Archive for ‘arts marketing toronto’

December 24, 2014

Thank You 2014!

The end of 2014 is nearing – I always thank my clients and this year is no different. A big holiday thank you to the companies and artists in 2014 who kept me loving what they create and loving what I do. Here’s to a great 2014 –  may your 2015 be exceptional!

2014 Siminovitch Prize
Cart/Horse Theatre
Expect Theatre/Spark Productions
Filler Up Inc
God Is In The Dairy
Kaeja d’Dance
Kids Entertainment
Modern Times Stage Company
Orchestras Canada
Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund
The Dance Current
Theatre a GoGo
Theatre Rusticle
Toronto Festival of Clowns

Other orgs I’ve loved working with in 2014 include Artsvote, The Toronto Fringe and the Canadian Dance Assembly.

Looking forward to 2015, continuing with OCAF and the Kaejas, and starting new things teaching with Humber College and Ryerson Theatre School – and of course I can’t wait to see what art lies in store and what artists I’ll get to work with – think we should work together? Let’s chat after the 26th!

Happy Holidays!


August 8, 2013

Who are Your People?

images“From eight to eighty-eight!”

“Everyone should see this show. Its themes are universal.”

“Everyone will find something to love about this work.”

“Fun for the whole family!”

“This work is so important.  Community X has to come, it speaks to them.”

“Everyone” is not a target market. “Everyone” is not a demographic. Fun for the whole family rarely is. When I worked at TO TIX I once told a family of four that Mom, Dad and the younger sibling should go ahead to Medieval Times, and leave the 15-year-old in the hotel room to watch movies. It was a satisfactory compromise to all.

Cultural background does not translate to enjoyment of art, and  does not automatically lead to engagement with your company. (If it did I would live on a steady theatre diet of Tremblay and Shakespeare, with some Group of Seven thrown in for good measure.)

Who loves you for who you are and what you do? Who will come because of what you do, how you do it and that you’ve consistently done this for and with them X number of times?

Who do you work with who become your people, and therefore their people become yours as well?

Who believes in the work? Who believes in you? And where do those two beliefs cross over?

August 6, 2013

What to do with the Art?

DIA-IICouple of interesting articles in the New Yorker a couple of weeks ago – the first a declaration of what to do:

Should Detroit Sell Its Art?
The fiscal apocalypse that is Detroit has spun off a collateral storm in the art world with a suggestion that salvific funds—an estimate of two billion dollars is much bandied—could be raised by selling treasures of the Detroit Institute of Arts, one of America’s best encyclopedic museums. Having been asked my opinion as an art-lover—and, incidentally, a citizen, though not of Detroit—I have two answers. Here’s the short one: sell. The long one, which follows, ends in the same place, only garlanded with regrets. read more

And a follow-up piece in which the author retracts: I take back my endorsement, in an earlier post, of the idea that the city of Detroit should ease its financial crisis by selling art works from the collection of the Detroit Institute of the Arts. I also apologize to the many whom my words pained. read more

It’s an interesting thing to think about – of course I say interesting because I only have to think about it, not do anything about it. Not a position I ever hope we’d be in. It feels to me like the idea of having a garage sale to pay off your student loan: afterwards you still have a massive debt that you’ve barely touched, and nothing left of value.

Across the world, a company near and dear to me has triumphed again – such love and congratulations to Opera Atelier. If you know the opera world – this is HUGE.

Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Zingg invited to La Scala after Salzburg triumph

And this video has been making the rounds – if you ever need a reminder about balance and focus, watch this. Incredible.

July 29, 2013

Summer Can Be Quiet(er) – Marketing Myths


I’m not assuming summer is quiet for everyone, after all we’re just finished with the Fringe and Summerworks is just around the corner, but in my world there is a definitely useful lull for two to three weeks in summer. It’s a good time to devote to in-house marketing and bigger picture thinking, and getting the reading done that I’d  bookmarked. Thought I’d share some of those bookmarks with you over the next little while.

ETA: Before we begin, I’ve changed the name of this post to add the phrase Marketing Myths. Occurred to me that the original title wasn’t very explanatory. I’ll do that again next time.

Let’s begin.

