Does your audience behave in one distinct way for the one distinct product you offer? If it does then congratulations - and keep it quiet. There a 650 arts marketers at the AMA Conference whose jealousy could drive them to unspeakable acts.
I do not have one audience or one product. I'm responsible for the audience development strategy for a thriving and complex multi art form venue in the country's second city. A city where multiculturalism flourishes, a city of both deprivation and abundance, where people - broadly speaking - live shoulder to shoulder in harmony. And all are welcome to mac birmingham. They make up the 1m visits we receive each year to a contemporary arts centre packed with a diverse cultural offer. I politely compare my audience to the NHS. Cradle to grave care. Toddler Art Play to Tai Chi for Arthritis Sufferers. Igglepiggle to anything with Judi Dench or Maggie Smith.
Defining my audiences and noting the differences in their behaviours, values and culture consumption with clarity and efficiency is hard enough for someone who's been working in the industry for 14 years. But I have to consider over 200 colleagues and two boards of trustees from many other industries and backgrounds. And all of them need to understand our current and potential audiences to be able to drive the business forward with efficiency and purpose.
So when Howard Buckely, Head of Marketing at The Audience Agency, asked me how I used Audience Finder, my answer was not one about statistics or wading through data. It was about understanding, advocacy and - to be frank - managing up.
Most of you will have seen the Audience Finder dashboard and had a little play. And it is a marvellous tool for cutting through the swathes of data which delight and confound us in equal measure. So here's my provocation to you. Open the gates. Give it to your Chief Exec, your artistic director, your sales team, your chairperson and there will be no better education. We arts marketers are a sophisticated bunch, let the rest of them in on our secret.
Then understand the things they didn't know. Sometimes, particularly when you're really familiar with your organisation, you forget the obvious things aren't obvious for everyone. Here's some things I'd forgot to share, which knocked the socks off some of my colleagues.
Evaluating a Salford cultural and education partnership which co-creates theatre with children and young people.
How The Audience Agency is innovating to help art galleries find out more about their visitors in a fun and interactive digital way.