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An entrepreneurial future for arts marketing

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Creativity in the arts


The authors believe that the answer to
improved facilitation of marketing within the
arts is through the dissemination of a creative
form of marketing (Fillis and Rentschler, 2005).
Creativity in the arts has drawn on a plethora of
sources for inspiration. Consider, for example,
how art museums have developed an interest
in creativity. Traditionally, the prime function
of art museums has been to gather preserve,
and study objects (Noble, 1970; Weil, 1998).
The directors role was perceived as the keeper
of objects, as one who cared for the cultural
capital of the institution: its creative works.
Creativity in this tradition is wholly based in the
object, in its creation, in contemplating its
existence, in studying its characteristics and in
cataloguing its critical attributes. Art museum
directors play a creative role by caring for
creative objects. Creativity has conventionally
been linked with the art work and its magic as
an object of contemplation. In a period of
change, the notion of creativity has taken on a
broader scope, becoming more heterogeneous
and multidimensional and encompassing
aspects of people as well as objects. More
recently, the directors role also applies creativity to managing the art museum, leading
people and educating and entertaining the

public (Gorr, 1980; Edson, 1995). This concept


of creativity is more rich and complex than is
sometimes recognised in the museums literature.
There is no universally accepted denition of
creativity. However, creativity is discussed in
the cultural policy literature (Bianchini, 1993;
Landry, 1994) and is also considered important
by a number of key writers on museums,
cultural economics and sociology (Shestack,
1978; Bianchini, 1993; Landry, 1994; Grifn,
1996; Janes, 1997; Johnson and Johnson, 1988;
Kirchberg and Goschel, 1998). Dictionaries
dene creativity as showing imagination as
well as routine skill. Such creative activity is a
balance between innovationcreating new
formsand adaptation, building on established ways of doing things. Creativity can be
synthesised into a creative strategy for the
organisation that will rely largely on one
individual for its vision of how the organisation
responds to the context. In arts organisations
the arts leader is the individual. While creativity
has a diverse literature base, there has been less
analysis of creativity in management or of the
creative arts leader. The debates on creativity
centre around two viewpoints (Figure 1). One
traditional view depicts creativity as residing in
the artwork (the product-centred viewpoint).
Another more recent view sees creativity as

Figure 1. Product-centred and people-centred approaches to creativity.

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From: Using creativity to achieve an entrepreneurial future for arts marketing, Fillis, I. & Rentschler, R.
Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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Ian Fillis and Ruth Rentschler

Table 1 Aspects of creativity.


Person

Place

Creativity embodied
in individual ability,
trait or role

Milieu to
facilitate or
inhibit
creativity

Product

Process

Creative outcomes
the product

residing in management and interpreted by the


arts leader (the people-centred viewpoint).
In the product-centred viewpoint, arts organisations are repositories for art works. Sometimes the discussion of cultural organisations
positions them as metaphors for creativity
while other authors see strategy as creative,
like the potter at the wheel, crafting clay and
managers as craftspeople in the organisation
(Mintzberg, 1987); or compare organisational
teamwork to an orchestra (Drucker, 1993).
Making money is likened to weaving and
cabinet making, a craft (Levitt, 1991). Some
see art as having a therapeutic power akin to
religion in which museums are either uplifting,
educative and spiritually benecial or purely
aesthetic temples divorced from life. Others
consider such views pious ction (Hughes,
1993). The practice of using cultural organisations as metaphors for creativity and having
management texts replete with creative metaphors, suggests that business may have something to learn from cultural organisations.
This viewpoint is consistent with seeing the
artwork as harbouring creativity. In contrast is
the people-centred viewpoint, which examines the need for people to lead arts organisations (Grifn, 1987; Grifn, 1991), but in
different ways.
Writers on creativity have identied six
aspects of creativity (Table 1), which have
been summarised as being evident in the
person, place, product, process, practice and
property. Person focuses on creativity as an
ability, trait or role. Place focuses on conditions in the organisation that facilitate or inhibit
creativity. Product focuses on creative outcomes. Process focuses on creativity as a
cognitive activity (Wallas, 1926; Henry, 1991).
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Focus on creativity
as innovative steps
in producing
products

