Among the industries that were hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic were the performing arts. Broadway’s shutdown lasted for two years, throwing thousands of performing arts professionals out of work. Across the nation, musical events, concerts, arts gallery openings, and other traditionally popular in-person gatherings went dark as frightened Americans huddled in isolation. Even today, while street traffic is returning to the midtown Manhattan, and new shows and events are being announced, there’s no question that the economic and cultural devastation remains deep and that the level of marketing in this sector remains far below it was in 2019 or before.
I recently chatted with Michael Pilla, Founder of Section 11, a boutique agency specializing in marketing for the arts, about the post-pandemic state of the arts, and what it might take to convince people to resume participation as theatergoers, concert goers, and arts consumers.
While it’s still going to take a lot of work to bring audiences back into theater and concert seats, Michael has some great advice for producers and events organizers when they begin to seriously spend marketing dollars again.
In the complete interview below, our discussion touches on issues relevant to marketing for the arts and marketing in general, including the extent to which social media has changed marketing for the arts, the role of pricing in arts marketing, how influencers are changing the arts marketing game, and other issues germane to marketing for the arts.