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Understand and develop your audiences

These Toolkits cater to a wide range of creative individuals, organisations and art disciplines, and are reflective of our Waikato community.

About the Toolkits

Offering practical tools to help you see a new way of viewing, connecting and engaging with audiences as well as exciting opportunities for collaboration and innovative modes of creative work.

Download the key points of the toolkits or dive straight into it by downloading them all below. You can also work one by one through the toolkits at your own pace further below.

Download all Toolkits

1. What is Audience Development?

Audience Development is best understood as a set of concepts, ideas and pathways to engagement that can support you and/or your organisation

It is less a specific method, and more a philosophy or approach that you can use as provocation in your mahi. It is something that you and/or everyone in your organisation needs to live and breathe to create the most benefit.

Toolkit 1 Key points 1

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2. Know your Audience

Do you know who your current audience is? Do you know what they like, don’t like, what their barriers to attendance are?

It’s an important part of an audience development approach to regularly check and ask your audience—how are we doing? Are you still enjoying what we offer? Are we meeting your needs? Are you growing alongside us? What can we do better? And ideally the audience we attract are the people who get what we do, the ones that become supporters, advocates and allow us to grow.

Toolkit 2 Key points 2

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3. Measure your Audience

Ensure that there are opportunities for your audience to give direct feedback and measure your responses to their feedback, to see whether they are having the desired effect.

Measuring your audience takes time, and therefore requires some commitment. Can you make it part of your processes? So that it becomes a habitual part of what you do?

Toolkit 3 Key points 3

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4. Audience Segmentation

Segmentation is about organising your audience into segments or subgroups, and then speaking directly to these groups, using language and approaches you know will vibe with them (also known as target marketing).

Segmentations can be based on traditional demographics (ethnicity, gender identity, income etc) or on shared values (psychographics). It’s important to note here that all segmentation ‘groupings’ are fluid as opposed to fixed, and that people move through them depending on changes in their life circumstances.

Toolkit 4 Key points 4

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5. Deepening Audience Relationships

What if you looked at the content in your exhibition, event or show, and looked for opportunities to expand or spark deeper knowledge and experience?

The majority of us want deeper nourishment from our art and culture experiences. We want meaningful experiences, and these are good for our wellbeing. How can we attempt to deepen the experiences and ensure they are more meaningful for our audiences, outside of the content we work hard to deliver?

Toolkit 5 Key points 5

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6. Collaboration

Any good audience development strategy will embrace a spirit of collaboration, not just with your audience, but also with other creatives, organisations and stakeholders.

Collaborations are an opportunity to broaden and grow your audience, as well as stretch your creative practice in new and exciting ways. It is when different elements work together, combining strengths and overcoming weaknesses, to successfully accomplish shared goals.

Toolkit 6 Key points 6

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7. Accessibility, Diversity & Inclusion

Despite many of our best efforts, some parts of our communities remain invisible to us. These are the people who may be interested in or even love what we offer, but face barriers that stop or limit their engagement.

These barriers may be because of lack of information on our websites about accessibility, lack of representation at all levels or because we offer up images and language that, often unknowingly, prevents some people from feeling welcome, safe and included.

Toolkit 7 Key points 7

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8. Volunteers

Wonderful stuff happens because of our volunteers as these are the passionate lovers and supporters of our mahi, they are the engine of our local creative sector.

The creative sector, particularly here in the Waikato, relies heavily on volunteers. They bring a range of skills and networking opportunities that we may not have, or be able to fund, in our organisations.

Toolkit 8 Key points 8

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9. Programming & Curating

Programming can be thought of as a practical application of your vision, a clear and tangible way of communicating this vision with an audience. It can be a powerful strategic action to advance your long term goals.

This resource talks about the process and the thinking behind the process of offering tangible events for your audience to engage with. So although we use the word ‘programming’, this term applies to anyone doing the mahi of selecting and scheduling offerings for an audience.

Toolkit 9 Key points 9

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10. Alternative Pricing Models, Memberships & Subscriptions

Cost is a clear barrier to accessibility in arts and culture, and this is true for every demographic. It is likely that pricing barriers especially affect those who are already prejudiced against or marginalised in some way.

Explore alternative pricing models to break down one of our main attendance barriers, as well as opportunities for harnessing a willingness to support what we do from our community through flexible memberships and subscriptions.

Toolkit 10 Key points 10

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Case Study – IA

IA are a Huntly-based music band, well known and respected for their soulful fusion of taonga pūoro and contemporary sounds, in both te reo and English. They are passionate and driven with a strong vision, and seek genuine and inclusive connection from this place. Hear their story in their own words…

Case Study – Toi Ako Te Kauwhata

Toi Ako Te Kauwhata are an inclusive audience-centric community arts hub. Lauren and the team are clear on their vision of the power of creativity as a vehicle for skill development, self expression, wellbeing, social connection and change. They are agile and responsive to their community’s needs, providing access to arts for those living more remotely in the Waikato.

Case Study – The Meteor

The Meteor is a beloved venue in Kirikiriroa, with a collaborative community-focused heart, dedicated to its vision as a ‘space for community to share creative experiences’. Not satisfied to simply provide a venue for original and devised work, they are actively investing in the creative community with their Boil Up programme, providing a platform to nurture and support upcoming talent, building capacity, and enabling our Waikato stories to be amplified on our own stages and beyond.

If you are interested in further support with Audience Development, please give one of the team a shout and we will be happy to help.

Developed in 2022 by Creative Waikato with funding from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage

Developed in 2022 by Creative Waikato with funding from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage