Header Image

Canadian Arts Marketing, Development & Ticketing Conference, Toronto

06.11.18 - 06.12.18


Choosing Sides: Defining a Role for the Arts (and Making it Work) in “Interesting" Times

We live in politically charged times. A state of constant change and great threat. But also tremendous opportunities. It is in times of great upheaval that artists have their biggest contributions to make, and the changes just around the corner offer some of the best opportunities for artists in our lifetimes. So what now is the role of artists and arts organizations? And how to take advantage of what’s coming? Here’s an overview of the major trends and technologies that promise to transform our culture and some strategies for arts organizations to position themselves.


Build Your Patron Journey by Creating a Unique Map to Greater Engagement

What distinguishes arts and cultural events from the hundreds of other entertainment or enrichment activities available to us? For starters, they don’t happen on your couch and they don’t happen alone. We strive to produce programming that sends our audience on an emotional and intellectual journey, but there’s another journey taking place: the path to greater engagement with your art and your organization, a Patron Journey.

In the age of “streaming everything,” what separates us from the competition is the emotional attachment we have to the people and places that share the arts and culture experience with us. If we believe this is true, then the single most important part of our mission, aside from our programming, are the interactions we have with these patrons. Where are they in their journey? How can we enrich their appreciation of the works we present? How can we move them along the path from single ticket buyer to lifetime benefactor? How can they advocate for us to the patrons we’ve yet to meet? You’re the guide; where will you lead them?

In this two-hour workshop, you’ll create a Patron Journey that’s unique to your organization, based on its size, available resources, and its position in your local arts and culture market. We'll discuss what successful organizations around the world are doing, and we’ll show you how to replicate their strategies to identify and manage patrons who are ready to take the next step.

You’ll learn how to:
  • Find your unique strengths and adapt to peer offerings in the marketplace
  • Evaluate and allocate resources: finance, technology, content, staffing
  • Use your data systems to build reports that matter
  • Identify segments and craft messaging and programming that works
  • Create Random Acts of Kindness to build loyalty
  • Automate aspects of the journey to save staff time and get better results
  • Measure your success and refine your plan to optimize results and return on investment
Working in small groups throughout this Intensive, you'll leave with a journey map that you can put in action in your organization right away, plus you’ll have all the motivation and information you need to sell that plan to your Board and other stakeholders. Don’t miss this!


Developing Effective Audience Building Strategies and Tactics

Research shows that there’s no magic to building a following with a new audience. Instead, success comes by carefully considering the barriers keeping audiences from attending, and then identifying intersection points between the work an organization presents on one hand, and a target audience’s interests, attitudes, and lifestyles on the other. This session will examine how several arts organizations found success by following these steps—methodically thinking through the barriers facing a target audience and then developing multifaceted strategies grounded in sometimes newly discovered alignments between what audiences are looking for and what their organizations present. Group exercises will facilitate thinking through which barriers to tackle, and then how to craft an audience development strategy and tactics that align with both the artistic mission and what a target audience is looking for.


Lions and Tigers and Blogs, Oh My! Revealing What’s Behind the Curtain with Content Marketing

We are not in Kansas anymore. Current and potential audiences are hungry for insights into our organizations and what we present, but how best to deliver the goods? This panel of thought-leaders will discuss blogs, videos, podcasts and all sorts of media now being used to educate and engage. Attend this session and click your heels together three times. That’s all it takes to make your offerings irresistable!
Moderator: Erin Fernandes
Marketing Coordinator Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives

Khaled Iwamura
Chief Editor & Founder insauga.com

Lucas Cabral
Communications and Digital Media Lead The Robert McLaughling Gallery

Renata Lewis
Co-owner and Marketing Strategist T by Daniel


Best Practices for Exceeding Accessibility Laws: Creating Cultures of Inclusion

Join us to share best practices in creating a welcoming and engaging experience for all persons and communities. You'll hear from seasoned professionals representing organizations that run their own venue(s) as well as rental clients. This in-depth discussion will cover a host of successful communication strategies, helpful resources, dynamic community partnerships and more!
Moderator: April Moon
Associate Director of Audience Services Canadian Stage

Kevin Devaux
Manager of Patron Services Toronto Symphony Orchestra


Smart Ways to Handle CASL

CASL is one of the toughest laws of its kind in the world, making its interpretation and application particularly thorny. To discuss the myriad challenges organizations currently face and smart ways to approach them, we’ve assembled a panel of leaders at the forefront of this perplexing new world.
Moderator: Nathaniel Whitfield
Art Gallery Ontario Manager, Membership and Database Marketing

Travis Wall
General Manager Method Works Consulting


Creating a Compelling, Brand-Building System of Visual Expression

Building connection, participation, revenue, and support through design

Nonprofits, and particularly those in the arts space, have to execute a complex business model. Not only do they have to sell tickets, they also have to bring in philanthropic dollars, land sponsorships, and secure investments from foundations and civic entities. They have to keep four income steams up and running to be successful.