Marketing Myths You Should Ignore 

I agree with all of them, and nod even more emphatically when I get to number six:

Myth 6: Great marketing works instantly

Fact: Although marketing creates visibility and some tactics can produce instant results, marketing is about sustained contact with your target audience to ensure they know who you are when they are about to buy. Content marketing is not instantaneous. In fact: “Days, weeks, or even months won’t produce results that you will be happy with. Be prepared to put in at least 1 solid year before you start seeing results from content marketing.” It takes time to create enough quality content your target needs to begin producing results. Marketing is an investment and like all good investments, they take time to achieve the greatest gains.

This is why I want to know from clients what they’ve done before, who’s already supported them, how consistent they’ve been in their marketing efforts, even when they don’t have a show or offering. I am a firm believer in “come for the show, stay for the company” – because you want those folks back the next time you do have a show. Doesn’t it make more sense to consistently invest a little bit of time over the season to make sure people are already in your corner? People go towards what they know, remember and recognize and by staying consistently in their peripheral vision, you help them come back to you when you do have a major offering. It’s a change in thought process to go from project to project to what I call an organizational mindset, and one that is extremely valuable. The more present you are, the more present they can be.

July 28, 2013

Sunday Roundup – July 28

Things are ramping back up again for the fall, and I’m starting to work on shows with Bound to Create Theatre and Obsidian Theatre and Theatre Rusticle and Modern Times Stage Company, and adding in a three-part social media workshop with DTRC/Artist’s Health Centre this fall and teaching at Ryerson again, also in fall and putting a few more irons in the fire for September.

A reminder It’s Always You has two more shows as part of Best Fringe up at the TCA. And then that’s it!

Last week was a bit of a visual and aural week, as words weren’t quite doing it for me. Here you go!

Live Love Art… Vive l’amour de l’art…

art and architecture and music – paintings and places to read and listen to this

it’s the LabCab Festival: Parkdale!

What Should I Read Next? Here You Go!

Quick video to remind us that even things that are possible the dullest thing to watch can benefit from a good ad. Love it.

July 21, 2013

Sunday Roundup – July 21

and the heat has broken and we can all breathe again. Good.

A reminder that Best of Fringe is happening up at Toronto Centre for the Arts – it’s a great lineup and I’m especially proud that It’s Always You is part of it – three shows only so best to get your tickets!

This week –

Fringe Roundup

Why Folks are Liking Us and What We’re Using Social Media-wise

When Junk E-mail  Isn’t, or New Friends at Taipei National University of the Arts


A couple of summer reads to recommend – The Poisoner’s Handbook, which is a little like CSI for the Jazz Age, and Pain, Parties, Work  a great book that chronicles the month that Sylvia Plath spent as a guest editor for Mademoiselle magazine.

From a business perspective, I’ve been reading Sacred Cows Make the Best  Burgers  which I think is fantastic. (Of course she does, you say, we know how she feels about meetings.) I’m spending a lot of August focusing on my business and I am fortunate enough to have a great deal of experiences, ideas and essentially case studies to look at over the past year. I’m curious to know what, in arts and culture, are our sacred cows (paper press kits come to mind) and how they can be – burgerized. I’ll be bugging some of you at some point for your thoughts.

Not today though – it’s a beautiful summer day. Go enjoy!


July 18, 2013

Why Folks are Liking Us and What We’re Using Social Media-wise

Too hot to read much today so we’ll head for an infographic or two. Replace “brand fan” with “art supporter” or “theatre company” and there you go. Are all these reasons true for your facebook page? Are you doing all these things to get more folks to your page and have them stay there?

brand fan

Let’s look at what we’re using to get folks’ attention: interesting that facebook likes for “your theatre company” are as prevalent as like for “insert global brand here”. Let’s keep it up. How are we using these tactics and tools to get real life interactions going?

Seriously – it’s HOT out. Stay cool, stay hydrated. See you soon.


July 6, 2013

#TOFringe – July 6 – Day Four

Sold out show for It’s Always You yesterday – get your tickets folks!

I met a super lovely couple from Richmond. VA yesterday while in line for a show, and they were over the moon delighted with all things Fringe. They’d always wanted to come to Toronto, they realized they had enough airmiles to do so, and decided to come to Fringe for a few days. And were LOVING it. So nice to chat with them, and I hope they had a safe flight home.

Normally I don’t post on Saturdays but Fringe waits for no one and there’s far too much amazing stuff going on including an UNDERGROUND DANCE PARTY!

