Have you ever wondered what skills you might need to grow your arts organization? Could it be that you need a better skillset in analytics? How about Tessitura mastery? Still unsure if getting your Facebook Blueprint certification is worth the hassle?
There are many different skills an arts marketer should have but what’s one skill that every arts marketing professional should master? That’s the topic of this post. Not only will I share with you the one skill you should master, but why!
Let’s recap. Here are the hard skills you might need to have under your belt to be qualified for an arts marketing job:
- Tessitura Experience
- Email Marketing (automation, segmentation, etc)
- Graphic Design (Adobe Suite, i.e. Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator)
- Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc)
- Videography (conceptualizing, location scouting, editing, shooting, etc)
- Audio Production (for podcasts, videography, etc)
- Web Development and Design
- Content Management System
- Media Buying
This list could go on for another couple entries. I’m just brainstorming here from what I’ve seen from the many job descriptions for marketing directors or managers for arts organizations.
All these skills are well and good. They are the technical skills every marketing professional might need to succeed and be qualified for a job.
But, what’s the one skill that every arts marketing professional should absolutely have to succeed? Surprisingly, it’s not any of the technical skills that I listed above. Rather, the one skill every arts marketing professional should have is…
This isn’t a hard, technical, I-got-a-certificate, skill. This is a soft skill much akin to manners, being polite, and working with people.
Definition of curiosity
1: desire to know:
a: inquisitive interest in others’ concerns:
The construction inside their house aroused the curiosity of their neighbors.
b: interest leading to inquiry
Her natural curiosity led her to ask more questions.
Why arts marketing pros need to be curious
Curiosity has an inward and outward affect on the job that is critical.
Inwardly, you want to be curious and inquisitive as to why certain campaigns work and some don’t. You need to be able to analyze each step you take (J&H anyone?) along your work to find out what is working and what isn’t. Did the ad copy work? What about creative? What about timing of that email? Did we post too late to Facebook to get the algorithm to work in our favor? When did people stop viewing our YouTube video the most?
That’s why you need to be curious in your work. Without it you won’t be as good as you could be because you’re not looking for trends, patterns, and data to back up your decisions and future decisions in your work.
Aspects of outward curiosity include being drawn toward the many different aspects of putting on a production at your arts organization. As many things that go on in a theatre, there is a plethora of things you could use to tell the story of the production and draw people to see the finished work. Even though it’s old hat now, it’s still amazing for people to see behind the curtain of productions. That’s why the Metropolitan opera posts rehearsal pics of their productions. People want to see Anna Ntrebko in rehearsal as much as they want to see her in Aida. Your audience wants to know the little details that go towards the production. I presume it’s because they want to feel like they’re an expert and can geek out when they see the finished product.
So, arts marketing professionals need to get out of their office or cubicle or whatever their work environment is and visit the scene shop. Head on over to the artistic director and ask her what she’s working on. Can you share the process that your casting directors go through to pick actors for their shows? Find out when the costume designer is putting the finishing touches on the lead’s costume and be there to Instagram Story the moment it happens. Oh! What about a time lapse video of the lighting crew hanging lights and raising the lines to put them into position?
You have all sorts of things at your disposal to share with your audience to draw them in to see the live production.
Further, what’s going on in your community. I’d be fascinated with the goings on in your theatre’s city. Maybe there’s something to be a part of so that you can join it and further make your mark in your community? Maybe there’s a pressing societal issue that’s going on and you want to have some affect in the policy? If you’re the right theatre, maybe you can produce a play or work to bring awareness to the issue.
In all things, arts marketer, be curious. That is the one skill you should master.
There are a myriad of hard skills that an arts marketing professional should have under their belt. From programs, to processes, to social media. But, the one skill you have to master is not a technical one. You have to be curious. You have to be curious because you need this skill to effectively maximize your position and tell your arts organization your story.
Now it’s your turn. What is the one skill all arts marketing professionals should master? Why?