Mastering the Orient

How to make oriental dance better known as an art form.
Case: Masrah ry

Helsinki business polytechnic
The Degree Programme on Business Administration
Author Peppina Lindfors
Year 1999, 61 pages

Abstract

The objective was to find ways of making oriental dance better known as an art form, not only as good exercise. What should be done that it would be considered as one dance among others? I have been trying to solve this problem by outlining a marketing strategy for Masrah ry, a dance group and an association, in order for it to become better known as an oriental dance group and thus give a face to oriental dance in Finland.

The method I have used is mainly qualitative. I first interviewed professionals of oriental dance about the marketing methods they themselves have used, as well as their views on Masrah, their own association. In the second part of the study, I talked some prominent personalities of the Finnish dance world. This was to clarify the position of oriental dance in Finland, how well it is generally known and what should be done to bring it to the awareness of the general public. With a questionnaire I wanted to learn who are the current audience of oriental dance and Masrah.

The literature that has been used is mostly that of creative arts marketing. Marketing performing arts is very close to marketing any service but with some special characteristics of its own: the product must be a memorable experience for the customer, the risk of production is great since it is impossible to know the reactions of the audience beforehand, and the life cycle of the product, the performance, is usually short and determined in advance. In the long term and particularly when trying to build awareness the dance group itself can be seen as the product and a lasting relationship with the customer as the objective.

The most important thing is the product that is being offered. It is not just one variable of the marketing mix, it is the reason for existence. It must be developed and its quality has to be the utmost concern. A non-profit arts organisation has to know itself, its strengths and weaknesses but also its environment: who the current customers are, what their expectations are, where they get their information and who the competition is. Even though understanding customers is important in marketing, an arts organisation cannot function completely on their terms. Other performing groups are better seen as possible partners for co-operation, rather than as threats. The real competition often comes from totally different areas.

Marketing tactics for a non-profit organisation are often limited by the lack of funds. The methods and the target groups must be carefully thought. On a small budget the word-of-mouth information and direct selling are the most important forms of communication. New audiences are, however, needed to increase awareness of one's existence. The best ways of achieving it are sales promotion, direct marketing and public relations. With relationship marketing it is possible to find partners in societies, enterprises, other dance groups and dance festivals. Information of one's activities must be given out regularly.

 

Key words: arts marketing, oriental dance, non-profit organisation, strategic planning

 

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päivitetty 30.9.2009

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