People Like You Read A Blog Post Like This

Even though it often feels like promoting arts and culture as a non-profit entity requires inventing entirely new methods wholecloth because our emphasis and motivations are not driven by a profit motive, I am encouraged when I see commonalities in research findings and advice. We are, after all, dealing with the same set of human beings.

Seth Godin recently had a post about getting people to shift to a new product. While his example revolves around getting someone to switch brands of motorcycle, I saw a few familiar lessons peeking out between the Harleys and BMWs.

If you are marketing to people who will have to switch to engage with you, do it with intention. Your pitch of, “this is very very good” is insufficient. Your pitch of, “you need something in this category” makes no sense, because I’m already buying in that category. Instead, you must spend the time, the effort and the money to teach me new information that allows me to make a new decision. Not that I was wrong before, but that I was under-informed.

This caught my attention for two reasons. First, it reinforces that providing a high quality performance is not enough if people already feel they are having quality experiences with their current choices. (Which could be everything from other experiences to entertainment delivery platforms.)

Second, it reiterates the importance of having sufficient information about the unfamiliar that I wrote about on Monday and last month.

And then there is this from Godin:

Ignore the tribal links at your peril. Without a doubt, “people like us do things like this,” is the most powerful marketing mantra available. Make it true, then share the news.

While this idea is most often emphasized in relation to getting millennial involved in what you are doing, (the study I cited on Monday being a prime example), participating in activities and associating with things that reinforce your self image is a fundamental element of our society, regardless of age.

(And I am really curious, how many people didn’t pass over this post because of the title? That would really prove a point despite being so blatantly click-baity)

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.


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