You can have the greatest show on Earth... but if no one knows about it, nobody will see it. For many kinds of entertainment—from video games to live theater—word of mouth works very well.
But, of course, word of mouth alone may not be enough. When marketing entertainment, you may need to help things along, especially if it's a new show or product. One reader suggests kick-starting word of mouth for live entertainment. Valuable advice from other readers follows. Keep in mind that if you marry content with technology, you might experience amazing results.
Marketing life isn't always a cabaret, old chum
I am with an up-and-coming burlesque dance troupe based in Houston, Texas. Currently, clubs and magazines are contacting us regarding performances and article write-ups. We want to put together a media kit or something to send out to inform clubs, venues and fans about us, but we do not know where to start. Our marketing strategy currently consists of handing out fliers, word of mouth and our Web site. What should our next steps be to expand the target market and increase exposure?
—Ruth, Marketing Coordinator
Eileene Chong, marketing and communications manager at Comex Genesys Bhd., advises to promote everyone who was involved in the production in the media kit:
Start by collecting photos of the cast and past performances. Then do a write-up about the production and create a profile of the cast. Also include the latest news and events relating to performance schedules and the venue. Compile them all, and you have your media kit ready for anyone who asks for it!
Kristin Chadwick, marketing director at Blueprint Communications, provides ideas on how to develop a creative campaign:
A creative public relations campaign is a quick and low-cost way to gain market exposure. First, you need to put together a top 10 list: top 10 clubs you want to book, top 10 magazines or newspapers and top 10 radio stations in your area. Then put together a creative pitch. Perhaps a lingerie gift box with a burlesque style bra/top inside with a card on the outside saying "Take a Peek" and when you open the box a card says "Be our VIP at the sexiest show in town" and "Introducing the 'name of troupe.'" Include the press release about the group, a photo and free show passes. Once you get your most influential targets on board, your media exposure begins to grow. At this point, I recommend making some copies of the reviews you have gotten and to include this in a much larger electronic blitz to your next group of targets. Again, include a photo of your group in the electronic release. As your articles and reviews continue to grow, you should leverage your position by placing them on your Web site and in any of the flyers you are handing out.
Penny Haynes, producer, publisher and podcaster with eMediaTouch.com, recommends creating an audio or video commercial:
Since their specialty is a live show, they need to create either an audio recording and/or video recording of their show and create a commercial. Getting recordings of people who have seen the show (just as they are leaving) is something else that can be woven into the commercial.
The finished audio or video commercial can then be put on any CD (it's best to have it professionally duplicated and printed in full-color directly onto the disc with their logo and a photo of the troupe). Or they could use a business card CD, which is different, easier to store (even stuffed into a rolodex) and contains information about the group.
They might consider posting advertisements on local radio or TV or consider sponsoring podcasts. Poker-playing companies are doing spots in podcasts, and I'd be willing to bet that there are local podcasts in the area. Check out podcast directories and search for the city you are in. College radio would be another option.
How to make presentations sing instead of snore.
For a live performance, take advantage of the Internet by having a Web site with information on the troupe and how to buy tickets; include a map to the theater, list tour locations and ensure that the free download information is visible from every page. For other types of entertainment, the Internet can also be effectively used in many ways.
Allowing people to download and share an audio or video clip could lead to a virus... the good kind. These types of viral commercials give the audience a chance to experience something new without spending money. The only thing that gets spent is time. If they like it, they will want to check out the entertainment; so ensure there is contact or Web site information, in case the person got it from somewhere else other than the Web site.
Next Marketing Challenge: Can You Help?
Presentations have gotten out of control, as people use cookie cutter templates with 10 point font and over 20 words a page. We believe presentations should sing, zing and ring audiences. We're working on marketing a new invention, so that means lots of presentations and explanations. What are the elements in a successful presentation that have worked for you or that you've seen in a presentation?
—Janet, Marketing Manager
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