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Home / Communities / Festivals / Festivals Toolkit / Understanding Your Needs

Festivals Toolkit

Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival – Once in a Lifetime

Understanding Your Needs

The following two exercises are sets of open-ended questions intended to provoke discussion. We strongly recommend that you go through them as a team that includes whomever makes strategic marketing decisions. It may also be useful to include people who execute the marketing and data collection efforts (e.g., post-event surveys). Working as a team allows for discussion and also makes it more likely that decisions will be implemented successfully. If your team only consists of one or two people, this exercise is still helpful for you to determine what your needs are and who and what you may need to implement them.

We encourage you to set aside about an hour to go through and discuss the “Marketing and Data” questions. For the “Identify Your Audiences” questions we encourage you to set aside two separate sessions in order to draft and then review your responses.

Marketing and Data (discussion exercise, 1 hour session)

What is your staff structure? Is anyone paid? How do you currently make decisions about marketing?

How could you make more informed decisions? What marketing channels do you employ? (For example, do you buy ads, do you use a newsletter, are you on social media?) How far in advance do you plan and execute on your marketing?

How do you currently track information about your audience?

What data do you collect about your audience?

How do you use this information?

What data do you wish you could collect?

What are your biggest challenges with collecting audience data?

Take a look at the demographic analysis example. Do you collect enough data to do this type of analysis? If you were able to do this type of analysis, how might it be useful?

Now that you’ve had the opportunity to reflect on your marketing practices and data collection needs, how would you like to make changes to your…

  • Decision making process?
  • Marketing budget?
  • Marketing strategy?
  • Audience data collection?

What questions do you need to investigate further in order to make these changes?

In concluding this activity, what have you learned about your festival? What are some marketing and data collection goals that you now have for the next few months? For the next year? For the 3-5-year horizon?

Identify Your Audiences (discussion exercise, two 2 hour sessions)

These questions are intended to help your festival think critically about your audience by describing their behaviors, interests, and demographics. The better you understand audiences, the more tailored and intentional your marketing can be. We recommend that you revisit these questions each year when festival planning begins. In the Examples section we have provided examples from two festivals.

Session 1

What is your mission statement?

Discuss what your ideal audience looks like. Brainstorm at least 10 phrases that describe your ideal audience(s).
Be as specific as possible when describing your audience. Think about…

  • What kind of art do they like?
  • What social activities do they participate in?
  • Are there specific issues they care about or topics they are interested in?
  • Where (geographically) do they come from?
  • What is their age, income, or cultural background?
  • Are they familiar with the art forms presented at your festival?

In order to describe your ideal audience with specificity, you will want to create smaller subgroups (segmentation). Describe up to three of these groups, using the prompts above.

Draft an audience development goal.
Select one of the audience groups described above and decide on a focused audience development goal for next year: would you like more people from that group to attend, the same people become repeat visitors, or something else?

Consider your data collection needs.
What information do you need to determine whether you have achieved your goal?

Are you currently able to collect this information? If so, describe the method.

Would you benefit from making changes to your current data collection approach? What questions do you have about how to collect this information?

Session 2

Revise your audience development goal, then share with others in your organization.
Make sure your goal includes a description of a specific audience group, the change you would like to see in that group, and how you will measure the change.

Ask for feedback about the goal. Is this goal realistic? How likely is it that you can accomplish this goal? How should it be revised so it is realistic?

Review and discuss the feedback received and make changes as needed.
What is the strategy for accomplishing this goal?

How does your marketing need to shift in order to support this goal?

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