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October 2020

September 2020

Our Training, Our Plans: An Informal Survey of the Field


How did you learn to market a show or market your business?

Did you study marketing in school?

Do you follow a marketing plan or organically make a plan when a need arises?

Is your focus on a marketing plan or "marketing strategies" right now based on the size and scale of your organization?


These are common questions that many administrators and business owners wonder but are a bit timid to ask! So - I took a chance and reached out to ten colleagues around the country to ask them the questions. (Please note that I reached out to a small pool of colleagues at predominantly modern/contemporary dance schools, companies, and festivals.) This small sampling aims to open the window into a larger conversation and through-line on the blog about training and marketing plans.


On training. Here's what these 10 marketing professionals shared:

The group of 10 hold titles as marketing/communication associates, managers, and directors.


When asked about their training (college degrees, graduate degrees, internships, workshops, etc):

  • Only 1 out of 10 had an undergraduate degree in business, marketing, or arts administration
  • Only 1 out of 10 had a graduate degree in business, marketing, or arts administration
  • 20% of the group engaged in a marketing-related internship
  • 80% participated in continuing education workshops and conferences in recent years related to marketing

When asked, "Did you 'grow' into your marketing position through having a prior job at your organization/school?":

  • 6 of 10 arts administrators talked about internships or prior positions at their org before their current marketing/communications role

When asked, "What informal ways ways you have developed as a marketer over the years?" the 10 administrators surveyed shared:

  • Learning by doing
  • Learning from colleagues and supervisors
  • Webinars, LinkedIn Learning Courses, and YouTube videos
  • Online resources and articles
  • Books
  • Americans for the Arts Conference
  • Following other marketers on social media
  • Working with a marketing consultant
  • Transferring personal experience from being a choreographer and producing my own shows into my current job


On Marketing Plans. The 10 administrators surveyed were equally split between "project-based plans" and "yearlong plans." While doing this survey, I also stumbled upon this great article about marketing plans: How to Create a Crystal Clear Marketing Plan (+ Templates) by Katrina Balmaceda .


Let's keep the conversation going! Please add below your thoughts and questions about training for marketers and about marketing plans.


Resource Share

Book photo

Each month on market to market, I will be sharing books, articles, podcasts, and upcoming webinars and conferences.


READ (book): In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs - by Grace Bonney (2016)

While this is not a marketing book per se, it is fabulous and inspiring nonetheless. Pick it up over the course of a few weeks for inspiration and ideas by colleagues all around the country. Bonney's short interviews are about career paths, lessons learned, and what "success" means. Essential ideas related to marketing - growth, sales, and scaling up - are common threads in the interviews.

READ (article): I am Not Your Negro: Radical Solutions for Dismantling Racism in Marketing - by Khalilah Elliott

WATCH (panel discussion/recording): Anti-Racism And The Arts (ASL-interpreted): Marketing Leaders Respond! - presented by Howlround on August 19, 2020

ENGAGE (upcoming virtual conference): Boot Camp 2020 through Capacity Interactive, October 22-23, 2020

SUBSCRIBE (mailing list, FB, IG): Speaking of Capacity Interactive, do you know about this organization and its incredible offerings about marketing? Time to join the mailing list, like the FB page, and follow on IG. I just did! So much to learn and take in -


Please share your current readings and resources below in a Comment! Thank you.

A New Blog Begins!


Hello and welcome to my latest passion project, market to market. This blog is for artists, arts organizations, and small businesses and aims to be a hub for resources, story sharing, and support for the field.

Speaking as a dancer and arts administrator, so many of us learn about marketing through informal ways - "growing" into a position, trial and error, and a lot of love, curiosity, and passion. I dedicate this project to two colleagues, Jessi B and Alex C.

Each month, the blog will share 4 to 6 blog posts to cover:

  • Short interviews with marketers around the United States about their jobs and career paths
  • Lists from artists and small business owners with tips, suggestions, and common pitfalls in marketing
  • A monthly interview/conversation with Chris Randall and myself.*
  • Resource sharing: websites, podcasts, articles, books, and upcoming workshops

*Yes, to point #3 here - many of the marketing ideas I have learned through conversations (and osmosis!) with my husband, who is a longtime employee at Clif Bar (now into year 23 at the company). Chris's personal story also aligns well with this blog - learning by doing, and lots of curiosity and putting in of hours.

This new project reminds me of Tina Seelig's book What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20. Check it out! It is a beautiful book about what I am talking about - people carving paths and careers without formal training.

There are SO many ways to learn and be successful in our world. Let's share more about our marketing work here!



Jill Randall

Blog Director