So much has been written on the science and the psychology of the tipping point that it’s hard to find anything new to write about the phenomenon. But what may not have been explored is how this basic of all human natures: the need to fit in, specifically affects the marketing of the arts.
As arts marketists, we need to be aware of the power that exists at the convergence of a wanted event and an impassioned audience. The growth of your organization in many ways is tied to mastering the ability to control the uncontrollable and engaging assets and resources to allow this raging river of public opinion carry you to the highest heights of success.
There are hardly any forces powerful enough to stop the momentum once you cross the tipping point and the natural, raw power is placed in the hands of your audience. Just as fleeting, there is no single act that creates the movement necessary to achieve tipping point. Rather, it takes a single individual or action, followed shortly thereafter by another, and another to start events to accumulate and move the audience in the direction toward your goal.
But that initial action is just that: only the beginning. It takes a well-executed strategy of follow-up actions and activities for the next members of the audience to join in the cause. And that’s only if you believe you can control the audience’s attention span. You have a very short period of time for all of the potential elements to align perfectly to capture the attention and the imagination of your targeted audience. Miss it by even the slightest of measures and just as quickly it can be gone.
We may be mixing metaphors, but there does need to be the butterfly that flaps its wings to start organic growth. But there has to be an accelerant to propel your event or cause into the conscience of your audience.
Effective social media is a great example of achieving the tipping point. The search for the next viral video is just that, at some point after the video or the meme is put into the channel, it either reaches the tipping point by being swept up into the feeds of dozens, then hundreds then thousands of viewers. Or it comes to rest along the shores of the communication river, destined to be ignored and forgotten about while the next new ideas race to gain the same attention.
So how does this work for those of us who are trying to fan the flames of excitement to get more participation at a workshop, increased attendance at a show or more donations to the cause?
Step one is being prepared with a message with meaning that is different and stands out in the mind of your audience. If you are extremely effective at doing the research to understand your audience to the point you know what appeals to them, what type of message resonates with them, and what action you expect them to take, then you are half way home.
In many cases we are only looking for dozens or hundreds of people to take an action that will create a substantial impact. The key to the tipping point is that there will always be early adopters, but the goal is to get the next generation of believers to jump on board. The masses never want to be the first in the pool, first at the party, first to buy the newest untested item. Sure, there are those that love to be the first in, but they are very rarely the individuals the vast majority of people want to emulate.
What has to be a main focus is the understanding of what it takes for that second level of believer or engager to become involved. Once that dynamic can be replicated, you are on your way to a higher level of marketing awareness.
The initial approach to the tipping point can be the same for the single, solo marketist attempting to bring a project to life as it is for a high-powered army of marketers from a major organization. We all need to reach for the same goals, but sometimes it’s the smaller, more nimble marketer that has the ability to impact their audience and in turn their project the greatest