Customer Centric Marketing Tips All In One Place

I have been writing about the importance of providing audience focused marketing and experiences for a number of years now. These three links are just representative of  the hundreds of posts I have made on the subject. Even having written all that, it is often difficult for me to remember all the tips and ideas when it comes time to put them into practice.

Therefore, I was happy to see that Ruth Hart posted her “Three foolproof tests for customer-centric arts marketing” on LinkedIn. Additionally, she provided a link to a customer-centric arts marketing check list on her webpage. I eagerly downloaded it last week and it is great.

Now if you go to download the check list, you will note that she asks for your contact info in exchange for the list. That may make you a little wary of providing it. You don’t know how your contact info is going to be used. Is Ruth going to start spamming you will emails trying to sell you a service?

I mean, I am pretty sure someone scraped my contact information from LinkedIn or married my email address from one source to my LinkedIn profile because I get repeated emails about franchise opportunities referencing an former job title and location from people every week with subject lines saying “Re:Re:Re:Re: Executive Director opportunities.”

Stuff like that is pretty annoying.

But I have a pretty high level of trust in Ruth to conduct her communications in a constructive manner. I have been following and interacting with her for awhile and she seems to practice what she preaches in terms of not doing stuff like spamming ticket buyers, etc with sales pitches or donor requests.  She writes about how that will erode relationships with audiences and community, and from what I have experienced she seems to follow her own advice. I haven’t gotten spammed by her yet.

And no, the link I provide to her check list isn’t some sort of affiliate program where I get something if you sign up.

While I would usually like to excerpt multiple suggestions from that list, I want to honor the work she did to put it together.

Except, I will note that this post does reflect one of the points on her list and include that one:

Provide info to eliminate “threshold fear” such as concert running time, what to wear, and other FAQs

By trying to assure you, quite sincerely, that my experience thus far has shown me that Ruth won’t spam you if you provide your contact info in exchange for her list, I am attempting to eliminate a type of threshold fear you might have.

Pay Attention To New Spam Policies Going Into Effect This Month

Last month Drew McManus posted on ArtsHacker warning about changes that Yahoo and Gmail are implementing this month that will shunt a greater number of emails to spam folders unless you take steps to mitigate the issue.

Any users in your database and mailing lists with addresses ending in or require the following:

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) authentication: if you don’t already have


Keep Spam Rate Under 0.3%: Maintain a pristine reputation, experts recommend aiming for below 0.1%! 0.1%-0.3% is the warning zone: hover in that range too long and you still risk having your messages blocked.


Double-Check Your DNS: Confirm your digital addresses match your domain, like matching your website and email platforms.


If your organization sends more than 5,000 messages per day, you’ll encounter some additional requirements:

If your organization gets flagged, it means ALL of your messages, regardless the source, coming from an email address with your primary domain will get blocked by Google and Yahoo with no potential to reverse the decision.

Obviously, I chopped out a lot. Drew provides a fair bit of additional detail, but if you don’t know what SPF and DKIM are already, I am not sure his explanation will help. I looked those terms up and still didn’t know if we were compliant or not.

Fortunately, my marketing team was on it. When I forwarded the post link to them, they let me know our bulk email service provider has been warning about this for awhile and they had made the appropriate adjustments. Unfortunately, I was so relieved I forgot that I wanted to post about this issue a couple weeks ago to let more folks know.

Definitely take the time to read Drew’s post and investigate whether you need to take action to avoid problems, including cleaning up your lists and revamping your emailing practices.

New (And Critical) Email Deliverability Changes For Gmail & Yahoo

Music To Your Beers

I was kinda thrilled to hear the melodious voice of conductor Bill Eddins on the Marketplace Morning Report this morning. Bill had written the Sticks and Drones blog here on Inside the Arts alongside Ron Spigelman for a number of years.

Bill was on Marketplace talking about MetroNOME, the brewery he started in St. Paul, MN. Their goal is to funnel proceeds from sales into local music education programs.

Eddins and his co-founder, Matt Engstrom, aspire to grow their business to the size of a small regional brewery. When their goal is realized, they plan to filter funding from the brewery toward local music education programs.

“We believe that we would be able to funnel as much as half a million or even maybe a million dollars a year into the local music education programs here in the Twin Cities metro,” said Eddins.

MetroNOME has already racked up close to 400 performances at their brewery, including a concert with jazz legend Wynton Marsalis. True to his music education philosophy, Eddins recruited a trio young musicians, two of whom were too young to drink his product, to play with Marsalis.

Eddins admits he and his partner don’t necessarily have the acumen and experience to take the organization to the level it needs to in order to generate the funds required to support local music education, but he believes there are people in the Twin Cities area that can help make it happen.

They do, however, have a secret ingredient that provides a competitive advantage. I encourage everyone to watch the video on their homepage. It starts out looking like a typical brewery video, but it takes an entertaining turn. My thanks to Drew McManus for nudging me to watch the video.

Dayton Live’s Fun Beyond The Scenes Videos

You probably aren’t searching the Interwebs for trenchant observations on arts administration the day after Christmas. But still, you can learn a little something from some entertaining videos colleagues have created over the last year.

So allow me to give a shout-out to Dayton Live’s Chief Creativity Officer, Gary Minyard for the audience etiquette video he and his team, (and dog), created for younger folks planning a trip to the theatres:

I wanted to see what else they may have put out during the year and found a compilation of “Tiny Dressing Room” concerts that the casts of touring shows sang. Obviously a take off on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series, but no less fun:

Minyard had also done a video about all the venues Dayton Live runs in an informative, engaging manner. This video from August was probably something of necessity because the organization held a big re-branding announcement in March 2020…basically the day before everything shutdown for Covid. Once things were up and running again, they probably saw the need make another effort to introduce people to the organization and its spaces.