Tracing the evolution of marketing in arts organizations

From ‘third wheel’ to protagonist of the arts scene

Authored by: Marta Massi , Chiara Piancatelli

The Routledge Companion to Arts Management

Print publication date:  September  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138492226
eBook ISBN: 9781351030861
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines the evolution of the role of marketing in the arts and culture sector and reviews the different arguments used by arts organizations in favor and against the marketing concept, as well as the transition from traditional marketing approaches for arts organizations to modern forms of arts marketing which also take advantage of digitalization and social media, and value co-creation practices. By illustrating a series of case studies, supported by interviews conducted with museum and theatre marketing managers, the chapter shows how the role of marketing has shifted from that of ‘third wheel’ between the artists and the audience to a more leading role in the arts scene. In particular, the authors emphasize what marketing can do for the arts and what role marketing can have in arts organizations. By providing a comprehensive review of the literature on arts marketing, this chapter lays the groundwork for identifying future directions for research in arts marketing.

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