"Marketing isn't merely bragging. Marketing creates a culture, tells a story and puts on a show."
Now how "theatre" is that?
Here is a blog from today. I bolded the part that I think arts groups need to think very hard about. It might mean your project moves a bit slower, but it will build stronger, especially in this economy. It also will save money in the long run. To say that things will go "back to usual once the economy turns around" is just naive. To apply the rules from even five years ago to a new project means that you are not staying on top of the market and you are hurting your group.
How does a painting end up selling for $5 million?
Why do some songs end up being listened to by legions of teenagers?
Which companies end up with investors swarming all over them, eager to put in cash?
Hint: in each case, it has little to do with the verifiable, rational analysis of the product. In some markets, things are popular merely because they are popular. John Legend's version of Compared to What is a pale imitation of the original, but don't tell the local teenager that. Jeff Koons is no longer a visionary, but he's a safe bet for gallery owners, investors and people looking for bragging rights...
Whining about what's good is a silly way to do business with people who seek to be in sync. What sync markets care about is, "who else is into this?" Markets like textbooks, surgical devices and nightclubs are all sync markets.
In every one of these markets are people who spot trends, who go first, who set the pace. This group (which doesn't have a defined membership... there's a lot of churn) cares a lot about being seen as right, about going first and being followed. The early trendsetters are not the mass market, but they are acutely aware of what the mass market is going to be willing to do next. (Sadly for marketers in search of a reliable shortcut, these trendsetters are often wrong. That doesn't mean that they don't matter).
Marketing to those that want to be in sync is a fundamentally different project than treating your audience as a horizontal mass of isolated people, all to be approached with the same story at the same time, all making independent decisions. The connections between people are always important, but in sync markets, they're the primary driver.