Marketing trends for arts organisations in 2021

Top 3 Trends and changes to be aware of and consider

Photo by iSAW Company on Unsplash

I am passionate about the arts and culture sector. Having worked in art galleries, historical house museums and now in classical music, I realise that many things stay the same, but also that things need to move with the times. I think that 2020 has given a lot of us a big dose of reality and showed us that we need to change with the times more quickly and diversify our offerings. So thinking ahead to 2021, what can we do stay with the game, or get ahead of it?

Here is a quick list of my top 3 trends and changes to be aware of in the arts and culture sector to help you remain relevant, and reach new audiences:

Embrace virtual: We have all known for a long time that we need to up our game with virtual offerings of our exhibitions or musicians, but it had always played second fiddle to the main attraction, the in-person concert, or the art gallery itself. But we can no longer rely on audiences travelling to us and walking into our building, we need to develop online experiences that run alongside the physical, enhance deeper learning, offer something new e.g. not recreating the art gallery experience for the home. This of course takes real-time, investment, imagination and some great software programmers, but this is where the future is taking us and is worth serious consideration and planning now. Digital is also a great way to connect with more and diverse audiences spreading the word about your organisation and reaching people who could never either afford or able to travel to your location. Virtual will not replace a physical experience but will enhance and support it.

Make the in-house experience more bespoke: There will always be audiences who want the ‘original’ experience where they can sit and watch a concert and clap at the end of each work, or wander around an art gallery at leisure making sketches. but there is a whole new generation of people who want me than that. A generation brought up in a world where there has always been Facebook and Google. It takes more to ‘hook’ them into your experience. Don’t ignore them, embrace them. Think about how you can cater for both sets of audiences, e.g. VR headsets, tweet seats, mobile apps sending push notifications at specified points, projected holograms, Augmented Reality, and gamification, so that audiences can experience your content in the way that best resonates with them. This will allow greater engagement and allow individuals to tailer make their own experience, but still share it with others.

What do you stand for? More important than ever before is to identify and commit to a cause or to take a stand for something. Think about who is sponsoring you? What does this sponsor signify to others? The time for sitting on the fence and taking the money is long gone. Be careful who you ally with, as audiences will call you out on it. Societal and environmental causes are really resonating with audiences now. People are concerned about the state of the world and want to make sure they are supporting organisations whose values align with theirs. Stand up and be counted for what you believe in because that is what your audiences are doing.

Think about how you can communicate your values to your customers. Via exhibition/concert themes, your social media, blogs, videos, becoming carbon neutral, saving water, recycling etc and shout about it. Show a commitment to the cause you choose to stand by, don’t just give it lip service.

To read more about general marketing trends for 2021 you can read my article here.




I am a marketing and communications specialist, with a focus on digital, sustainability and audiences.

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Fiona Livingston

Fiona Livingston

I am a marketing and communications specialist, with a focus on digital, sustainability and audiences.

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