Monthly Archives: January 2014

6 Things About Marketing Your Theatre Wants To Know

Do you need a marketing checklist?

It’s time for your weekly meeting with your manager, you scramble to find your marketing checklist of actions from last week, and think about the ways you’ve started to tick them off.  The clock ticks.

15 minutes prior to your meeting, becomes 5 minutes a little too quickly, and as the time draws closer, you realise that you have spent most of this past week working on side projects or reactive requests.  You gaze down at your list again, and realise that while it changes weekly, there’s no consistency from week to week.

If only you had a template.  A model of key criteria that every week, you could reel off like an old fisherman, that keeps the company informed, and your manager knowledgeable of the value you’re adding.  A number of key criteria that’s updated and looked at regularly.

You need a marketing checklist.  Here are six things that your company wants to know:


1. What type of audience is coming to your shows?

Customer segmentation is vital, and may differ from production to production, where one show may be targeted to tourists or families, another may be targeting students or a high-brow audience. 

In order to really tailor and target your marketing campaigns, you’ll need to understand who you’re targeting to come to your show. 

What audience insight do you have?  What are the demographics of your target market?  Can you talk about where they are from, their age, who they came with, how many people did they come with?

Capture as much data into your audience that you can, and delve into this to gain valuable insight.


2. What marketing is working?

The objectives your marketing campaign has will determine exactly what you’re measuring.   Your objectives could be as simple as ticket sales, or it could be awareness of the production.

What is the return on investment that the marketing budget is delivering?  The last thing your manager wants is to hand you a marketing budget, and have you not know how to spend it.  Even worse, you’re spending the marketing budget, but you don’t know what it’s delivering!

3. How many audience members have been before?


Simply put – what percentage of your audience have been to one of your productions before, and how many are ‘new members’.

Ideally, your production should have a healthy ratio of new & repeat audience members, however the RAR (Repeat Audience Ratio) should give you an indication as to how healthy your theatre company is (as well as how your marketing is faring).

If your RAR increases over time, your new members have had a good experience and are keen to discover more.  If you find that your RAR is low, your theatre needs to look at the ways its productions are run, and why people are not returning.

4. Ticket sale information

Every piece of marketing you deliver should have a clear objective, but the majority of the time, one of the key objectives you’ll try to achieve is to ‘put bums on seats’.

The old adage goes that people see a piece of advertising 7 times before purchasing – with this in mind, what insight around marketing impact on ticket sales do you have?

How did your audience members hear about the production? What made them purchase their ticket?  Which sales channel did they use?  Did they book online or call the Box Office?  Was there a time of day, or a day of the week that saw a spike in ticket sales, and why was that so?

5. What is the cost per customer?

Another simple metric – what did it cost the company in marketing for customers to purchase tickets?

Be sure that you measure two different cost measurements:

a) Cost p/customer: Marketing Budget ÷ Total Audience Members

b) Cost p/incremental customer: Marketing Budget ÷ Incremental Audience Members (Total Audience Members less Audience Members that would have attended without marketing or advertising)

Calculating the cost p/incremental customer may require some initial assumptions; however you can use some metrics through audience surveys and insight to lessen the risk.

6. What does the media mix look like?

One of the key aspects of any marketing campaign is your media plan.  Understanding your audience will help determine the required mix between online and offline marketing.

What percentage of your marketing is online media, i.e. digital marketing, and how much of your marketing is offline media, i.e. flyers and posters.  How are you measuring each?

Your PR department will be working on securing editorial space and awareness of your production in front of journalists.  Are you working with them to understand the publications they’re working with so you can potentially advertise and market with the same publications?


Go ahead.  Try it.  Ultimately, how you use this marketing checklist is up to you.

If you dread your weekly meeting and scurry around trying to find something to report on, you could well use these as starting points.  Understand the detail behind each of them, and keep your theatre company across them.

If you can do that, you can save yourself from frantically fretting every week, and get those 15 minutes before your meeting back into your day.


What I Love About Google Chrome


What I Love About Google Chrome.

Surfing the internet whether for work or play has become increasingly easier over the past few years.  Where there used to be one or two web browsers you would consider using, we now have numerous choices each offering different advantages.

Google Chrome Web Browser

Web Browser Usage History

As far back as 2012 when Chrome was first widely acknowledged as the leading web browser I stood true to Firefox and resisted temptation to switch browsers.  Only when I entered the Mac ecosystem was my loyalty to Firefox truly questioned and I moved onto Safari.  However, with the ever-widening gap between Chrome and other browsers the time had come to dip my toe in the water and see what the differences really are. 

After using Chrome for a mere few weeks, here are two immediate differences and advantages I have picked up which have transformed how I use my internet browser.

1. Application Library

The applications that you can find using Chrome are vast and highly useful!  Whether it be organising day to day tasks, or creating infographics, I’m able to quickly and easily find the pages I want to get to.  All this, with it kept neatly in the browser.