Property
Creativity as
conditions in
organisations

Practice
Creativity in
what is done

Practice relates to the ways of doing things in


the organisation. Property pertains to creativity within the connes of the organisation, so
that it creates a brand and an organisational
culture of problem solving and motivation. The
concept of creativity as a cognitive activity
suggests that creativity can be learned and
improved through instruction and practice by a
focus on roles, organisations or creative outcomes. In this model, creativity can be used to
solve organisational problems (Ackoff and
Vergara, 1981).
The multiplicity of categorisations reects the
difculty of developing valid indicators of
creativity. The object-centred and peoplecentred viewpoints have ambivalent characteristics which may apply to both categories. For
example, the product-centred approach sees
creativity as in the artworkand so it is. In the
organisation-centred approach, art museums
still collect and exhibit art works, and performing arts organisations still perform creative
works, no doubt because the art form is
perceived as creative output. On the other hand,
the view that not-for-prot arts organisations
contribution must be either to social development or to economic development is a nonsense, as they may contribute somewhat to both
areas as Rentschler and Potter (1996a, 1996b)
have recognised. Similarly, some of the characteristics ascribed to the product/people model
may apply to the aspects model. For example, it
is evident that the people-centred viewpoint
considers creativity as residing in organisations
(place in the aspects model) and in people
(both a source of creativity and an aspect of
creativity). Nevertheless, the categorisations do
assist in dening approaches to creativity, while
highlighting the complexities in categorisation

Int. J. Nonprot Volunt. Sect. Mark., November 2005

From: Using creativity to achieve an entrepreneurial future for arts marketing, Fillis, I. & Rentschler, R.
Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

An entrepreneurial future for arts marketing

279

and raising questions about the dividing line


between the old and new paradigms for
creativity.

Creativity and research


methodologyreaching an
improved understanding of arts
marketing issues
Our understanding of arts marketing issues is
limited and yet arts marketing research methodologies, in theory at least, centre around
a number of potentially useful positions
(Smircich, 1983; Hirschman, 1986; Gabriel,
1990; Gill and Johnson, 1997). Although
positivism tends to dominate marketing
research, there has been a propensity more
recently for the adoption of a humanistic,
naturalistic approach (Hunt, 1989). Within
marketing, the general lack of non-positivist
methods is due to the long term normative
stance found in the metaphysic and method of
positivist science (Hirschman, 1986). By using
only the tools appropriate to one or other
paradigm, complementary data may be lost
which could contribute to the understanding
of the research problem. Creativity can be used
to instil a philosophy of innovative methodological thinking which has been lacking up to
this point.
Kotler (1979) identies the need for marketing philosophers who will then construct new
paradigms which may ultimately be capable of
challenging the status quo and revolutionising
thinking. The outputs of creativity can be
measured by linking them to innovative products, services, processes, people, property and
practice. Creativity contains many intangible
elements grounded outside the conventional
business environment meaning that normal
marketing research methods are often unsuitable for investigating issues of interest.
Alternative approaches in arts marketing
research

There are merits in adopting less conventional


methodologies in order to counteract the
sometimes dull nature of research ndings
Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

