Does your arts organisation follow the 6R’s of nonprofit marketing? –
1: Rewarding to the viewer when they follow your call to action?
2: Realistic in that any perceived barriers to following your call to action have been addressed?
3: Real in that your message is appropriate for the context and the environment at this moment?
4: Responsive in that it demonstrates you are listening to feedback from your family of supporters?
5: Revealing in that your message provides something new or interesting?
6: Refreshing in its authenticity and wow factor
The 6R’s of nonprofit marketing provides you with a framework to guide your markeing process and messages. Why market at all? Afterall don’t your supporters know all about you and just love supporting you? Wrong! Your family of supporters actually have choices as to who they support, where they donate their time, resources and money. Assuming they know all about you is plain dumb.
The real reason for marketing your organisation and your services or product is to give people a reason to support your organisation.
All marketing is communication; not all communication is marketing. We market to our family of supporters because we want to ask them to take some action. We want them to become a donor, purchase a ticket, come along to your store or purchase online or become a volunteer.
If we want others to give something off themselves; then we must be prepared to give them something in return. The most important thing we can give our supporters is a reason for them to belong to our family.
W.I.I.F.T – What’s In It For Them?
A good place to start is by creating a Story Canvas. If you would like some help doing this reach out to John. A story canvas sets out the purpose behind your marketing communication, it establishes your audience, key messages, channels, metrics, style and tone etc. A story canvas is a great way to ensure all organisational communication is consistent across all channels.
Marketing is a key process within The Cycle. This is the organisational model we use to inform our conversations with arts organisations. The are two parts to your marketing equation. Institutional marketing and product/service marketing. They are distinctly seperate.
Many arts organisations make the mistake of marketing one at the expense of the other, or marketing them both together. More critically many arts organisations fail to commit funding to their marketing, or if they do spend money on marketing its is a very small percentage of their revenue.
There is no such thing as free marketing, despite what the social media pundits will tell you. What ever marketing campaigns you engage it will cost you either time, resources, money or all three. You may get a great result from a low cost campaign; on the other hand you may get a negligible response from an expensive campaign. A marketing campaign that fails to yeild a result is a waste of your time and money.
Marketing isn’t just for the ‘big arts companies’. It is something all arts organisations must do. Effective outcomes derive from a continuous, and accumulative marketing process, applied diligently, over time.
If you feel your arts organisation doesnt have the money to engage in marketing then you are identifying the incorrect problem. The real problem is a lack of revenue, which is underpinned by a lack of long term artistic planning for great art. Again, The Cycle.
You cannot just jump up and direct money that you don’t have into marketing. First you must have a plan for increasing your revenue while minimising your non-artistic costs. In that way you generate (a) sufficient revenue to fund marketing and (b) a financial surplus for investment into great art – and great art is something you really, really want to tell your family of supporters about!
John Coxon is founder of art4u.australia, a consulting agency helping arts organisations to become viable and sustainable, through application of the ‘The Cycle’ organisational model. John is a creative with more than 20 years experience consulting to, and managing within, nonprofit organisations. To chat about how your organisation may improve its marketing email John and he will call you back.