Chrome also has the added benefit of being able to keep the Chrome App Launcher in my dock on my Macbook, I don’t have to waste time switching from one open application to my web browser.

2. Sync With Multiple Devices

The main benefit I have found with using Chrome is the ability to sync my devices across the web browsers.  Coming home on the Tube stuck what to make for dinner, I searched the net and stumbled on a recipe I liked.

I went on my way to the supermarket, opened my browser, and bought the ingredients.  Once I got home, I turned on the iPad and pulled up my chrome browser, in front of me was the web page I was looking at on my mobile 5 minutes ago.

Having my devices synced and updated has saved me time between devices opening browsers, searching for things I had previously, and also providing a quick reference to jog the memory and history of past search previously.


The burgeoning popularity of Chrome is hard to ignore, with it’s current upward trend, it could surpass 50% of the browser market by the end of this year.  The other browsers are sure to respond with advanced features and strategies to combat Chrome’s growth, but what those will be is anyone’s guess.

Planning A Marketing Campaign – Part 2

You’ve just walked in with your morning coffee, you know that today the time for procrastination is over, and after speaking to the team yesterday, they are all looking to you to drive the marketing of their upcoming production.


You have nothing.  Well, close to nothing, you have a few notes written down, they are in no sensible order but are more random ramblings of ways you can market the show.


You have a basic grasp on what the company wants to achieve, you understand who it is you’re meant to be talking to, but where do you go now?


This is the second of a 2-part blog series that talks about what is involved and what you should be focusing on when planning a marketing campaign.


In the first part of the series, I spoke about outlining your objectives, measurables, and insight on the campaign.


In this second part of the series, we will focus on the strategy of your plan and what that constitutes.  This second part of the marketing plan, will also help immensely when you begin to work with your marketing agencies on writing a creative brief to promote your show.


If you missed the first part of the series you can find it here:


1. Product Proposition

State the single most important message you want your communications to promote.


This is key to your marketing communications and should be the main message that your audience is left with after seeing your communications.

  • What is your brand truth?
  • What is your product truth?


2. Message Hierarchy

Most marketing comms will have different ‘dwell times’ for the audience to take in messages, for example, the dwell time on a piece of Direct Mail will be much longer than a newspaper advertisement, this provides you with a framework around what additional messages you can communicate to your audience.

  • What supporting messages do you want to promote?
  • What is the insight telling you about secondary factors


3. Risk / Challenges

Your marketing as well as your production will no doubt have certain risks and challenges associated with it, these may be seasonal and external risks such as a nearby festival, or they may be internal risks and challenges, such as a member of the team leaving, inconsistent insight.  By highlighting these and identifying them, you will be better placed to action against them.

  • What is outside your control that may impact the campaign?
  • What could happen within the company that may impact the campaign?
  • What obstacles are there that could impact your campaign?


4. Action / Contingency

Once you have identified the risks and challenges, you need to think about contingency and action plans to be put in place should they actually occur.  You should fin d that most of these will be internally controlled.

  • What can you do to negate the risks and challenges?


5. Headline Pricing

Pricing will be more relevant in Direct comms, rather than in Brand comms where you are trying to increase brand awareness and affinity.

If your communications are a piece of direct marketing and you are wanting to increase ticket sales, your pricing should make up an element within your comms.  Where you price your production, like any product or service, will have an effect on your company and it’s important to ensure that you are highlighting a price that is consistent with your target market and what they expect to pay for your entertainment.

  • Are you promoting a price on your comms?


6. Offer

Finally, is there an offer you can promote as part of your communications to ensure the response you generate is as high as possible.  Perhaps you have a pricing structure dependant on when your tickets are sold, or there could be a bulk/upgrade offer you promote when customers purchase tickets as well as merchandise.

  • Is there an incentive for your customers?
  • What can you provide to promote purchase?



That’s it for our tips on planning a marketing campaign, we hope you enjoyed them and have a clearer idea of what you need to cover off in your plan.  There are numerous ways to create your marketing plan, I use a Powerpoint template that captures all the relevant information and provides an Executive Summary on two pages, and then throughout the rest of the plan we divulge further providing detail around each specific element.


Remember, if you missed the first part of this series outlining the initial steps in planning a marketing campaign, you can find them here.


If you are over the procrastination, have a few general questions on your marketing, or need help planing a marketing campaign, be sure to contact us here!

Planning a Marketing Campaign – Part 1

You have a production to put on, cast and crew are rehearsing, and the company is looking at you to promote the show and fill the seats.  You stare at your computer screen into the abyss and wonder where to start.

This scenario is quite common for small & even large theatre companies, with limited budget, time and resources, where productions rely on traditional promotional tactics such as word of mouth, flyers, and passers by.

Through planning a marketing campaign, you will delve your thoughts deeper into your company, it’s production, and your audience, and come through this process with a clear structure, and answers to two key questions: what needs to be done and how you are going to do it.

When planning a marketing campaign, before setting out your strategy, you need to set the boundaries and parameters by which you will market your show.