and the lack of innovative recommendations


which sometimes accompany analysis of
results. Approaches previously adopted by
the authors have followed a variety of methods,
from historical and biographical research to
use of metaphor and analogy (Fillis, 2003a,
2003b, 2003c). By drawing inspiration from
the world of art, stimulation of new, more
appropriate arts marketing theory can be
achieved. The key lesson here is to be prepared
to think outside the conventional methodological box of marketing research in order to
reach a heightened, critical understanding
of arts marketing issues. Being prepared to
think creatively in a methodological sense
mirrors the artistic approach to art making.
There are wider potential implications for the
discipline of marketing generally, where critical thinking has been sadly lacking. Kotler
(1991) makes reference to the discipline of art
where competing schools of thought have
resulted in the formation of alternative
approaches. These approaches contribute to
the debate in arts marketing and beyond:
Marketing has not been a battleground rife
with functionalists, structuralists, symbolists, and other conceivable schools. We
dont have expressionists, impressionists,
dadaists, or surrealists in marketing.
Creative conict has resulted in the
production of a series of competing and
evolving schools of thought in art, with the
subsequent establishment of a pool of art
methodologies from which todays artist can
draw inspiration.

Marketing as (an) art


In order to fully appreciate how creativity can
impact on arts marketing, it needs to be
positioned within a wider philosophical framework. There has been considerable debate
over whether marketing should be seen as
an art or a science and this paper does not
seek to rehearse old arguments (Hunt, 1976;
Hutchinson, 1952). The authors contend that it
is not the notion that marketing may be an art
that has slowed down theory development, but

Int. J. Nonprot Volunt. Sect. Mark., November 2005

From: Using creativity to achieve an entrepreneurial future for arts marketing, Fillis, I. & Rentschler, R.
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280

Ian Fillis and Ruth Rentschler

that the main body of arts marketing researchers, and marketing researchers generally, continue to carry out research in a mainly
positivistic way, focusing often on study
replication rather than seeking to construct
new theory. Gummesson (2002) calls for more
creative, reective marketing methodologies,
identifying the work of Tarkovsky (1986) as a
focal point in promoting the merits of understanding the artistic process and linking this to
marketing theory:
. . . it is perfectly clear that the goal for all
art . . . is to explain to the artist himself and
to those around him what man lives for,
what is the meaning of existence . . . art like
science, is a means of assimilating the
world, an instrument for knowing it in the
course of mans journey towards what is
called absolute truth.
So, by using art and its data to construct arts
marketing theory rather than by applying
existing general textbook marketing theory, a
more representative picture of arts marketing
can be constructed. This same data can also be
used to inform marketing theory generally
since marketing can be viewed as an art. Art
making is all about constructing various ways
of knowing. Artistic knowledge can help arts
marketers to reach a heightened level of
understanding of marketing by operating outside the connes of conventional, bounded and
rational marketing thought. In essence, this is
an entrepreneurial way of constructing arts
marketing knowledge.
Gummesson does not altogether dismiss the
usefulness of mainstream quantitative
research, but he also encourages the adoption
of qualitative methods in order to achieve a
better degree of truthfulness. This qualitative
approach marries well with the interaction of
marketing as an art and a science and has
particular benets in terms of data analysis and
interpretation where entrepreneurial research
ability also has its merits. Viewing the artist as
an entrepreneur also conjures up notions of
risk taking and paradigm breaking behaviour.
The search for artistic truth can assist the
marketing research process:
Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

When complex and ambiguous social


phenomena like marketing are studied,
completely explicit and systematic analysis
is usually not feasible. Intuition is also
required as it is often impossible to know
exactly how to process data and how one
arrives at conclusions . . . Intuition is often
called non-scientic and irrational, but
philosophers dene intuition as complete
knowledge of reality, ability to quickly
draw conclusions and the instantaneous
perception of logical connections and
truths . . . Genuine intuition is not a whim
of the moment but an elaborate synthesis of
huge amounts of data, processed in a nano
second . . . Continuous theory generation
means a continuous challenge of received
theory and continuous justication of new
theory. During this iterative process, credibility to the reader can be reinforced by
offering rich descriptions and discussions
as well as alternative interpretations
(Gummesson, 2002).
The artistic intuition process must be
incorporated into arts marketing theory so that
acknowledgement is made of the role of nonlinear thinking. Attempts at constructing more
meaningful arts marketing theory may be seen
as postmodern or as critical thinking. Modern
marketing has continually failed to explain
how small organisations practice marketing as
they overcome a variety of resource barriers:
Postmodernism in the arts comprises a
latter-day reaction against the once radical
and challenging, but subsequently tamed
and canonised, modern movement of the
rst half of the 20th century . . . (Brown,
1994).
Artists such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador
Dali were never really tamed by the artistic
establishment of mainstream thinking. They
used their unique creative abilities to create
demand for their work. Research by the
authors focuses on the behaviour and philosophy of the creative individual, the creative
organisation and the impact of the business and
social environments so that an holistic under-

