Creating Surveys for Theatre and the Arts

Marketing Theater requires a solid understanding of your community, audience, and your potential audience. Gaining this understanding therefore is one of the most important things you can undertake to build your arts program, and as with many important things it is also one of the most difficult jobs you will ever be faced with in marketing your arts program.

Gaining an understanding of your audience often begins with the creation of a survey, and its success will most certainly depend on the creation of a number of good surveys. Within surveys there are a number of different types of questions including open ended, in which the taker of the survey answers with their own words, and restricted item surveys in which the participant has a limited set of choices which you created.

The temptation will be great to have open ended questions as the majority of a survey, it stands to reason after all that if people can tell you exactly how they feel you will get a better gauge of the communities feelings. The difficulty with this comes in interpretation and utilization of data. People will tend to use many different words for the same thing, what’s more when asked to answer a question in an open ended survey you will at times get so many answers you won’t be able to determine what a majority is, or what ties your audience together. For these reasons it is often better to have the bulk of your survey as restricted item questions.

Much of what you want from your surveys is demographic information, such as age and income levels. However these questions are boring so it is often best to put them last and put the questions about the performance, about culture, the arts, theatre, and your marketing program first in order to make the survey more interesting. In addition to this your questions whenever possible should follow a logical order, with groups a similar questions side by side.

Even as you try to put similar questions first remember anything which the general public needs to read has to be laid out on your page. Make sure that your pages questions flow well visually from one to another, remember a large portion of the population only does a minimal amount of reading, or barely reads through the surveys, so you have to make the tasks of reading and figuring out the survey as easy as possible.

This lack of literacy and interest in surveys also means that you must take care when creating a survey to use smaller words, avoid using words of greater then seven or eight letters, and avoid creating long sentences and questions. The survey itself should be relatively short asking only the questions you feel knowing the answers to will directly impact your marketing choices. Getting the demographic information on those interested in your arts and theatre program which is related to the mail lists you could purchase for example. Other good options for a marketing campaign are those which allow you to discover what art appeals to the users, how often they would see various forms of marketing, what they already do for entertainment, and what days they have free.

Ty Hulse has degree’s in art, psychology, and business, and has many years of experience in helping arts groups and other creative entities. Currently he is creating a site in order to marketing and promotions in the performing arts.

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