What’s Going On

Capture July 6

What I’m Seeing




was hanging around the Fringe Club/Visual Fringe yesterday post tent talk, and realized the av sideshow was about to begin. A reminder to all that alley plays are ridiculously convenient and RIGHT THERE so you probably should check out at least one.


Fun fact: Number of my programs I’ve given to people who don’t have a program yet? NINE.

July 1, 2013

Double Roundup Monday July 1



Happy Canada Day and Happy Pride Weekend – hope everyone had and is having a marvelous time and aren’t too sunburned. Please SPF and hydrate.

Got back in town late last Sunday so there was no roundup, and then the week was all about getting back into the swing of things so here you go – one giant roundup. The “from the archives” seemed to work for you last week, so that might continue to happen on holidays. But only holidays because with the amount I read last week and the Fringe opening this week – well there’s far too much to talk about.



From the Archives: SWF Seeks Basic Website – must be attractive, clean and open to sharing…

From The Archives: #Twitter #Mistakes in the #Arts, and Something To Keep In Mind

From The Archives: My Thoughts on Starting a Theatre Company

Web 2.0, User Reviews & Ticket Sales

Cottage Reading, a Social Media Workshop and Dancing to Eminem

The Fringe is Less than a WEEK AWAY!

Introducing: The 2013 Fringe Club!



June 21, 2013

Web 2.0, User Reviews & Ticket Sales

(As some of you may have noticed, Sue’s away this week! Thus this post was written by her Communications Coordinator, Lisa, who is writing in the third person right now… Enjoy!)

Low ticket sales and small houses? Can’t get reviewers out to your show? The solution may be in Web 2.0. …

Web 2.0., as defined by O’Reilly Media in 2004, refers to the current movement in web development and design that aims to facilitate communications, information sharing and collaboration. Today’s online culture is all about the sharing of knowledge: testimonials and reviews make up a large part of this information sharing. Online users have come to trust and make use of these reviews when they shop:

Nielsen BuzzMetrics

Nielsen BuzzMetrics

What does this mean for ticket sales?

In a 2008 survey done by, 86% of consumers said they read online business reviews before making purchasing decisions; 90% of whom say they trust these reviews.

Word of mouth is king in the buyer game, so it doesn’t really matter how many advertisements you take out in Now Magazine; the majority of consumers are looking to their peers for recommendations. As David Carlick says “Your brand isn’t your product, it’s what people say about your product”. Web 2.0 is helping to extend the reach of individual reviews and recommendations, making use of forums, reviewing sites and comment sections to gauge public opinion and help consumers make informed decisions.

We know word of mouth sells show tickets, so can we utilize Web 2.0’s penchant towards information sharing and user reviews in the theatre world? We are not, after all, trying to sell a flat screen TV or minivan; opinions on our products are far more subjective. Social Media is a good place to start: Twitter, Facebook & Google+ can be utilized to generate discussion about shows. Unfortunately, as those conversations, and the accounts that host them, are often controlled by the theatre companies themselves, they are not impartial and considered less reliable for users.

What about a dedicated site for unbiased, multi-user reviews? Most online newspapers and blogs, such as Now, The Grid & Blog T.O., have a comment section where show-goers can share their opinions, but these are underutilized and text heavy. Reviewing sites like Yelp, Amazon, FourSquare, and Epinions, provide rating systems and criteria for business and products which make for easy aggregation. While perhaps too simplistic or restricting for the arts, a rating system would make shared reviews easy to assess.

We need an accessible, unbiased, online space in which to provide theatre reviews. Individual reviewers are unable to take in all that a city of this size has to offer. A collection of multiple reviews would provide would-be-ticket-buyers a space in which to make informed decisions about the shows available to them. There is, of course, the chance that sites like these can be trolled or stacked by people hoping to destroy or hype shows, but the use of site-specific profiles or linked social networks could help avoid these problems.

After searching Google to see if I could find such a site, I came across Toronto Theatre‘s user review section. It allows users to review the shows they’ve seen using a five star system with space for commentary. Have you used this site before? Have you heard of other theatre-reviewing sites? Would you direct your audiences to them?

Or have you thought of other ways to utilize the ‘user review’ Web 2.0 phenomenon? How can we increase ‘word of mouth’ on the web? Let’s share what we know and get people talking!

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