August 7, 2012 Leave a comment
Though long a concept in software marketing, the use of free as a business model (principally in online and entertainment) seemed to gain popular traction with Chris Anderson in 2008 and continues to be a growing and lively debated strategy. Starting with the basic concept of sampling to reduce consumer risk and increase trial, free has grown to become an accepted if not demanded marketing technique. Now is the time to embrace it in arts marketing to millennials.
Millennials have lived with this model their entire life. From apps and social media to videos and music, this generation understands the value of free and the trade-off. They have grown up with in store sampling, street teams handing out free product and “try it before you buy it” opportunities. To millennials, it simply makes sense to try something for free and then upgrade to a paid model to get a fine tuned version.
Freemium marketing presents an opportunity for arts entertainment to court a generation. Adoption of it in the arts is relatively limited to contemporary music with Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails as the poster child’s of success. Michael Masnick in “The Sky is Rising” writes about Jason Parker a Seattle jazz musician who has successfully put free to work.
Why can’t free extend to all arts experiences? Why not free performances to introduce non arts or light arts consumers to your best reason for purchase: your product!
Free is a business model. Don’t be distracted by debate or the “cheap” image of free as a giveaway. Truth is, in the right place it works. With the millennial generation it’s an expectation. It’s time for arts to actively search out appropriate free strategies and open the doors to an entire generation.
Room for discussion:
Clearly just giving away something doesn’t constitute a strategy of free! Choose an arts experience – what idea can you come up with to present a free strategy that will entice trial?