This is the first of a 2-part series that details what you need to consider when planning a marketing campaign.  In this first series we will look at your objectives, your audience and the insight you have.  The second part of the series looks at the strategy for your marketing campaign.

Part 1: Objectives & Insight

Part 2: Strategy


1. Objectives

  • What exactly is it you are trying to achieve?
  • What is the single purpose of the communications?  Are you trying to build credibility as a theatre company, are you trying to promote your latest production, or are you trying to increase membership of your theatre company?
  • What are the main drivers of your objectives? 
    • What drives your brand?  Is it your place and context in society and culture?
    • What drives your production? Is it your technology and innovation? 

Be sure to highlight and focus on the key drivers that your audience and prospects will understand from your comms.

2. Audience

  • Who is your primary audience? Who do you want to fill the majority of seats? Who will be your early customers?
  • What do you want them to think, feel and do?
  • How are they to react to your communications?
  • Who is your secondary audience?
  • What is it that will incite someone not initially attending your production to purchase tickets to your show.

These questions will also help later when you are writing your creative brief.

3. Primary KPI’s

  • What does success look like?
  • How will you know if your marketing has delivered what it set out to do?
    • You can separate this out for your brand KPI’s, and your sales KPI’s.

Your campaign may want to increase your brand affinity and become a trusted and respectable theatre company in one specific area.  While alternatively, the campaign could also be about driving attendance, customers and ticket sales.

4. Why You?

  • Why should the audience choose to come to your show over other productions?
  • What are your unique selling points?
  • What is your insight telling you?

5. Why Now?

  • Why are you different now compared to before?
  • What’s the ‘new news’?
  • Why is this compelling?

6. Live dates

  • What is the opening night or start date of the campaign?
  • What key dates & milestones from a marketing perspective do you need to hit?

7. Media spend

  • What is your media budget?
  • This will help shape where and when your show is promoted, and when dealing with media and PR agencies gives them scope to work within.


In our next post we will show you how your campaign plan then starts to take shape around marketing strategy and creative.

If you have an upcoming show and need a marketing plan, feel free to speak to us here!

Marketing v PR. These 3 Points Highlight The Difference.

A number of arts companies we have spoken to and even artists themselves, have spoken of the time and commitment invested into Public Relations, however have put little to no thought into how marketing could be best utilised and fit into their promotional and communications strategy.

Artists we speak to are often talking to PR agencies, but aren’t engaging with marketing agencies as the benefits each discipline provides are perceived to be one and the same.

Public relations is a necessary investment in the development and promotion of the arts, as it creates awareness, provides editorial space in publications, and develops relationships with influencers in the industry, however, implementing a differentiated marketing strategy will be critical to the success of your company.

Here are 3 key things your marketing strategy can deliver that public relations can’t do:

1. Sales Objectives

Marketing drives sales.

Your marketing strategy should have clear, quantifiable sales and promotion objectives. Where public relations is best utilised for editorial space, critiques, reviews and influence of your brand, product or campaign, it is difficult to quantify its impact.
A marketing campaign will have clear objectives about what you are trying to achieve, whether it be a ‘brand’ campaign designed to deliver an increase in awareness and perception, or a ‘direct‘ campaign designed to convert an aware audience into a sale.
A clear marketing strategy should allow you to attribute your sales to activity, for example, by determining what your cost per sale is, cost per impression, return on investment or any number of other metrics dependant on the channel you are marketing, to gauge success and use as a benchmark going forward.
2. Insight

Effective marketing is based on effective insight.

Your marketing strategy needs data and insight in order to attain the desired outcome.  Insight could come from identifying your target market, or it could come from your product and should identify the key metrics you want to target through your campaign.
Only by obtaining data will your marketing be targeted enough in its offline and online process to effectively deliver on your objectives.  Insight, while driving marketing, can additionally be used to support public relations and assist in decisions about publications, media and stories for your PR strategy to focus.
3. Proposition & Messaging

Clarity trumps persuasion – Dr Flint McGlaughlin, Director, MecLabs

A successful marketing campaign has a compelling idea that lands a message which you want to communicate.  If your insight is rich enough you will be able to create a compelling message around your objective.

If your message is compelling enough, you will be influencing prospective advocates and converting existing advocates to your objectives.
A marketing campaign provides one clear message to your target audience as to why they should see your show,  buy your product, or join your membership.

Ensure that your marketing strategy links with your overall objectives and is intertwined with other elements of your promotional strategy such as PR in order to maximise your campaigns.

Public relations does a great job at creating awareness but what it lacks in a ‘killer punch’ as a driver of and delivering sales, a complete marketing strategy does.
If you need a Marketing Strategy to be a core driver of your company or even to supplement your PR activity, speak to us today!

We are an integrated marketing communications agency.

  • Brand & Marketing Strategy
  • Digital Marketing
  • Advertising
  • B2B
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Media Planning
Find Us At

223 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst

NSW, 2010



+61 2 9188 7810


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