Arts marketing consortia

Date of publication: June 15, 1990


The paper argues for the joint or co-operative approach to marketing in the arts, as a means of optimising the use of limited resources, developing audiences and raising the profile of the arts. There are many possible joint or co-operative initiatives, within a locality, between localities and on a national basis, and examples are given. The arts marketing consortium is one of the more sophisticated forms of the joint marketing approach. It is a grouping of arts organisations coming together for marketing purposes; usually, to provide joint or common marketing services, such as collective distribution and advertising, joint sales promotions, market research and training. The Arts Council has been closely involved in the development of consortia in the UK. There are currently close to 20 in the UK, varying widely in structure, scale of operation and activities. A consortium can provide opportunities and benefits to which individual arts organisations might not otherwise have access: specialised skills, a wider, better range of services, and economies of scale, for example. It offers a forum for the exchange of experience and ideas amongst participants. It can also achieve, within its catchment area, greater awareness of, and a more prominent position for, the arts overall. Not all consortia achieve all that theoretically could be achieved. There are circumstances in which success is most likely, and the paper describes these. It also acknowledges that the consortium model will not always be right. Other beneficial forms of joint or co-operative marketing activity invariably will be possible, however. It is the Arts Council’s view that partnerships in general are a major development opportunity for marketing in the arts.

Madeleine A. Morton


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