Arts Marketing Isn’t Just for People with the Word “Marketing” in Their Job Title

Group Sales has always been a bit of a mis-nomer for me. In reality, we are “marketing” to groups rather than “selling.” Some larger Group Sales departments do have a bit more of a sales edge, but the vast majority of us are doing things on a smaller scale for mid- and small-size organizations.

The 2007 Arts Marketing Conference is coming to Miami. Group Sales Managers should go as well as those people who have the word “marketing” in their job title. Valuable marketing ideas can come up that can be directly translated to Groups.

The more information and knowledge you have in your arsenal, the better!

Butts In Seats

Please excuse the language, but the primary goal of everyone who works for an arts organization is to get “butts in seats.” That is not to say that the goal is to make money (although that is part of it) but rather to expose as many people as possible to the arts.

In my experience, one of the major roadblocks that stands in the way of getting those “butts in seats” (especially for groups) is unfamiliarity with the arts. That unfamiliarity breeds a small amount of fear. Fear that they won’t understand what is going on. Fear that they’ll be bored. Fear that they won’t like it.

How do we overcome this fear? By providing FREE exposure to the arts.

Host a FAM and offer group leaders free tickets to one of your performances. If you’ve got an open dress rehearsal, invite them to that. Post video clips on YouTube and include them in e-blasts to groups. Invite group leaders to any outreach events that have a performance element.

I have yet to meet a group leader that was unhappy with a performance that they attended. If the group leader likes it, they are far more likely to bring a group of 50 to the next show. And all 50 of those people are going to like it too.

Offer an Incentive


Recently I recieved this e-blast from Minnesota Opera. While it was not sent from the Group Sales Department, it does show a great tactic: providing an incentive to take action in a timely manner.

This principal can easily be applied to groups. Offer something extra if groups place their order early. Have some seats to fill 2 weeks away from opening night? Add something extra for that last push for groups.

As with most people, some groups tend to wait until the last minute to place their order for fear that something else will come up. Making it worth their while to place their order early (or place it at all) can do wonders!

I’m Back!

Sorry for the long absence. International travels kept me busy for a while.