Marketing: ArtsDistricts, Cultural Districts, Design Districts

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Learn to answer the questions that can help lead to sustainable arts, design & culture--based community development


Everything your community planners and developers, designers and artists are working on might depend upon your ability to answer the questions below. Fail with these, and our studies show that your destination district's brilliant creations have a high likelihood of being ignored or critically dismissed out of hand. Fail with these credibility questions, and our studies also show that your economic engine, the political force that helps drive your destination district sales and the confidence of local and regional leaders, urban planners and cultural boosters is almost certain to vanish.

Every downtown grant application is improved... Every sales impact is enhanced... Every achievement is framed by the following questions. No sustainably successful destination district in any study or research paper we have generated since 1979 has ever revealed an arts, design or culture-based district anywhere in North America that cannot definitively answer nearly all the questions on this page.


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The Instructive Questions that Define How Successful ly You Sell & Raise Grants To Support Your Downtown District


The operating foundation assumes the following questions can be answered quickly, candidly and forthrightly… every successful program needs to know---

Do sales revenues rise every time the district advertises its products/services?

Does the district partner or act in concert with other allied nonprofits, or does it almost always act alone?

Has district marketing been conceived as spending money on Publicity-PR-Promotional tools, or is marketing about growing this district, its revenues, its overages, its valuation, its palpable experience?

How is the district cross-sold to customers/prospects? What is the district really selling, delivering?

Is the district aligned with the businesses that have identified their products with the perceived value they attach to serious or entertaining arts, design and specific cultural expressions offered in the district's formal and informal settings?

What is the district's unique selling proposition?

How is the district's unique brand positioned? Is the district positioned such that buying propositions from anyone else will strike a prospect as dumb-founding?

What are the district's usage/pull rates?

What does the next $300 in market spending yield for the district? What is the cost-benefit ratio for publicity-PR-promotions expenditures?

What one sentence proposition sells this district to visitors, guests, residents, participants?

When your district's target audiences (the top 3) read your destination materials, how many comment on them favourably?

How do you know when your top 3 market segments are motivated to buy or participate in something because of the pieces generated? How do you track sales or participation levels to specific pieces?

What is the pychographic profile for your destination district?

When your top 3 target audiences visit your district website, do you know how many visitors? Do you know how many of these visits lead to generating revenues? Does this outcome match the objective of the marketing strategy?

Which are the top 3 qualified audiences or participants? Why do you spend money trying to build other audiences with limited resources - time, energy, image, cash-on-hand?

Which selling systems are most efficient, most effective, capture the most leads for your district? What is the follow-up tactic employed to follow-up all qualified leads?


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If you know the answers to only some of these questions, you need to contact Dr. Thomas, today.

We know you can attract great, acclaimable artists and designers. We know you can build masterfully designed and decorated buildings. We know you can program seasons of memorable events and educational programs. We also know that if you cannot answer these questions, you cannot sustainably support the parade of artists and designers, maintain the places and spaces, or program the next season's events and programs. Call us, write us, e-mail us, fax us. Members: This is important. Image is never enough...



Members’ Marketing ROI Calculator
Direct-Mail / E-mail Marketing Campaign Marketing ROI Calculator

Let the 7AF staff help you determine the marketing ROI (Return on Investment) for any direct mail or e-mail campaign. Just enter your district’s program costs and projected program results under Input send your working assumptions to the 7AF staff to calculate the estimated ROI and other pertinent details like cost per piece, cost per new customer, and more. You can paste the results into an email sent to . Use this staff calculation, daily or weekly, to test different sets of assumptions to see how your program results might vary with different response rates and different conversion rates. This destination district tool is free for Members.

Your Input:

Number of pieces to be mailed or e-mailed = __

District’s total program costs = __

Response Rate expected, expressed as a % = __

Conversion Rate expected, or % who’ll make purchases =__

Average profit per sales =__

Send us these few details, and the 7AF staff will generate the following:

7AF Staff Output, e-mailed back to you:

Number of Responders = __

Cost per response = __

Number of Buyers = __

Cost per buyer/new customers = __

Total campaign profit = __

Cost per piece generated to win sales = __

Marketing Return On Investment = __ + Goodwill Generated…

Call us: 7AF new all points number: 903.831.9219| M-Th 11-4 CST; Sa. 11-12N CST.; and, fax the staff, attn. Dr. Thomas at our field office: 309.343.7574, or e-mail us for other advisory help:

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