Marketing choice

Arts Professional : Essential Audiences 26 March 2007

Something for Everyone?
Niche marketing may be commonplace in the arts but most arts venues offer a range of events. Heather Maitland explores the marketing of choice.
One consequence of arts organisations’ work to broaden their audiences, visitors or participants is that many end up trying to offer ‘something for everyone’. There are very few venues in particular that single-mindedly pursue a single audience. Contact Theatre in Manchester is one that does, focusing on young adults aged 13 to 30. But even here director, John E McGrath, points out that ‘by breaking down barriers for young people, we also became a popular venue for a range of communities who felt unwelcome in stiff, traditional environments’.
Brands need a single, strong idea and most of these organisations focus on variety.
I’m not sure this works. What if the customer’s response is ‘I don’t want something for everyone, I want something for me!’? Marketing materials, such as season brochures, that present the broad sweep of the organisation’s work become a challenge. How do we guide potential customers through the packed menu to the event or activity aimed at them?
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