And because no one needs to go to the ballet, spend an afternoon at a museum, or attend an orchestral concert, the task for arts marketers is to move different constituents from “that could be an okay idea” to “I want to attend / sponsor / support” your organization. Your value has to go beyond fulfilling basic operational and quotidian needs, to fulfilling emotional ones. To make this happen, you’ve got to connect with people at a level that’s deeper and longer-lived than individual offerings: they have to connect with your brand.

More than your logo, your brand is actually what you mean and promise. It’s comprised of your offerings, your value and values, your history and reputation, how you treat people, and your place in the cultural landscape––much of this expressed in your print, digital, environmental, and personal communications. And your brand doesn’t really exist until people take it in and believe it.

Words, of course, play a big part—but only a part. For cultural organizations, and most especially for arts organizations, how you express yourself visually has an outsized impact on how your brand is perceived and internalized.

Your visual expression, across media, can either invite people in or erect a barrier––can either resonate with a person’s (or sponsor’s) brand, or be at odds. It can either add value to your offerings, or detract. It can differentiate you within a crowded, visually noisy landscape, or barely separate you from the pack.

In this session, we’ll look at:
  • how to define and articulate your brand foundation––your meaning, attributes, assets, and desired positioning––from which all subsequent work flows;
  • how your strategic plan informs how you present yourself;
  • why you need to be thinking of visual expression as a system, comprised of inter-related decisions around logo, type, color, imagery, composition, and design;
  • the need to build a system that can “tilt” to connect with different constituencies: attracting younger audiences is not the same as soliciting patrons for planned giving––but your brand system has to do both;
  • how your new system can save time and money while building increased recognition and connection; and
  • how to engage your organization in this process––so that those who commission, make, and evaluate communications are all working together to increase awareness, interest, participation, and support.
Throughout the talk, we’ll connect theory to practice, and look at examples of visual systems from these successful organizations: Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Celebrity Series of Boston, Emmanuel Music, Boston Center for the Arts, and the League of American Orchestras––organizations with budgets of varying sizes.
Roger Sametz
President and Chief Executive Officer Sametz Blackstone Associates


Use Data to Drive Fundraising Success

For many years now, arts marketers have relied on data to make key decisions about how to allocate their advertising dollars, which audience segments to target, and what messages and mediums to use for the greatest revenue increases and return on investment. While this has not always been the case with our fundraising teams, new technologies and processes are making it possible to achieve the same kind of data-driven success in annual fund appeals, membership drives, and moves management strategies.

In this session, you’ll learn what fundraising data points are actually worth tracking, how to look at the data and perform the calculations, where to focus your time for optimal results, and how to apply segmentation and targeting strategies used by successful organizations around the country. Bring questions and stories about what has worked for you and your organization.

Creating a Five-Star Fundraising Plan — Your Recipe for Success

Just as great meals are created one ingredient at a time, so are effective strategic fundraising plans. Join this interactive session that focuses on the steps to design and implement a plan that really "cooks" in maximizing your contributed income and donor relationships. Learn how to craft a recipe that identifies and cultivates the right individual donors through social media, telefundraising, special projects, and more!! Add a touch of the best donor research and planning techniques to capitalize on your unique flavor. Mix in strategies that engage well done corporate and foundation stakeholders. Stir in the best special events and donor benefits that celebrate your impact. Cover how to set realistic timelines and how much "heat" to put on your donor prospects, always making sure they don't get burned. And finally, savor the spice that your organization adds to your community.
Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau
President Arts Consulting Group


How Does Your Organization Measure Up? -- Arts Industry Benchmark Data

Using data from 300+ performing arts organizations, this session will provide industry benchmarks for how you compare to your peers in key metrics such as re-attendance, proportion of sales online, click-through rates, donation add-ons and many more. In each area we’ll discuss not only the benchmark average but also identify organizations with exceptionally high success rates and break down what contributes to their success. Expect to walk away from this session with highly tangible take-aways that you can immediately implement at your organization.
Adam Matheson
Director of Marketing & Development Factory Theatre


Radical Hospitality: Technology Solutions for Audience Inclusivity

How do I provide on-demand services for hard-of-hearing and/or visually impaired patrons? Are there ways to translate content for my increasingly bilingual audiences without breaking the bank? These questions inspired The Shubert Organization in NYC to participate in the development of a new Apple and Android app that fulfills the ADA requirements for real-time closed captioning, assistive listening, audio description for the visually impaired, as well as facilitating multi-language translations for patrons. Leveraging mobile technology makes this solution simple, portable and cost-effective. Hear about this product's development, testing and roll out in 17 Broadway theatres this year.
Kyle Wright
Digital Projects Director The Shubert Organization


Can 100% Digital Marketing Work for Your Organization?

