Marketing in a Crisis: The Arts and Cultural Sector

May 17, 2022 by Mark Baines Category: Business, Events, Marketing

There has been an immense impact of the pandemic on the Arts and Cultural Sector that has just exacerbated what was in crisis before. It has taken arts marketers great efforts to stabilise the situation and continues to be an ongoing struggle.

Limited professional marketers and data

Arts marketers are not usually professional marketers, but generalists. Small organisations may place all marketing tasks on one person, who typically attempts to handle all the various aspects of marketing alone.

Another challenge an arts marketer will face is data comprehension. Within the Arts and Cultural Sector, theatre data only counts for less than 40% of audience attendance, thanks to GDPR. This means making data-informed decisions is difficult due to venues unable to share their consumer data, even to the creators of the event. Galleries and museums are even harder to interpret.

There are many more challenges arts marketers face, largely well documented societal and cultural issues, so the amateur generalists in the arts marketing ‘departments’ are not well placed to succeed in the same way as their colleagues in FMCG or consumer goods. It’s left to gut instinct and personal preferences, which is not a good recipe for success!

Schemes and support

A huge number of schemes do actually exist to support arts organisations, but they can be hard to access and are of little value to the small niche artist. It’s an unfortunate truism that those most in need are the same people as those least able to take advantage of these schemes.

The fact is that until the government puts together a comprehensive management programme for distributing their support, this marketing amateurism is going to continue to hinder the success of the arts organisations around the country.

Government (in)action

Arts are the sector most in need of government support. No-one ‘needs’ the arts, so they tend to get side-lined. But you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to recognise that without them, life would be a lot less worth living. The lack of funds is compounded by the lack of professionalism in the arts marketing world, and until this systemic problem is addressed, I don’t see things getting any better. It’s over to you, Mr Government!

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