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Hill, E. et al. (2003) “The Arts Marketing Environment & Key Issues and Problems for Arts Marketeers.” in id. “Creative Arts Marketing.” New York, 2nd Ed....

Jan 17, 2016



  • 8 Creative Arts Marketing

    cut yourself free from the computer or the telephone, never to get out and seethe public, but take refuge in talking about C1s and C2s, instead of humanbeings. Or worse still, calling customers punters, as if they were being connedinto parting with their money on a gamble. We do a lot of mouthing off aboutcommunities, but we lack the courage to go out and meet them as we should.Arts marketers need to believe in their own power as people. Even something assimple as giving out leaflets, talking to people, telling them direct that theyll loveit when they come: theyll remember you, and you build up a greaterevangelism yourself through it.

    For a while the vocabulary of arts marketing was redolent with the kind oflanguage you would expect from Littlewoods catalogues. It didnt contain thegenerosity of the language of art itself. You almost need an event culture a sensethat every performance, every encounter with art, is unique and special. But beingopen 52 weeks of the year means you fall into thinking of it not as one event, eventhough that is how the customer sees it. There needs to be a phenomenal amountof attention to the personal; but unless you take that attitude as your ideal in all yourmarketing you are not reflecting the character of what you are talking about. Youneed to harness the technology, but you must get the balance right. Nobody issaying electricity should never have been invented, but there is a beauty incandlelight.

    Source: Personal interview.

    The arts marketing environment

    One of the difficulties of analysing the environment for arts marketing is thediversity of activity covered by the arts. A popular and inclusive definition wasprovided by the 89th US Congress, and later endorsed by what was then theEducation, Science and Art Committee of the House of Commons:

    The term the arts includes, but is not limited to, music (instrumental andvocal), dance, drama, folk art, creative writing, architecture and allied fields,painting, sculpture, photography, graphic and craft arts, industrial design,costume and fashion design, motion pictures, television, radio, tape and soundrecording, the arts related to the presentation, performance, execution andexhibition of such major arts forms, and the study and application of the artsto the human environment. (ACGB, 1993)

    Since the 1990s a whole category of computer-based art has been added to thislist with the proliferation of digital technology. Definitions such as this are notjust a case of hair-splitting pedantry. Arguments about how much we shouldspend on the arts, as individual customers or as taxpayers, often depend oncomparisons with other countries. Definitions of culture, art forms, or theboundaries of expenditure, can vary significantly from country to country andeven, within countries, between organizations. For example, a 1998 Arts

    From: Creative Arts Marketing, Hill, E. et al, Copyright 2003 Butterworth-Heinemann, reproduced by permission of Taylor & Francis Books UK.

  • The evolution and context of arts marketing 9

    Council of England study into comparative arts funding between countriesexcluded libraries, historical buildings, education and public service broad-casting from its calculations, but included film production, community arts,museums and galleries, and festivals. The message from this is that statistics inthe arts, where they are available at all, need to be used with care.

    In this section of the chapter we will follow the STEP model of Socio-cultural, Technological, Economic and Political environmental factors inanalysing the peculiarities of the arts marketing environment. This is widelyaccepted as a framework for analysis of the wider environment of anyorganization, and we will return to it in Chapter 8 as a starting point for themarketing planning process. In particular, STEP factor analysis reveals long-term trends and forces which help explain the opportunities and threats facingarts organizations. Of course, like any model, it is meant to be a frameworkrather than a straitjacket. There are, for example, elements which cross overfrom one category of factor to another. This is particularly the case in theEconomic and Political categories, where government policy can have a veryclose bearing on economic conditions. Furthermore, the sheer number of trendsand factors that may have an impact on arts marketing means that we can onlyoffer a very brief selection here to illustrate the scope of each domain. Finally,while the trends chronicled here are centred on the UK, many of them arereplicated elsewhere in the developed world.

    Socio-cultural factorsLeisure trendsArts customers and their motivations, consumption occasions, and art formsthemselves are almost infinitely variable. The arts tend to spread outwardsand, as with many activities with a strong social dimension, they cross-fertilizewith other areas and programmes. This was well illustrated in the UKsVoluntary Arts Network (VAN) report Strengthening Foundations (1994), whichemphasized individual motivations for arts participation or arts attendance:People go out to sing, to paint or to play football. They do not go outto participate in local cultural activity.