Int. J. Nonprot Volunt. Sect. Mark., November 2005

From: Using creativity to achieve an entrepreneurial future for arts marketing, Fillis, I. & Rentschler, R.
Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

An entrepreneurial future for arts marketing

281

standing of the interacting factors can be


reached (Fillis and Rentschler, 2005). The
authors seek to understand the creative process and the underlying philosophies relating
to creativity by collecting data from art history,
as well as investigating creativity as a process,
phenomenon and behaviour (Rentschler,
2000).
Given the weaknesses in mainstream marketing approaches, Brown supports the
authors position on the merits of investigating
creativity in marketing and the resultant
formation of a creative, entrepreneurial arts
marketing-based theory:
. . . in endeavouring to emulate the (seemingly) logical, rigorous, model building,
law seeking, nomothetic . . . standards of
the physical sciences, academic marketing
has effectively downplayed and de-emphasised the creativity, spontaneity, adaptability and individual insight that often
characterise successful marketing practices . . . Postmodernism not only provides
the conceptual foundations for the individualistic, ideographic and intuitive end of
the art-science continuum, but, in its
espousal of heterarchy (at or overlapping
organisational structures) rather than
hierarchy, the concept repudiates the premises of the . . . academic caste system. In a
postmodern world, therefore, marketing
would no longer occupy the lowest level of
the academic rmament, with its necessity
for periodic apologia and a more scientic
than science outlook. A self-condent marketing, secure in the knowledge that it is the
equal of any discipline, physical or human,
would be the ultimate outcome (Brown,
1993).
By being prepared to at least acknowledge
that unconventional marketing research methodologies can contribute to more meaningful
theory building, the case for investigating the
link between art, marketing and entrepreneurship is supported. This unconventionality can
be combined, or triangulated, with more
conventional methodologies in order to construct a richer data set and ultimately build
Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

more meaningful marketing theory (Fillis,


2003b, 2003c; Fillis, 2005).

Using creativity in the search for


new arts marketing knowledge
There is a traditional academic research process (TARP) which dominates business and
social science research (Geursen, 2000). New
theory development can be restricted by
following this process but may be overcome
by adopting a closer interaction between the
research process and the phenomena under
investigation. Geursen calls this the higher
academic research process (HARP) where the
development of new knowledge and the
questioning of existing knowledge occur at a
faster rate. New knowledge discovery can be
facilitated by following a creative research
path. By adopting a range of creative, biographical, historical and longitudinal research
techniques in conjunction with the imagination of the entrepreneurial arts marketing
researcher, a closeness can develop between
the subject and the observer. The authors
propose that a more creative, dynamic research
process should be followed in order to mirror
contemporary behaviour of the smaller arts
rm. Creative research methods can serve as a
key to unlocking new knowledge and subsequently build towards the generation of new
theory.
One of the central weaknesses of the
traditional academic research process is that
it is assumed that the literature reviewed in
order to construct hypotheses is comprehensive and detailed (Geursen, 2000). This is not
always the case and within small rm and arts
marketing research, the literature is not thorough and knowledge is incomplete (Fillis,
2000c; Fillis, 2001; Fillis, 2002a, 2002b,
2002c; Fillis, 2003a). Triangulation of survey
and case study data, in-depth interviews,
biographical, historical and other longitudinal
techniques can result in the identication of
key issues which may not have been unearthed
by using individual marketing research techniques alone. For example, Rentschler and
Geursen (1999) and Rentschler (2000) used

