Searching for Your Affinity

A job description came to my attention thanks to one of my old professors passing on some job listings from graduates of my program. The job is for an affinity marketer at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Florida.

Affinity marketing is generally the approach to marketing that focuses finding customers interested in a certain product or topic, then offering that customer related products and services. It has been around since at least the late 90s and has been mostly related to ecommerce. This is the first time I have ever seen the position advertised in an arts setting.

I found an <em>Inc magazine article that talked about affinity groups in business. While the article isn’t exactly about affinity marketing, it does point out that shared affinity doesn’t mean living in the same town, driving the same cars, working in the same industry and going to the same churches. One of the groups it profiles is comprised of those “who are all under 40 and managing companies of a certain size, operate from a similar frame of reference, even though they may have vastly different businesses and experiences.”

Andrew Taylor made a few posts in recent months that points out a few ways shared affinity can be addressed in the arts.

The Broward job description has some interesting duties listed which appear to be part of these affinity marketing efforts.

– append the current database with lifestyle and psychographic info

– identify potential niches, clusters or anomalies within the database and append consumer profiles in order to target audiences and create marketing strategies.

– coordinate the marketing message to specific individuals or cluster.

– analyze and utilize data to identify opportunities and implement tactics

– manage subscription communication for affinity program patrons

It might be a sign of just how new an effort affinity marketing is to the arts that the job description doesn’t even list prior experience in affinity marketing as a desirable plus. Actually, I wonder if it is an entirely new position for the organization. I didn’t find anything on the website that collected information that might indicate the sort of connections for which they might be looking.

I am going to drop a line to the person who forwarded the info to my old professor and see what the story is. Let you all know what I turn up.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


3 thoughts on “Searching for Your Affinity”

  1. I’ve been enjoying your blog for quite some time now, Joe, and I’m especially intrigued by this entry.

    Affinity-based strategies can be very effective, though I agree that they are in their infancy in performing arts marketing.

    There is a terrific affinity-based strategy at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center where a dynamo staff member has built a very effective program.

    I think we’ll see more of this approach in the future.

    Thanks again for your excellent blog. It’s a daily must read for me.

  2. Thanks a lot Neill. That means a lot. Not to get into a mutual admiration thing, but I often read your blog with envy. If I had my druthers my entries would be as well written and considered as yours.

    Obviously in your position you get a great deal of practice writing and speaking in such a manner–and your clients expect it. Nonetheless, I read your stuff with great relish.

  3. I thought I would jump in here. I am the Director of Marketing and Communication for The Broward Center for The Performing Arts. Yes, this is a new position and one we are extremely excited about here.

    In an industry that spends a considerable amount of marketing dollars “broadcasting” their message through means such as print, radio and TV, the idea here is how to “narrowcast” our message to patrons who regularly attend our Center and we have history of their ticket purchases. While some Centers achieve this though direct mail, that method of delivery can be very expensive, dated in nature and without great return. This position is to work with our existing patron base and create messaging that will resonate with them. Additionally it will make them feel more apart of the Center by asking their opinions and getting them more involved.

    Instead of looking at our top patrons strictly as ticket buyers, we are trying to build relationships with them. In one example, we sent a thank you card to our top buyers as a token of our appreciation along with a voucher from one of our sponsors as a “gift”. Beyond serving as a sign of our appreciation, it can create some word of mouth…”Hey, guess what I just got in the mail from the Broward Center”. It becomes just another level of customer service.

    It’s all about building relationships with our patrons. If they are lovers of modern dance, traditional thinking would say not to let our patrons know about something going on at another venue. I disagree. We cannot stand in the way of an enthusiast finding out about a performance in another venue, so why don’t we take the high road and be the first to deliver that message to them. If there is a way we can bring value by offering up their interests to the table, it just helps to build our relationship with those patrons even further. Eventually, some can look to us as the source of information for their theater and entertainment interests.


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