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Should we be Looking at Starbucks on Strategies to Market the Arts?

Marketing, marketing, marketing…It’s the thing that every arts organization needs, a term that encompasses so many things, might feel overwhelming to think about at times, but when done effectively has the power to connect you with new audiences, deepen your relationships with those audiences and grow!

So now, I want you to think back to the last time you had to market yourself or something for an arts organization. Could be a concert, a gallery show, a symphony concert, or a museum exhibit. Now think about what you were thinking when you asked yourself, how can I “sell” this? Did you think more about all of the deliverables or did you really take a step back to think about the all-encompassing strategy first?

Well I’m here to get you to start thinking of a strategy that may feel a little different but teaches us so much! So here we go!


First off, have you ever thought about incorporating marketing strategies from other industries or sub industries? So what I mean by this is, rather than thinking:

Gallery Opening---> Visual arts marketing strategies

Solo Concert----> Performing arts marketing strategies

Orchestra Concert----> Performing arts marketing strategies

You started thinking this way:

Gallery Opening----> Performing arts marketing strategies

Solo Concert----> Visual arts marketing strategies

Orchestra Concert-----> Marketing strategies in museums

And then you go even further:

Gallery Opening----> Marketing strategies in the hospitality industry

Solo Concert----> Marketing strategies in the retail industry

Orchestra Concert-----> Marketing strategies in the food industry

Can you see what’s happening? By thinking across industries we can get ourselves out of the box and incorporate amazing strategies from other industries into our own. I mean why is it that we easily hand over $15 on a latte and a scone lol, but then think twice about buying a ticket to a local art exhibit? Is it the money or is it the time, general interest, and developed connection we have to go to that exhibition? And does it go deeper than this---hint it does, but that’s a longer discussion for another time.

SO, the next time you’re thinking, I just don’t know why tickets aren’t selling, people aren’t rsvping, I’m having trouble diversifying my audience etc. open up your eyes and start to look at what other industries are doing so well and sometimes so naturally! We each have our strengths and there is so much we can learn from one another.

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