The term Audience Development (AD) describes an activity which is undertaken specifically to meet the needs of existing and potential audiences, and to help cultural organisations to develop ongoing relationships with audiences. It can include aspects of marketing, commissioning, programming, education, customer care and distribution. ‘Audience’ encompasses attendees, visitors, readers, listeners, viewers, participants and learners. It is much more than a ‘communication strategy’, indeed it is a route-map for diversifying and growing audiences, leveraging visibility and working on co-creating projects, with the joint effort of all partners and stakeholders marketing and communication strategies are important for the audience development plan success, but they are not enough. The audience development plan has to have the target audience as the centre of its vision (ie. for cultural heritage sites or heritage projects local community and visitors). Then it's necessary to elaborate a long term thinking and actions (such as a programme of events, promoting entrepreneurship and bottom-up project development).
A key for success it's education and skills development within the organization implementing the audience development plan.
Some elements of a well done audience development plan could be useful to these targets:
- Cultural heritage sites and heritage projects
- Increase the commitment of your audience and stakeholders
- Attract wider audience, disable people, minorities and other key groups
- Provide a more enriching experience