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Ian Fillis and Ruth Rentschler

content analysis of annual reports as a tool of


research to reveal patterns of development
over time. Content analysis of annual reports is
an acceptable method of determining change
in management emphasis or change in direction of the organisation and its environment.
The purpose of annual report analysis is to
interpret change through practical organisation examples. Annual report analysis is
considered hard data and is used in conjunction with case studies, which can be considered soft data. Taken together, the two
approaches provide a robust basis for overall
observations. The annual report ordinarily
appears under the chief executives signature
which establishes a direct link with key
elements on strategic direction and issues
uppermost in their mind. Even if someone else
drafts the annual report, the fact that the chief
executive signs it ensures it reects their
strategic intent. It is thus signicant and valid
research data.

Conclusions and
recommendationsconstructing a
creative arts marketing paradigm
This paper has presented the case for the
incorporation of creativity and entrepreneurial
thinking into future development of arts
marketing theory. The conventional marketing
paradigm fails to account for the philosophical
differences in the arts compared to other
industries, centring on art for arts sake versus
business sake orientations (Harrison et al.,
1998; Barrere and Santagata, 1999). This paper
has also considered the merits of increasing the
amount of creativity in the research process.
Existing arts marketing theory continues to be
drawn towards marketing as a science but
there is also wisdom in positioning it as an art.
There is sufcient evidence also to consider the
case for the construction of an arts marketing
paradigm.
Bohm (1998) draws parallels between the
work of an artist and that of a scientist in order
to understand the underlying mechanisms of a
paradigm shift. Art can lead to new ways of
perceiving the environment. In a similar
Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

fashion to the linear, mechanical nature of


formal marketing procedures compared with
the non-linear nature of the actual small
business environment, so Bohm also examines
the dichotomy between linear (mechanical)
and non-linear (creative) processes. The nature
of truth in science and art raises the possibility
of multiple realities. Their existence then
creates opportunities for cross-disciplinary
paradigm alterations since the scientic version of truth is open to question. The mode of
inquiry is inherently different, but the artist and
scientist both search for truth with similar
intent and impulse. One of the main weaknesses of scientic theory is that objectivity is
impossible to achieve since theory construction is built on the selection of nite elements
from an innite portfolio of quantitative and
qualitative factors. Theory is a certain way of
looking which is neither true nor false but
instead offers clear and fruitful insight in
certain domains and unclear and unfruitful
outcomes when extended beyond the
intended domain. The paradigm is a working
model which can organise data, facilitate its
interpretation and construct theory. Widening
the denition of paradigm from the individual
to the collective level allows for parallels to be
made between science and art.
In similar vein to the paradigm shifts seen in
science, changes can also be observed across
artistic movements. Art theory and artistic
practice has changed, evolved even, over
centuries as avant garde movements challenge
mainstream thinking. The same cannot be said
of marketing theory which continues to focus
largely on the marketing mix. Bohm views
experimentation with the formation of new
structures as a creative act. By doing so,
previous constraints are bypassed in order to
gain a new understanding. Benets of adopting
a cross-disciplinary mutual learning perspective include the generation of both imaginative
and rational insight together with the construction of links between seemingly diverse bodies
of knowledge. The connection between art,
creativity, marketing and entrepreneurship is
such an example. Following a creative path
results in the construction of new ideas which

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From: Using creativity to achieve an entrepreneurial future for arts marketing, Fillis, I. & Rentschler, R.
Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

