Johns Hopkins University Press
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  • How to Market the Arts: A Practical Approach for the 21st Century by Anthony Rhine and Jay Pension
How to Market the Arts: A Practical Approach for the 21st Century. Anthony Rhine and Jay Pension. New York: Oxford University Press, 2022; pp. 269.

Anthony Rhine and Jay Pension's How to Market the Arts: A Practical Approach for the 21st Century complements Rhine's previous monograph, Theatre Management: Arts Leadership for the 21st Century (2018). This coauthored text provides the reader with valuable information on how to effectively market a theatre in the twenty-first century and will benefit a plethora of undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in performing arts, business, management, or leadership programs. The text is divided into five parts: Marketing versus Engagement, Education, Experience, Environment, and Ease of Access. Rhine and Pension begin each part with a brief overview of the chapters therein. They propose a new paradigm using visual models and case studies of several arts organizations to better explain how nonprofit arts marketing can and should work. They harmonize the four Ps (product, price, place, and promotion) of marketing with the four Es (education, experience, environment, and ease of access) of engagement. Theatre managers and producers will appreciate the importance of marketing and engagement.

Rhine and Pension define the process of engagement "as one in which both parties mutually control the interaction and receive roughly equivalent benefits of value" (23). They elaborate on a need to develop a model that is sustainable and successful. Part I, "Marketing versus Engagement," strives to identify shifts in traditional marketing. Chapter 1 highlights researchers and practitioners incorporating different marketing mix concepts. According to Rhine and Pension, engagement is more closely associated with the nonprofit arts and their market exposure than aspects of the conventional marketing mix would suggest. In chapter 2, they discuss the concept of engagement and the connection within the arts and offer practical examples. One illustrative example of engagement is the "Talk Back," which the authors argue needs to be guided and structured. They suggest that a clear understanding of the difference between events that create involvement and those that create engagement is beneficial to arts leaders.

In Part II, "Education," Rhine and Pension address the need for theatres to engage with and educate their audiences rather than merely to promote them. Chapter 3 discusses promotion and education. The authors indicate to the reader how important promotion is in the nonprofit sector. This chapter lays the foundation for chapters 4 and 5. In chapter 4, Rhine and Pension present a case study of an arts organization that followed strict promotional methodology without developing any engagement through education. Sadly, after twenty-four years, the arts organization closed its doors. In other words, what not to do! Chapter 5 concludes Part II with highlighting the need for education and the arts. Similarities between education and the arts exist in identifying targets and needs, objectives, and implementation. When one completes reading Part II, it is obvious that education is the key to understanding the audience and the arts organization.

Part III, "Experience," explores the difference between experience and the physical product. Chapter 6 describes Jerome McCarthy's framework around the four Ps (product, price, place, and promotion). McCarthy's work demonstrates that both products and services satisfy the needs of individuals; however, Rhine and Pension argue that John Dewey's approach in Art as Experience is "more collaborative and beneficial" (103). Chapter 7 outlines the concept of product relative to arts organizations. The authors elevate experience over product; consequently, "art only occurs in the presence of participation" (138). Chapter 8 clearly and succinctly presents the importance of experience and its appropriateness to the arts. The authors emphasize customer experience, not product, as most important.

Part IV, "Environment," investigates the ideas of "place" and "environment." Chapter 9 begins by contrasting the two, with Rhine and Pension arguing that "place has to do with the location where [the] product is being distributed," while environment is meant to convey the "places or surroundings in which arts consumers interact" (159). Though important, this chapter is somewhat dry. Chapter 10 discusses place from interaction to objective, arguing that the emphasis should be on the experience, and not place. It is not uncommon for arts organizations to outsource or seek consultants to achieve the organization's objective. Chapter 11 concludes this section with an emphasis on environment and the arts. The authors contend that environment in the arts deals with the quality of locations where audience members go during the entire process of the experience. The Sing for Hope Pianos project case study they present provides an excellent example of how environment and experience thrived in New York City.

Part V, "Ease of Access," combines one of the Ps of marketing with the E, ease of access, from engagement. The engagement component in the arts occurs when all parties are actively involved. In chapter 12, Rhine and Pension identify examples of pricing and their strategies for ease of [End Page 54] access such as competitive pricing, psychological pricing, bundle pricing, premium pricing, and so forth. The chapter concludes by stressing the importance of ease of access from an audience standpoint. Chapter 13 takes a deeper look into the importance of price and the relationship between price and product. The authors concur that optional pricing allows us to customize a product or service so that one can access the experience. Chapter 14 addresses ease of access and the arts and identifies obstacles to such access like price, time, location, accessibility in venues, and self-efficacy. According to Rhine and Pension, ease of access can either "make or break" a successful arts organization.

Finally, Rhine and Pension piece everything together in the conclusion. Education, experience, engagement, environment, and ease of access complete the model for success. This book clearly develops a new approach to marketing the arts and, as a result, will prove beneficial for all.

James Filippelli
Dominican University New York