Marketing Plans

Marketing for Online Performances, Festivals, Workshops, and Panels

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Today I wanted to share a few marketing and outreach ideas on my mind right now. Some ideas might feel an ounce obvious, but hopefully reading and reflecting on this list as a whole will spark new ideas and actions as you plan for your upcoming event, whether it is a dance performance, online film festival, or panel discussion.

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The past year has necessitated and challenged many artists, teachers, and organizations to consider pivoting to online presentations and projects. For many, this is the first time offering online programming. Truth is, the online format can be a marketing and outreach blessing. Your reach and impact could be beautifully expanding in ways you have not considered in years past.

 

Local/state/national

Most of our past marketing efforts for shows and events was hyper local. Who can make it to the event? Who lives within an hour? While marketing to your loyal base is still very important right now, sketch out what it would mean to expand the engagement and audience to people in your state. And, how would you reach them through social media, asking colleagues to post information, and such?

Additionally, what efforts will reach a national audience for your event?

Consider drawing concentric circles on a large paper and noting who are your local, state, and national potential audience members.

 

Live/recorded/archived

If you are running a performance, festival, workshop, or talk, can it only be experienced in real time? Will it be live, and then people could access it for a limited time via recording? Or is it recorded and available for an extended amount of time? Tease out this key detail.

 

Family members

Online activities are an incredible way to invite and engage family members and in-laws who might be new to your work! This is one of the most beautiful gifts of the online platforms.

 

Alumni networks

Events online are a perfect opportunity to engage with your alma mater, and also the alma maters of your collaborators. This can be a high school, college program, or graduate program. It's a great moment to rekindle connections.

 

College courses

I cannot express this enough! There is so much potential to reach out to college professors, to use your performance, exhibit, or talk as a component of a college course. Consider a list of 5 professors to reach out to, whether locally, regionally, or nationally.

 

Sliding scale fees/NOTAFLOF

Understanding the financial reality of this moment, are you able to offer your event sliding scale for maximum access? Consider your budgetary goals.

 

High touch/personal touch

If you have the time and bandwidth, select 12-20 people you will personally reach out to about your event. The extra effort cuts through the noise of social media and a cluttered email inbox. Consider texting a colleague, sending a personalized Facebook message, or picking up the phone.

 

Enlisting your collaborators

Related to all of the ideas above, you might consider asking your artistic team (for example, the 4 dancers in your show) if they would consider helping with some marketing and outreach work during the coming weeks. This will require clarity about hours involved, plus a stipend or hourly rate for the work. This is not free labor! But, this is such a great way to maximize the connections for your particular project.

 

After reading over this list of marketing and outreach ideas, it is time to articulate your GOALS.

  • How many viewers/participants do you want for the event?
  • How many viewers over the course of the project (considering the link might be accessible for a few weeks or months)?
  • What is your income goal?

 

Best wishes with your new project!

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Our Training, Our Plans: An Informal Survey of the Field

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How did you learn to market a show or market your business?

Did you study marketing in school?

Do you follow a marketing plan or organically make a plan when a need arises?

Is your focus on a marketing plan or "marketing strategies" right now based on the size and scale of your organization?

 

These are common questions that many administrators and business owners wonder but are a bit timid to ask! So - I took a chance and reached out to ten colleagues around the country to ask them the questions. (Please note that I reached out to a small pool of colleagues at predominantly modern/contemporary dance schools, companies, and festivals.) This small sampling aims to open the window into a larger conversation and through-line on the blog about training and marketing plans.

 

On training. Here's what these 10 marketing professionals shared:

The group of 10 hold titles as marketing/communication associates, managers, and directors.

 

When asked about their training (college degrees, graduate degrees, internships, workshops, etc):

  • Only 1 out of 10 had an undergraduate degree in business, marketing, or arts administration
  • Only 1 out of 10 had a graduate degree in business, marketing, or arts administration
  • 20% of the group engaged in a marketing-related internship
  • 80% participated in continuing education workshops and conferences in recent years related to marketing

When asked, "Did you 'grow' into your marketing position through having a prior job at your organization/school?":

  • 6 of 10 arts administrators talked about internships or prior positions at their org before their current marketing/communications role

When asked, "What informal ways ways you have developed as a marketer over the years?" the 10 administrators surveyed shared:

  • Learning by doing
  • Learning from colleagues and supervisors
  • Webinars, LinkedIn Learning Courses, and YouTube videos
  • Online resources and articles
  • Books
  • Americans for the Arts Conference
  • Following other marketers on social media
  • Working with a marketing consultant
  • Transferring personal experience from being a choreographer and producing my own shows into my current job

 

On Marketing Plans. The 10 administrators surveyed were equally split between "project-based plans" and "yearlong plans." While doing this survey, I also stumbled upon this great article about marketing plans: How to Create a Crystal Clear Marketing Plan (+ Templates) by Katrina Balmaceda .

 

Let's keep the conversation going! Please add below your thoughts and questions about training for marketers and about marketing plans.