Audience development is a concept that is often discussed, but do you ever wonder what audience development actually is? This can be tricky, because the definition tends to vary.
Some people think audience development is using marketing techniques to sell more tickets, and some people think it’s growing the general public into audiences who attend more events – both of which are somewhat relevant. But it is also a lot more than that.
Creative Waikato is on a journey to understand what audience development is for our region, and we are currently developing a suite of resources to best support the various creatives and creative organisations in the Waikato.
Having something locally connected is vital, because a lot of the current information, research and resources for audience development come from larger cities around the world, whereas for us, we know that being regional has its own unique needs. For example, most of our creative organisations are volunteer run, and many are based in rural environments with small populations.
What we do know is this: audience development is not a silver bullet for how to sell more tickets, nor is it a fancy way to talk about marketing what you do – although marketing is one of many useful tools you might use to connect with your audience.
So what do we at Creative Waikato think audience development is?
We understand audience development as less a method, and more an approach that everyone in your organisation will live and breathe. Audiences are made up with people, and genuine connection with these people is at the core of what audience development is all about.
The first step is having a really clear understanding of your vision, who you are, AND who you are for. Because how can you grow your audience if you don’t first know who you are, where you are going, and who you want to invite to join you on the ride?
Curious to understand more and consider how this might apply to you or your organisation?
We aim to offer a toolkit by the end of 2022, which includes resources such as “What is Audience Development”, “How to Identify and Measure Your Audience”, “How to Attract (and keep) Volunteers” as well as a practical Audience Development workshop dedicated to all this and more.
Go to our audience development section of our website and check out our definition and questions that expand on just what audience development is. And keep an eye on our website, because we’ll be uploading resources as they develop.
If you want to talk about Audience Development for your organisation, please reach out to Sasha and make some time to connect.