It's my job to slow the train down and almost always back it up. Simply whipping up a new logo or poster doesn't address the deeper questions. Without those questions addressed and worked into the design, it's merely shooting from the hip. Research is key to everything - Who are you? What image or perception do you want out there? Who are you targeting? What do you know about them? What don't you know? What do you hope to do with the information? How can the research be applied across the board?

Be committed. Invest in yourself and your organization. As my dad would say: Do Your Homework!

Friday, February 05, 2010

The 4 Ps of Marketing

When we devise our tactical marketing plan, we look at the 4 Ps - Product, Place, Price and promotion. I led a workshop this week and presented the following questions to Philadelphia area teaching artists as they begin to think strategically about how they market themselves and their art.

What is your product? What is that you currently offer - tangible and intangible. In my case, I offer a service. I'm a communications consultant.

Where do you sell your product? This is your place. You need to think about the many markets you serve and hope to serve. What makes each one different?

How much will you charge? Are there different price points depending on the kind of service or the place where you sell?

How do you promote your products/services? This includes ads, press, web sites, blogs, Facebook fan pages, events and other partnerships.

I always consider a marketing plan a work in progress - it's something you create and revisit every few months. It's a check point - where you are today with your strategies may be different than where you are in a few months.