Taking Out the Guesswork: Market Research as the Key to Building Cultural Audiences
May 7, 2017
Venue: Jazz St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri

What market research informs what you know about the audiences that visit your museum…and those who don’t? How well is your organization strategically aligned around audience building? What informed decisions, and institutional investments are you making to reach your audience through programs, exhibitions and marketing and how can you do better? These questions become more pressing for museum leaders as competition for leisure time and dollars forces audiences to make choices. In recent years, research shows that public participation in cultural activities has declined, while consumer competition for leisure time and dollars has dramatically increased. Understanding root causes and solutions can be complex and elusive for cultural organizations. The Wallace Foundation launched a multi-year effort to better understand the obstacles to audience participation in the cultural sector. This evidence-based research has guided the foundation to identify and communicate a systemic approach that has transformed the way cultural organizations operate and connect with audiences for greater financial sustainability and community impact.

The 2017 CEO Summit provides an overview of the key factors in understanding and building cultural audiences. Leading experts will provide insight into audience and market research and organizational strategy, among the most critical components in the audience development process. Key topics will include: the marketing cycle for organizations, the relationship between market research and cultural organizations, and what drives consumer purchasing behavior.

Attendance is by invitation only. Attendance is limited to 60 people on a first-come, first-served basis. Your registration for the summit also provides you with full registration to the AAM Annual Meeting.

• Julie I. Johnson, Ph.D., co-principal of J2R2 Leadership and Change Associates, and program director in the Division on Research and Learning at the National Science Foundation

• Michael M. Kaiser, chairman of the DeVos Institute for Arts Management, University of Maryland, and president emeritus of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

• Zannie Voss, director of Southern Methodist University (SMU) National Center for Arts Research, and chair and professor of Arts Management in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business

• Lucas Bernays Held, director of communications, The Wallace Foundation

The summit will help CEOs and directors to:
• Learn about the key stages in the cycle of institutional marketing and how it influences decision making
• Understand the nine practices in effective audience development
• Gain greater insight on market research in the cultural sector and its competitive advantage among other forms of leisure entertainment
• Plan for and implement short, mid- and long-range initiatives to attract and retain audiences.


Julie I. Johnson, Ph.D. is co-principal of J2R2 Leadership and Change Associates whose work focuses on supporting museums and museum professionals gain capacity to solve their own problems and create stronger futures.  In addition to her consulting work, Johnson is also a program director in the Division on Research and Learning at the National Science Foundation.  Prior to this she held the position of John Roe Distinguished Chair of Museum Leadership at the Science Museum of Minnesota. There she provided support and leadership in the areas of planning, programming, personnel development and collaboration. Previous to that Johnson served as program officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and as chief operating officer for the New Jersey State Aquarium where she oversaw both mission and operations areas and spearheaded education programs for students, teachers, families, and local youth.  Johnson is experienced in performance assessment, creating organizational systems, program development, evaluation, group facilitation, and effective communication with diverse external stakeholders. She holds B.S., M.S., and M.A. degrees in biology, instructional technology, and deaf education and received her Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University.

Michael M. Kaiser is chairman of the DeVos Institute for Arts Management at the University of Maryland, and president emeritus of the John F. Kennedy for the Performing Arts. As president of the Kennedy Center from January 2001 through 2014, he expanded the educational and artistic programming and oversaw a major renovation effort for most of its theaters. Kaiser created the Kennedy Center Arts Management Institute, subsequently renamed the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, to provide advanced training for arts administrators at various stages of their careers. Before entering the arts management field, Kaiser founded and sold his consulting firm, Kaiser Associates, which specializes in helping large corporations formulate strategic plans. Among his clients were General Motors, IBM, Corning Glass Works, and 50 other major corporations. He has been the author of eight books including Curtains? The Future of the Arts in America and The Cycle: A Practical Approach to Managing Arts Organizations. Kaiser received a master’s degree from M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management and his bachelor’s degree in economics magna cum laude from Brandeis University. He has been an adjunct professor of arts administration at New York University and lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Zannie Voss is director of Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research, and chair and professor of Arts Management in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business. Previously, Voss was a professor at Duke University and producing director of Theater Previews at Duke, where she transferred two shows to Broadway. Voss shepherds one of the largest efforts to collect and analyze data on the arts and consults on projects for the League of American Orchestras and Theatre Communications Group, co-authoring TCG’s Theatre Facts since 1998. Her published research examining strategic factors that influence organizational performance in the arts has appeared in journals including the Journal of Marketing, Organization Science, Academy of Management Journal, and International Journal of Arts Management. She serves on the boards of TRG Arts and DataArts, and is co-author of the book Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play.

Lucas Bernays Held has been director of communications at The Wallace Foundation since 2002 where he has been involved in the Building Arts Audiences initiative that has conducted substantial research on the work of ten arts organizations to expand their audiences. Held leads a team responsible for developing communication strategies that help advance the foundation’s efforts to catalyze broad impact through the sharing of effective ideas and practices. These strategies include publications, partnerships with membership organizations, Web marketing, social media, media outreach, and conferences. Prior to joining Wallace, Held was vice president for public affairs at Barnard College, Columbia University, from 1998 to 2002, where he helped raise the college’s profile and led the crafting of its first strategic plan. Previously, he was director of college relations at Connecticut College, and an editor and reporter at the Middletown Press of Connecticut. Held is the recipient of awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the University and College Designers Association and Admissions Marketing Report. He earned a certificate in marketing management from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and a B.A. in English from Haverford College.

AGENDA (subject to change)

Sunday, May 7

 8:00- 8:15 a.m. Check-in, coffee and conversation
8:30-9:00 a.m. The Marketing Cycle for Organizations (Kaiser)

Explore how to build your audience through strategic organizational alignment between mission, programming/institutional marketing, and audience that will drive success.

9:00 a.m.-9:15 a.m. Question and Answer
9:15-9:45 a.m. What Drives Consumer Purchasing Behavior (Voss)

Gain insight on some of the critical factors that influence the purchasing behavior of cultural consumers, recent market research that highlight some barriers and opportunities in attracting cultural audiences, and potential implications for strategic marketing decisions.

9:45-10:00 a.m. Question and Answer
10:00-10:15 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Market Research and Cultural Organization (Held)

Learn about the nine practices that successfully expand cultural audiences with a specific focus on market research and its implications for informing your decisions as a leader and designing and refining strategy to achieve better audience building results.

10:45-11:00 a.m. Question and Answer
11:00 a.m.-12 noon Facilitated Conversation with Peers
12:00-1:15 p.m. Luncheon

The CEO Summit on May 7 will be held at Jazz St. Louis, 3536 Washington Ave. NW
Transportation will depart from and return to the Marriott St. Louis Grand (headquarters hotel).

The registration fee for this program is $500 and includes:
• CEO Summit registration
• AAM Annual Meeting registration
• Transportation to and from the Marriott St. Louis Grand to the CEO Summit location
• Continental breakfast and luncheon
• Invitation to the AAM Global Leadership Reception


Generously Supported by: