Have you ever come out of a meeting with one of your agencies, and wondered what value they added? Is there any way you can get the last hour of your life back? Why did we both agree a month ago they’d build your whole campaign, and nothing has happened?
What do you have to do in order to get the results you want? Why is their campaign creative so repeatedly off-brief? What can you do to maximise their input? Is there a silly mistake you’re making?
We think there is:
You aren’t measuring them.
It’s easy to turn this mistake around with these 3 tips.
Tip 1. Make them accountable.
Accountability can come in many shapes or sizes. Primarily, accountability comes down to responsibility. When you first engage with an agency, be sure to outline what your set of requirements is that they must deliver.
You may have one set of requirements, or you may have several that you need delivered. Whatever the case may be, outlining these early in a written brief or initial meetings, should ensure that nothing unexpected rears up mid-campaign.
Tip 2. Clear Objectives
Probably the worst thing you can do, is engage with any agency and not have a clear set of objectives that both of you are working towards.
Whether it’s a small run of printed flyers, an outdoor branding message, or experiential piece of marketing, be sure to have a clear set of objectives and agreed ‘measures of success’. By setting clear goals from the beginning, both parties can agree on what their responsibilities are, and provide a clear direction for all further activity
By setting clear objectives, your agency will have a clearer idea of the role they are to play in the marketing or promotion of your pending campaign, and can tailor and adjust their communications and strategy around those goals, rather than assuming they are on the right track.
Tip 3. Quantifiable Metrics
By providing quantifiable metrics, you are able to accurately measure the impact that your agency is having. If you provide ‘fluffy’ or broad metrics, you will receive fluffy and broad work.
If your marketing campaign is designed to increase pre-sales of theatre shows, the marketing campaign should be measured on this. If the communications are increasing awareness of your theatre company, the campaign should measure pre & post-campaign awareness.
Marketing budgets in the arts are usually limited, and the best way to ensure that you are getting the best return on your investment is to measure what return you are getting.
The Good News: Agencies Want To Be Measured
Whether you have used an agency for many years across multiple campaigns, or if you are thinking of engaging with one for the first time, there could be any number of silly mistakes each party may make.
There’s one mistake you should avoid at all costs that will in turn save you lots of time and money. You need to make sure that your agency is being measured.
If you have an agency working with you and they aren’t being measured, you need to take control and fix this situation.
If they don’t want to be measured, they’re making a very big mistake, and you should probably start shopping around.
What kind of mistakes have you had with your agencies and what have you done to fix them?
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
- 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.
- 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!
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:
Marketing drives sales.
Effective marketing is based on effective insight.
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.
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.
Just as every journey starts with a single step, any successful marketing campaign starts with a brief. Generally, a marketing and creative brief is something you would speak to an agency about over the phone, in person, or in writing. They would then respond with some general ideas, and then you combine to execute.
The creative brief at the inception of a campaign is when the project is at it’s most delicate, and without the proper attention, could end up derailing the whole campaign. Like anything, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Here are our top six tips to get the most out of your creative brief:
1. Dedicate Time
Time is money.
Try spending 5 minutes writing a brief, and then spend 30 minutes re-writing the same brief. The response to brief that your agency delivers will be completely different, but the proof is in the pudding.
In a world where we seem to be getting busier and busier, taking 30 minutes out of our day or putting aside to write a creative brief can seem excessive, but if you do, you will be rewarded with an agency that doesn’t need to guess what you’re thinking, and an idea that is highly executable and inspiring.
A well thought out, accurate, information rich brief provides a creative agency with the objectives, vision, and key messages that a piece of communication or a campaign should deliver.
2. Insight is Gold
Data is heavy, insight is rich.
Information on your product/service, reasons behind the campaign and specifically your target market all provide important boundaries and background for your agency.
Insight into your target market and those consumers you are trying to reach will give the creative more focus around the ideas generated, the messaging used, and the recommendations on how the marketing can fit the media.
Should your brief contain as much background information as possible, the marketing creative will more than likely be closer to your initial vision, will resonate with your market, and should need less changes than otherwise intended – saving you time and money!
3. Detailed Objectives
A focused brief will provide focused ideas.
If a brief is put together with little thought or focus, the result will be reflective of that. The recipients of a creative brief are not only the account team who the clients deal with on a day to day basis and understand your vision, but many other stakeholders in the process who do not know you.
Primary and secondary objectives not only help an understanding of the ‘why’ around the campaign, but provide clarity around the ‘what’, and gives quantitative and qualitative measurement that can be used to determine the success of the campaign.
4. Proposition is Key
Differentiation is the reason you exist.
The proposition is the single most important message you want your campaign to deliver. Determining a key proposition is either something that you as a client can provide, or that your agency can provide based on your brief.
You may have multiple propositions but only one should be used in your campaign.
They can be discovered through a creative process once you have determined product or brand truths relevant to the campaign. This truth is then expanded upon as you take and explore that further giving it context and wider meaning, which finally then allows you to take that final statement and turn that into a creative idea.
5. Detail Requirements
By detailing your requirements of the campaign you provide focus on how the campaign idea is to be used and allows your agency to context their idea around that.
Whether you are after a large ‘Above the Line’ idea that needs to resonate with large volumes of people, a more direct idea using targeted marketing, or simply a press advertisement in a niche publication, stating in the brief your requirements for the campaign will allow the agency to flex the idea through different variations and media.
As well as naming primary requirements, you could also mention possible other uses of the idea, i.e. social, online, search etc, however most agencies will also give you ways you can present your idea that you may not have thought of.
6. Be Excited
If you aren’t excited by your campaign, who will be?
Brief writing should not be seen as a chore, but as an enjoyable process. A chance for you to embrace your inner creative and really feel the campaign, and get under the skin of what you are doing.
Agencies can tell when a brief has had effort put into it, it is reflected in the writing which will exude passion and energy, which in turn rubs off onto the creative team.
If you’re excited by the brief, so will they be. If you show no interest, the writing seems rushed, and there’s minimal information, the creatives will probably deliver something uninspiring, low on detail, and completely ‘off brief’.
Writing a creative brief provides a skeleton and structure allowing anyone working on the campaign to remember that initial vision, and as a guiding compass to make sure you don’t go off-piste!
If you need assistance in writing a marketing brief, or developing a campaign for your business and one of it’s products or services, let us know – we will be glad to help!