Natalie Ben Rabah is an Arts Marketing Manager of 11 years. She works on marketing and communications for the Own Art and Take it away schemes, two initiatives designed to promote engagement with music and the visual arts.
Hi Natalie! Tell us about your journey to becoming an Arts Marketing Manager.
I graduated with a BA (Hons) combined Business Studies and Film & TV Studies. I felt this would offer me both a grounding in Marketing as a function of every business, and a way of exploring my love of cinema; all with a view to using my marketing skills in a field that mattered to me.
I’ve worked in marketing related to arts education for a large part of my career. First at a contemporary music college, which has since become BIMM’s London branch. Then, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where I was responsible for student recruitment, and later audience development, at Laban Theatre and for public engagement programmes.
What's the difference between Arts Marketing compared to other industries?
The fundamental difference between Arts Marketing and, let’s say, being a marketing person in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods industry, is that a blend of skills and experiences are always going to be required. Most roles are for marketing generalists, as opposed to only working on media buying or copywriting. You need to be comfortable selling ideas to people, attending fun events, but also in moving boxes of print and segmenting customer data.
What goes into a successful marketing campaign?
When I work on a marketing campaign, administrative planning, budgeting, social media research, copywriting, interviewing, video production, art direction, media buying and statistical analysis skills are all required. My experience means I know how to negotiate a better price for an advert placement, saving money that can be reallocated and spent on something else to boost the campaign.
Working on two schemes, in two completely different art fields, requires me to understand the business models and how income is generated in each field. In my current role, I have spent a year learning about how the art galleries that the Own Art scheme works with generate their income. This way, I understand where our activities can add value to galleries.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role with Own Art?
A gallery relies on the public coming to see art exhibitions and buying something. A key way that I can add value is by finding out about a gallery’s exhibition schedule ahead of time, and developing a communications plan. The plan will outline when, where and what message/s we will use to compel the most interested people to come to the exhibition.
This collaborative process gives me plenty of notice about the event, I can research the artists involved, put together great content about them and the work for sale and publish this in advance of the event. This helps amplify the messages that the gallery is sending through its communication channels, as we are sending these messages to a larger group of people than their own channels would ordinarily reach.
What skills or traits do you need to get the job done?
The kind of activity I have described requires you to collaborate well: communicating regularly, being generous with your resources, and agreeing on tasks, as well as well-defined goals. A common love of arts and culture helps build relationships between professionals in this field.
There’s an unwritten expectation that if you choose to work in the arts, you have a passion for some aspect of it. You’ll find yourself surrounded by people who started out as practising artists and now work in business functions, often doing something artistic on the side.
Whilst you don’t need an academic or historical knowledge of the arts, it’ll really help your ability to relate to those you work with by understanding various disciplines.
Any advice for those who want your job?
Go out and witness art, and you’ll be able to relate your own experiences when writing compelling marketing copy and in building authentic relationships with passionate people.
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