So you have a compelling offer that you know your prospective visitors, customers, or clients will value. The task of advertising is to communicate that offer in a way that your audience will notice amidst the thousands of marketing messages that bombard them each day. Achieving this goal takes superior design and sharp copywriting, no question—but these will amount to white noise without a clear strategy that engages the viewer to find out more.

Museum Exhibition Advertising: Leading with Strategy

Along with our client, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, we're proud to have won a first prize in the American Alliance of Museums' 2016 Museum Publications Design Competition.

The story behind the campaign is worth telling because it says something about our client as an institution—one situated in a highly competitive museum market without the marketing budget to match its heavy-hitting competitors—and also something about our strategy-first approach.

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Advertising in the Facebook Age: Bronx Museum Free Campaign

We launched the Free advertising campaign for the Bronx Museum as they announced to the world, and particularly to the Bronx, that they would go free to the public. Museum advertising often speaks primarily to the converted. This was an attempt to start up a conversation with museum virgins.

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Not to Market is a Crime

If your mission, your reason for being in the world—regardless of whether you are a museum, a nonprofit, or a for-profit—is good, then you have no excuse not to market yourself.

Marketing can be the difference between your mission being known and understood, and not. From this perspective, NOT to market is a crime.

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You already have what your constituents or consumers need.

They just don’t know about it yet. This is the role of advertising and marketing—effectively letting them know what you are doing and doing this in as engaging a way as possible. Read more about this in a museum context here.

Ads that are merely visually appealing will not cut through the noise. Carefully craft your message with an understanding of your market and test the message on a sample audience, if possible, making tweaks accordingly (or overhaul what you have and go back to the drawing board). Use images that allow your potential customers to imagine themselves in your world—visiting your museums, employing your services, using your product. Anything less will not grab their attention in our saturated environment. It will be effectively invisible.

Spend your marketing dollars wisely by building your advertising campaign on strategy.

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