Counting your assets

by Jini Stolk

I’ve been thinking (pretty much as always) about audiences, and the need for all of us to shift our focus from marketing tactics to moving audience development to the center of our thinking about mission and strategy.

Because life is filled with happy surprises, this wonderful re-post by Mark Thurman of Mission Paradox just crossed my desk. It combines a welcome kick in the pants with some brilliant strategic advice about understanding and leveraging all your assets in your marketing. The rest of his post is just as thought-provoking and useful.

I also found this brief “history of audience development” to be fascinating. It whips through recent trends from subscriptions to our current predominant discussion about “audience engagement” (where the primary concern in the creation and delivery of arts experiences is the impact on the audience member.) Alan Brown’s and George Thorn and Nello McDaniel’s work on audiences are highlighted; I feel so lucky to have had the privilege of working with and learning from them over the years.

In audience development I firmly believe that we rise or fall together – and that Toronto’s arts audiences can and will continue to grow if we work creatively and collaboratively. I think more and more of us are up for that, and that’s exciting.

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