An entrepreneurial future for arts marketing

283

in turn can then liberate thought from the


network of preconceived notions shaped by
education and training. Bohm believes that by
being aware of these conditioned, unconscious, preconceptions, we can then go on to
perceive the world in a different way. The
juxtapositioning of alternative, non-traditional
arts marketing research methodologies can
result in the construction of alternative conceptualisations and new schools of thought.
Creativity is viewed as an appropriate
response to rationalising uncertainty in an
environment where a number of rationalities
and versions of the truth is possible (Figure 2).
The act of being creative can serve to stimulate
more appropriate theory (Brownlie, 1998).
Research at the Marketing and Entrepreneur-

ship interface, for example, can actively contribute to arts marketing theory development
and is based on examining phenomena such as
networking, word of mouth marketing, opportunity recognition, managerial judgement and
creativity (Carson, 1995; Shaw, 1998; Fillis and
McAuley, 2000; Fillis and McAuley, 2000; Fillis,
2003a). Successful entrepreneurial marketing
depends on the exploitation of core competencies with creativity serving as the catalyst.
Figure 2 encapsulates the variety of contributing factors in the construction of a creative
form of arts marketing theory within a triadic
relationship of creativity, art and marketing.
Attention is paid both to the conventional
modes of marketing understanding together
with the merits of entrepreneurial, non-linear

Figure 2. Creativity, art and marketing: a Triadic Relationship.

Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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From: Using creativity to achieve an entrepreneurial future for arts marketing, Fillis, I. & Rentschler, R.
Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

284

Ian Fillis and Ruth Rentschler

thinking. Postmodern, critical thinking is


embraced within the arena of arts marketing
as art and science.
Insight into creativity and arts marketing can
be gained from a variety of perspectives,
including the biographical study of the artist
and the creative interpretation of annual
reports in museums and performing arts
organisations (Fillis, 2003b, 2003c; Rentschler
and Geursen, 1998). Artistic biographical data
collection enables the identication and utilisation of a wide range of sources including
written biographies, letters, paintings and
video. These data sources complement the
more conventional data collection methods of
in-depth interview, focus group and questionnaire.
The paper has highlighted the increasing
interest in artistic creativity as both a business
and a research phenomenon. Understanding
creativity can help provide an improved form
of arts marketing theory where the artist is
visualised as the owner/manager of both the
artistic enterprise and of creative knowledge.
Arts marketing data can then subsequently be
constructed from the analysis of art theory and
practice. There is a natural linkage between
creativity, art, marketing and entrepreneurship
which is yet to be fully explored. As the
application of marketing is widened further,
there are increasing opportunities to investigate creative, entrepreneurial marketing
within the arts generally. Creativity can also
have a large degree of impact on future arts
marketing research methodologies. This is
driven by the fact that the majority of existing
marketing theory is stagnating. There is a need
for new theory development due to the gap
between
existing
linear,
prescriptive
approaches and the realities of the non-linear,
sometimes chaotic macro-level environment.
Future arts marketing research should embrace
creativity, if not always as a central construct, at
least as a facilitator for more critical thinking.

Biographical notes
Dr Ian Fillis is senior lecturer in marketing in
the Department of Marketing, University of
Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Stirling, Scotland. He holds a BSc in Civil


Engineering, an MA in Marketing and a PhD
on the internationalisation process of the
smaller rm from the University of Stirling.
His main research interests focus on creativity,
entrepreneurial and small business marketing,
international and export marketing. He is Chair
of the Academy of Marketing Special Interest
Group in Entrepreneurial and Small Business
Marketing and is also a member of the Academy
of Marketing Arts and Heritage Special Interest
Group.
Associate Professor Ruth Rentschler (PhD,
Monash) is the executive director of the
Centre for Leisure Management Research,
Bowater School of Management and Marketing,
Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. She
is editor and author of a number of books
and author of articles in the cultural eld,
including Cultural and Entertainment
Industries Handbook, Shaping Culture and
Innovative Arts Marketing and The Entrepreneurial Arts Leader.

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From: Using creativity to achieve an entrepreneurial future for arts marketing, Fillis, I. & Rentschler, R.
Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons Ltd.