What is your product?

In marketing the primary model used is known as the 4P’s. There are variations on the theme, however the original 4P’s represent Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. With this article I want to address the question, what is your product?

Art is subjective. Those things enjoyed by one person are another persons nightmare. Trying to market art means appealing to to people’s emotions. That can be challenging, because of that there is a risk we resort to boring, generic marketing.

The 4P’s serve a purpose as a marketing framework and can be applied across all organisations, all art genres and all environments. Within The Cycle organisational framework, marketing is a key activity for any arts organisation.

There are two forms of marketing. We refer to these as institutional marketing and program marketing. Institutional marketing sends out messages about the arts organisation. Program marketing sends out messages about a specific event or program.

Institutional marketing goals differs from the goals of program marketing. The same channels may be used to spread the message, however the audience may differ slightly. An audience for an institutional message may be generic, whereas the audience for a program or event may be more tailored to that event.

Your marketing and development teams need to know in advance what is planned for your artistic program. The more time they can devote to a marketing campaign the more time they have to raise awareness, create desire, encourage people to commit to early bird bookings and share news of the event with other people. When people begin talking about an event they jump on board to help it become reality.

Time allows you to get your marketing right. Not every campaign will hit the sweet spot. The sooner you discover it ain’t happening, the easier it will be to change direction. A marketing campaign left until the last minute must work or is a waste of money. There is little opportunity to adapt a campaign.

What is your product? If you put on an event, say a theatre show, you may suggest your show is the product. I would argue your product is what the show will do for the audience. Think about this for a moment.

Why do people come to see a show or an event? How do you want them to feel when they leave? Happy, sad or reflective, maybe.

When you understand the emotions you want to stir up, you can plan and design your marketing message, how that message is presented, its overall tone and appearance. Even who you might target the message at and the channels you choose to use.

You sell feelings, thoughts, emotions, hope and celebration. You want to have a positive impact on a viewers social and emotional wellbeing, to reduce their stress. You want the audience to love an artist’s story line and to make a purchase.

Your marketing generates revenue by raising people’s expectations. It sets the scene before they even attend an event. It guides them through how you want them to feel before, during and after the event. It then helps the audience to have a conversation with others, to spread the word.

Sell me a story that I can connect my emotions to, and I will purchase tickets to your event or a piece of your art.

John Coxon is founder of art4u.australia, a consulting agency helping arts organisations remain viable and sustainable through application of The Cycle organisational model. Shout out to John to explore how this model may help your organisation.

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