The Right Things, Right Now Marketing


As professionals working in arts, cultural and heritage organizations, we are all looking for ways to engage with new audiences, increase our members and volunteers and increase ticket sales. Marketing is tied to many of our organizational goals we have for our theaters, music festivals or arts centers. But how many of us approach marketing as a piecemeal function of a particular program? How many of us have a working plan to address our greatest marketing challenges?

CNY Arts and the IDEAS Collaborative (Initiative to Engage Audiences in Syracuse) welcomed nonprofit marketing expert, Nancy Schwartz to Central New York to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo for a full-day marketing planning workshop.

Nancy Schwartz works with organizations throughout the country to design and implement marketing and communications programs that help nonprofits and foundation clients to maximize impact and their profits.

Through the ENGAGE CNY initiative, one of the priorities identified by arts organizations in our region was marketing. The marketing planning workshop was a great first step in addressing our marketing challenges and provide a foundation to move our efforts forward.

The day was intensive, but Nancy provided four principles in marketing planning: have a written plan; have a plan that is for the foreseeable future; have a plan that is prioritized and realistic; and use the Right-Things, Right-Now approach to marketing.

Nancy guided us through 10 steps of marketing planning to direct our focus that makes us articulate concreate, measurable goals and messages and develop the appropriate methods and tactics to reach our marketing benchmarks. We shared our ideas with one another, offered solutions and began developing new partnerships for the future.

We learned that marketing is an integral part of our day-to-day operations and that we need to better tie our marketing efforts to the sustainability of our programs and our organizations. A marketing plan, although a lengthy process is a beneficial step and one that is not just the responsibilty of a single person or the marketing team (either a team of one or few) but every single individual in our organizations from board to leadership to the front line employee in the box office. 

Now that the workshop is over, we all have our work cut out for us. Nancy walked us through a planning process that many of us may have not been through before or in a long time. With these new skills, we now have the tools and a framework to address our greatest challenges. And we have a group of dedicated folks we can turn to for idea sharing and collaborations.


Posted On: June 19, 2014