    The complex question of audience motivation is addressed more fully inChapter 2 but, as Table 1.1 suggests, the arts are just one part of a widerportfolio of leisure choices in peoples lives. In addition to the more activepursuits listed, we watch, on average, about 25 hours of television a week inthe UK (Euromonitor, 2000). Perhaps arts marketers can take heart from the factthat drama is the single most popular genre. A taste for fiction, which mightalso indicate a susceptibility to other forms of artistic expression, is evidentfrom the fact that 58 per cent of men and 71 per cent of women read at least onebook a month (Office for National Statistics, 1997).

    The popular stereotype of socially egalitarian sport set against the elitistarts is laid to rest by figures which suggest that participation rates for music,painting and drawing are as high as, or even exceed, those for pursuits such asdarts or golf (VAN, 1994). Indeed, the UKs Theatrical Management Associa-tion claims that live theatre is more popular than soccer as a live spectacle,claiming 30 million attendances in 1998 in comparison with professional

    From: Creative Arts Marketing, Hill, E. et al, Copyright 2003 Butterworth-Heinemann, reproduced by permission of Taylor & Francis Books UK.

  • 10 Creative Arts Marketing

    footballs 26 million. At an average ticket price of 11.80 rather than the 14.60paid by the average football fan, theatre claims to offer better value for money(ArtsBusiness, 1998).

    Market potential?

    Survey research in 2000/1 revealed that 15 per cent of the adult population in theUK described themselves as attending plays or art exhibitions these days, while 8per cent admitted to going to classical music concerts. This proportion hasremained relatively stable for over a decade. That there is potential in the market forthe performing arts, however, can be argued from the experience of cinemaattendances. These reached 137 million in the UK at the millennium, a figure morethan double that of 15 years earlier. A number of factors may be related to this: thedevelopment of multiscreen cinemas around the country (which has accompanieda decline in traditional cinemas), and the increased number of films with a PG rating(which clearly increases the available audience). Having said that, however, cinemaattendance in the UK is still a far cry from its peak of over 1 billion in the early1950s.

    Other recent UK marketing success stories in the arts include the British Museumand the National Gallery, both of which practically doubled their admission numbersin the two decades to the millennium. And, in spite of a persistent cloud of negativepublicity hanging over it, the infamous Millennium Dome in Londons Greenwich setnew standards for an exhibition by attracting more than 6.5 million paying visitorsin its one year of being open. This suggests that there is potential in the visual artsand exhibitions market just as there is in the performing arts.

    Source: TGI/BMRB International, cited in Social Trends 32, 2002.

    Table 1.1 Leisure activities in the UK

    Activity Percentage of population (16+)

    1 Visiting a public house 732 Meal in a restaurant (not fast food) 683 Meal in a fast-food restaurant 474 Library 395 Cinema 336 Historic building 317 Short holiday break 308 Disco or nightclub 269 Museum or art gallery 24

    10 Funfair 2111 Theatre 1812 Theme park 1613 Camping/caravanning 1614 Bingo 1015 Betting 8

    Source: National Statistics/Euromonitor, 2000.

    From: Creative Arts Marketing, Hill, E. et al, Copyright 2003 Butterworth-Heinemann, reproduced by permission of Taylor & Francis Books UK.

  • The evolution and context of arts marketing 11

    Shifting demographics: age, gender and ethnicity

    Age is a factor in what people choose to do. Because of a steady decline in birthrate, the developed world has an ageing population and the age profile of artsattenders is a source of concern to many organizations.

    Age shall not wither them . . .

    I never lay awake nights worrying about the age of the audience I just wanted toget an audience . . . I figured some would be young, some middle-aged, some old.People have been worrying about the ageing of the audience for 40 years and itsstill about the same age it always was.

    Source: Danny Newman, author of Subscribe Now (1977) quoted by Scher,2002 in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    However, people do not define themselves by their chronological age, but asbelonging to a particular cohort with shared experiences. In general, activitiessuch as listening to recorded music are m