The Reward for Artists to Create Valuable P2P Marketing

ArtsHub posted an interesting article last week about the latest marketing trend sweeping across the globe – gamification!  Gamification puts marketing onto smartphones and hand-held devises to engage audiences with fun activities.  (Remember Pokemon-Go?  A solid example of gamification!) Additionally, gamification allows the producer to capture audience stats instantly.  You can read the full article HERE, which highlights how Adelaide Fringe Festival is using gamification to engage with their audience members. 

This got me thinking – what’s the production cost to add gamification to any marketing strategy?  Diving into some research, I discovered that most experts agree the price tag for developing gamification marketing varies depending on features to install and information the producer wishes to capture.  Further more, developing gamification is about time, effort and brainpower, which requires a lot of experience in UX development and having a focused direction.  As independent artists, many of whom run their own small business, you have to ask is it really worth incorporating into your marketing?

But what is worth an independent artist's marketing efforts is focusing on P2P marketing.  P2P, or people to people marketing, involves face-to-face communication and real-time relationship development.  Most importantly, P2P marketing is about providing quality customer care to your audience.  Customer service involves creating an experience from beginning to end.  And by 'beginning' I mean the moment the audience member walks into the venue door; and by 'end' I mean the moment the audience member walks out the venue door. 

Most venue foyers are designed to sell snacks and beverages before the event.  That’s great!  Do independent artists see any of those sales profits from food and beverages?  You would if you sparked a deal with the venue space, but highly unlikely. 

It is imperative that independent artists begin thinking about creating an experience outside of food and beverage sales. 

A good place to begin is to remember that, like visiting a new country or entering into someone else’s home, audience members are stepping into unknown territory.

Begin 2017 with YOUR Vision and Work Backwards

Happy New Year!  I do hope that everyone had a fantastic time spent with family, friends and loved ones.

I love the holidays because I take advantage of the break in order to read to relax.  And that’s not to say that my mind wasn’t hunting for ideas to share with you regarding marketing and audience development.  In fact, I found many inspirational articles, books and blog posts about ways to further the development of relationships with audience members and innovative strategies we can use to market our arts practice.

However, I did discover that many articles tended to encourage their readers to move quickly past what many had expressed to be a begrudging 2016 and count down their top suggestions for forging ahead into 2017.  These included ideas about goal setting, the use of new technology in order to improve personal productivity and organisation, and noting daily rituals of top successful individuals that help make the most of their productivity.  As I do my best to avoid doing the same, I’d rather share my favourite advice read: work backwards.

Wait, what?  Work backwards?  Yes!  Almost every article or blog post seemed to agree that the best way to work forward throughout 2017 is to work backwards.

What does this mean?  How do we work backwards?  As I am sure you have already done, been doing, or plan on doing, to help kick-start your year take some time to set some goals.  What do YOU want to achieve in 2017?   It’s important to set both personal and creative practice goals.  And I suggest that the perfect place to start is by using your most valuable tool: your imagination.  Creative individuals have a lucrative gift of imagination.  Put it to good use by closing your eyes and imagining…it’s December 31st 2017.  Answer for yourself the following questions: what will you have accomplished by December 31st?  Be specific: where are you?  What are you wearing?  Who is around you?  What have you earned financially (and emotionally)?  Remember, there are no right or wrong answers so dream as big and as detailed as possible.

Next, work backwards: what will you have accomplished 6 months from today (by June 30st 2017)?  Where are you?  Who do you associate with?  What have you earned financially and emotionally by this time?

Continue asking yourself these questions for 3 months (or March 31st), 1 month (or February 9th) and 2 weeks (or January 23rd) from now.

Lastly, read out loud what you’ve written, reading backwards of course!  Start with your achievements in 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year.  Might I also advise to read these goals backwards (AND forwards for extra points) everyday to keep yourself focused, motivated and persistent. I hope these goals showcase a productive and successful 2017!

Street Art Performance Sparkles to Engage Melbourne Community

“This counts as my exercise for today.”
“What is that creature?”
“Where is that sound coming from?”
“How did the city manage to close the streets?
“Where will this show take us throughout the city?”

These were just a few interesting remarks I overheard last night while attending Les Tambour De Feu, presented as part of the Melbourne Festival.  This free street art event takes its audience on a musical and spectacle performance around a small parameter of Melbourne’s CBD.  The ensemble of 7 performers (six drummers and a ram mascot) leads the crowd (last night, I would guess there were 500 in attendance) through Melbourne’s streets performing stret art inspired by a Spanish folklore about a devil character visiting the earth for a day.  Their greatest niche is their use of pyrotechnic instruments illuminating the night and guiding the prcession. 

I found most valuable about the performance was the gift this troupe provided the community.

Many times, people present the benefits of the arts to argue why the arts should continue being funded by the community, either by the government or by private donors.  Most of the arguments list the following benefits:

  • The arts enhance a child’s scores in government regulated tests
  • The arts affect other industries, i.e. the food & beverage industry
  • The arts provide health benefits by offering a relief from stress.

However, why don’t we focus by simplifying the more relevant benefits from the arts?  For example, performances like Les Tambour De Feu, street art, offer the following benefits to their audiences:

  • Makes life fun! – How many of us go home from an 8-hour work-day to stay hibernated in our homes glued to the TV?  Performances like Les Tambour De Feu offer its audience an opportunity to change their routine.  Additionally, Les Tambour evoked a smile on many audience members’ face because it was visually appealing.  There was fire pyrotechnics, a large iron-clad creature leading the performance, who also chased audience members as it changed its walking path.  Best moment occurred when the performance began to walk down Flinders Street and people noticed a tram coming towards the procession. I began to wonder: will the tram stop for us?  What?!  It was undeniable that the audience had FUN experiencing art!
  • Brings community together – One of the main purposes for street art is to be accessible to all.  By not confining the audience behind four walls of a building, street art utilizes open spaces to encourage dedicated watchers and those passing by to watch with curiosity.  Suddenly, people find common ground, common interest.  I’d also like to note that, in my observation, I would guarantee that 90% of those who attended last night’s performance didn’t realize they were actually witnessing art. 
  • Peaks our curiosity – What I found REALLY exciting to observe as I followed Les Tambours around the Melbourne streets was seeing the reactions from individuals who were inside bars and restaurants along the performance route.  Many people stopped eating or drinking to investigate the source of the sound and why a crowd was parading behind this musical troupe.  It was exhilarating to see how art, in this format, allowed people to be curious and then investigate their curiosty.

I absolutely loved Les Tambours at the Melbourne Festival.  I am so grateful to have witnessed the power art has on the community, and being reassured that the arts is valued by the community.  I now challenge myself with the question: Does the arts reciprocate by valuing its community?  Or are we so focused on increasing ‘bums on seats” we’ve isolated ourselves from who really matters?  Stay tuned for my answer…

For more information on the Melbourne Festival, please visit