Marketing and Development – Friends in the Sandbox

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This post comes to you from Target Resource Group, found on the NAMP website. Amelia Northrup-Simpson of TRG in her article “Marketing is from Mars; Development is from Venus” discusses how marketing and development teams need to work together to bring about the ultimate goal of patron loyalty. Her thoughts hit home for me, as someone who has worked for small, medium, and larger orchestras.

At the medium-sized orchestra, marketing and development systems were different, but luckily, as the marketing director, I had a great relationship with our development director and we worked closely together. We would map out our entire season of mailings and solicitations to ensure that we weren’t stepping on each other’s toes.

At the larger orchestra, the departments were more silo-ed, but during my tenure, we worked to bring things together. For instance, the development department outsourced all of their collateral materials even though we had a great in-house designer. We in the marketing department had several meetings with them to assure them that we could provide better-designed materials for a fraction of the cost they were spending. We also brought some of the telefunding in-house, using our subscription call center to do the work. Luckily, we had Tessitura, so the joint system worked well in defining patron engagement across the entire organization.

Now that I’m at a smaller orchestra, we have only five full-time staff members, and we all wear multiple hats. Part of the development duties fall under my umbrella (corporate partnerships) and our patron sales and services manager (box office) does donation gift entry and donor thank you letters. Our ED writes fundraising letters and oversees the mailings (all done in-house.) However, we’re still struggling to cut ties with our development software, even though we’ve invested in a new joint system (Patron Manager) that can do both ticketing and fundraising. We’re finding that the joint system can’t quite meet all of our development needs just yet, so we’re duplicating information in both systems until we come up with a workable solution.

Getting the box office involved is also a great idea. This past season, we instituted a flat $5 donation ask on all online sales, which brought in a few hundred brand new donors that will now be placed in the annual fund solicitation mix. This is a simple but profitable venture that the box office can do. Also, instituting a donation ask on subscription mailings has always been an easy solution for marketing and the box office to assist with, and as marketing director, I’ve done this in each of the orchestras I’ve worked with.

I think the key here is flexibility, and both departments need to realize that the ultimate goal is sustainable revenue, whether it come from ticket sales or fundraising. We need to play well together in the sandbox and for the benefit of the entire organization. Read Northrup-Simpson’s article at the link below.

MARKETING IS FROM MARS; DEVELOPMENT IS FROM VENUS

About Samantha Teter

Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Executive Director Samantha Teter has over 15 years of experience in arts and non-profit marketing, public relations, and sales. She moved to the Chattanooga area in 2012 for the position of Director of Marketing with the CSO, and was promoted to Executive Director in 2016. She previously hailed from Denver, where she was Director of Marketing and Sales for the Colorado Symphony. Prior to that, she was Director of Marketing and PR for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in Indiana. Other arts and non-profit experience includes Director of Marketing and Auditorium Events for the Scottish Rite Center in Fort Wayne and Marketing Specialist for Indiana Tech.

Don't Stop Hacking The Arts Yet...

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