Marketing/touring NO TABS - Arts Council England

Marketing/touring NO TABS - Arts Council England

84 Marketing and touring – A practical guide to marketing an event on tour

The end-user of a list has the responsibility for ensuring that each recipient

has agreed to get email or text messages from them.

Apply the same rules to the content of emailings as you do to direct mail

letters. Know who you are talking to, why they will be interested in your

event, what they want to know about it and what you want them to do as

a result of reading your email. Include a clear, simple response mechanism.

Personalise emails properly, even if this is only by mail-merging information

in Microsoft Outlook.

There are some additional guidelines:

• be concise because your potential customer has limited time

• put something relevant and interesting in the subject line

• make sure it is clear who the email is from

•put the important information in the top half to encourage them to scroll

down and read the rest

Remember that in early 2004, only a quarter of the UK’s home Internet

users had broadband so keep the email small enough to be easily accessed

with a 56k modem.

Effective email campaigns require resources so, as with every other

marketing communication channel, it is essential to evaluate whether that

investment is worthwhile. If you don’t have access to a sophisticated email

management system, use special offers to track response rates or

periodically make a manual check against box office records.

Word of mouth

It is possible to generate word of mouth in advance of the performance

dates. The key to this is networking. Company and venue marketers should

work together to identify key people in the area who are at the centre of

their particular communities or groups. They need to be given relevant

Communicating with audiences 85

information, motivated and enthused. They will then go out and talk to

other people within their network. Arts Council England has published a

guide to working with arts ambassadors which explores this process. The

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, and The Bush established an effective

relationship with gay groups in East Anglia to promote the play Beautiful

Thing. The venue marketer followed up a telesales campaign with talks to

gay groups, sent information to community leaders and handed out leaflets

at gay club nights from Kings Lynn to Ipswich. This is a time-consuming

process so both marketers need to establish priorities and some realistic

expectations of what may be achieved.

Perceptions of the venue itself can be a barrier to attendance. This can be

overcome in part by recruiting members of the public to sell tickets in their


Information about the local community is available from other venues,

animateurs, local authority arts officers, marketing, audience development

agencies or consortia.


More coverage is won if the venue and company marketer work together to

find ways of communicating the most effective message to the chosen

target audiences. This means talking on a regular basis to share information

and avoid duplication of effort.

Most venues have excellent relationships with at least some members of the

local and regional press and know which media are seen by particular target

audiences. Local media, however, sometimes feel overtargeted by venues so

an approach by companies can occasionally enliven relationships. The

national press, with their specialist requirements, is usually best dealt with

by the company in consultation with the venue.

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