The Phoenix Symphony is allocating 100% of their single ticket advertising budget to digital for the 2017-2018 season. In this session, you’ll learn about the company’s digital evolution, and see how the Symphony used data and experimentation to arrive at this progressive budget. Discover how this real live case study is playing out with $4,000,000 in annual ticket sales on the line—hint: record breaking results.

After this session, you’ll be able to:
  • Implement an iterative and strategic approach to increasing your digital advertising
  • Evaluate how to set, measure and implement key KPI’s to prove, justify and communicate your progress
  • Double down what marketing efforts are working and discontinue or cut back efforts that are not
  • Prove or disprove paradigms in your industry using data (e.g. older audiences don’t use social media)

How to Maximize Data to Enhance Your Program Marketing and Communications Campaigns

In this session attendees from any size arts organization will learn to use big data in a way they haven’t before. Learn how you can better target your messaging to influence people within your community. Leverage data to help make sound and successful decisions, whether through a cross-marketing and communications platform approach or a singular appeal.
Allen Davidov
Director of Business Consulting Environics Analytics


Case Study: Data Mutualisation to Better Define Customer Needs and Expectations

We live in an era in which media consumption is more and more fragmented, audiences are ever harder to reach and subscriptions are going down. In this context, big data is becoming increasingly relevant for any organisation trying to attract and retain its clients as it helps gain precious customer insight and understand consumer behavior on a more granular level, allowing in turn for the development of more relevant offers. This has been very well understood and applied by many industries of the private sector – take the aviation industry as an example. The cultural sector can learn much from applying some of these strategies to their objectives of audience retention and development.

Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles Partnership led a culture attendance data mutualisation project within the Partnership’s mandate of sustaining cultural assets. By sharing and pooling data, the insights gained were much greater than the sum of its individual parts. The consolidated database allowed for a detailed and up-to-date overview of audience and attendance in the Quartier des Spectacles cultural district. It also enabled the creation of prediction models based on audience interests in the specific context of the district and the development of new ideas and opportunities (cross-sales, upsales) supported by actual observation of preferences and trends. The project moves forward to gain further market intelligence made possible by data mutualisation and to democratize the process, notably by employing data visualization. As well, we are about to create a center for big data in arts and culture for which we have recently received provincial funding.

Beyond data and business intelligence, the project emphasizes sharing resources, best practices, and expertise, for the benefit of all.
Alexandra Maier
Communications and Marketing Director Quartier des Spectacles Partnership


Our Sponsors

  • Images

    Spektrix is a ticketing, marketing and fundraising solution made specifically for the performing arts. With cloud-based technology and world-class support, Spektrix helps 400+ organizations across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. grow their revenue and deepen patron relationships. We do this through providing a system with frequent and seamless upgrades, sophisticated reporting, and free strategic consultation from experienced arts professionals.

    More Info
  • Images

    Dream Warrior Group provides graceful yet technologically savvy solutions for Arts organizations. The goal-driven services focus on audience and action. As your technology advocate, we will be your ally and can manage and fully implement your online presence. Our services (ala carte or contracted) include: Web site design and development, e-marketing, e-promotion, social media management and optimization. We implement your message in a digital environment

    More Info
  • Images

    Theatre Manager™ software is used at Theatres, Festivals, Arenas, Performing Arts Centers, Symphony Orchestras, Museums, Educational Institutions, Municipalities, Non-profit and For-profit organizations.

    Key functionalities:
    - Patron & Household CRM
    - Box Office & Internet Sales
    - without 3rd party fees
    - Development & Donation Management
    - Marketing - including email blasts
    - Artist, Staff & Volunteer Management
    - Financial Controls
    - Facility & Project Management

    Since 1985, our experience has been drawn from 100s of venues, with 1000s of users who use Theatre Manager softwae to track approximately 3/4 of a billion dollars in annual revenue.

    More Info
  • Images

    Behind the world's most successful events. Get your live events discovered, attended and remembered. With our software solutions, audience growth strategies and client communities all working seamlessly together, we help you make event magic. We have 9,000+ venues and 4,500+ clients of all sizes around the world – from the smallest venues to the biggest events. Our vantage point makes us unique in the market. We process over $3 billion in ticketing and fundraising transactions and sell over 110-million tickets each year. We look forward to using our insights and experience to become your essential partner in live events.

    More Info


June 11, 2018:
Morning Intensive (Program starts at 9:00 a.m.)
Lunch on Your Own
Opening Reception with one-on-ones

June 12, 2018:
Networking Reception with one-on-ones
Lunch with the Experts
Afternoon Intensive
Breakouts (Conference ends at 5:00 p.m.)

Program and speakers subject to change.

Among other benefits, Arts Reach Members receive significant discounts on conference registration. Join NOW!