Commentary: Wanna sell more tix? Leverage your artists' social media networks

Eric Housh,, 8/18/11

This may be tough to admit, but very few people come to see a show at your venue strictly because of the venue. While engaging in social media as the venue is necessary, it is incomplete as a social media strategy because it fails to leverage the most important (and socially relevant) element of the show: the artist.  The majority of artists aren't utilizing social media effectively enough to make it easier for fans to buy tickets. Very few artists ask their fans to come out to the show. Why is that? Sure, you'll see a lot of tweets and posts like, "Hey, Nashville rocked last night, thanks so much to our fans!" But you rarely see "Hey Nashville - I'm rockin' the Exit/In this Friday. Get your tix at, and meet me there!"  I don't know why more artists don't do it. Maybe it just gets overlooked, maybe it's taboo, maybe it's just rarely asked for. Regardless, artists' social media networks are a great untapped resource for driving ticket sales. A mention of your venue, a link to your website, or an artist's direct promotion of the show will increase awareness, drive ticket sales, and expand your online audience. That's a win for everyone. To measure the effects, track website traffic and purchase conversions generated by these mentions. Track the increase in your Twitter followers and Facebook fans as well. The data will empower you going forward and hopefully convince any skeptical artist managers to fulfill your requests.


Commentary: Wanna sell more subs? Cut ads and up direct mail, telemarketing

Chad Bauman on his blog Arts Marketing, 9/18/11

Prior to 2008, 25% of our subscription budget was allocated to advertising. After exhaustive efforts, we could not trace a single subscription purchase back to our advertising campaigns. Therefore, we cut all subscription advertising, and refocused those resources on direct mail and telemarketing. In doing so, we completely revamped our direct mail and telemarketing campaigns. In terms of direct mail, we would previously print hundreds of thousands of season brochures, and then mail them out in a few rounds of massive mailings. Our brochures were 28 to 32 pages in length, and functioned more as a branding tool than a sales piece. Today, we send out 30+ direct mail pieces during each subscription campaign that specifically tailor the offer to the target. We have eliminated our subscription brochure, cut our design costs by 60%, and have directed all of our resources to testing message and offer. For more information on our new approach to direct mail, please read "The Future of the Season Brochure." While retooling direct mail, we also invested heavily in telemarketing. If executed properly, many patrons actually view telemarketing as a service, as it allows them the opportunity to discuss the plays with a seasoned caller and to ask any questions they may have. As the economy worsened, we found that many potential subscribers needed personal interaction with a friendly and knowledgeable sales agent in order to make a commitment.


Commentary: Wanna get more press? Twitter moves faster than any press release

Mark Shenton, The Stage Theatre Blog, 9/16/11

Twitter moves faster than any press release used to be able to. My inbox is routinely flooded with them. I immediately tweet the headline if they're noteworthy, and watch as it is in turn re-tweeted and, more importantly, commented on. [Now] some theatres are cutting out the middle man of the journalist to process and distribute the news for them. Just this week the National Theatre sent out a tweet about a new production of She Stoops to Conquer that will be staged in January that was complete news to me. Usually the National does a fantastic job of keeping journalists informed of what is going on, but here Twitter knew first. It turns out that news of the production leaked last weekend via a story in the Sunday Mirror, of all improbable theatre sources. And the National, rather than issuing a release in the usual way to follow it up after their scoop had been stolen, decided to tweet it. The National's head of press Lucinda Morrison told me, "Twitter provided a quick and effective way for us to confirm and amplify the story. It's the first time we've 'announced' a show that way, but probably not the last. Personally I see it as adding to our communication options, depending on the circumstances, not necessarily replacing the traditional press release - yet, anyway!" Of course I want to protect my patch, but I do wonder that if journalists start becoming redundant, so will the PRs that are there to serve us - perhaps the theatres can simply employ the social media department of the marketing office to do the job for them.


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Wanna reach more people? 31% of U.S. adults now prefer text messaging, 9/19/11

Almost one-third of U.S. adults prefer to be reached by text message rather than a voice call on their mobile phone, according to a study by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.  Three-quarters (73%) of U.S. adults text and 83% of U.S. adults are mobile phone owners. The study found that when it comes to a preferred method of contact, 31% of adults would choose a text message, 51% would choose a voice call and 14% say it depends on the situation. 55% of heavy texters -- those who exchange 50 messages or more a day -- prefer texting to talking. Young adults between 18-24 text most frequently, sending on average 109.5 messages each day or 3,200 texts each month. The average mobile phone user in that group sends or receives 50 texts each day or 1,500 texts each month. The findings also reveal that mobile usage has leveled off among the U.S. adult population. These statistics are very similar to 2010's results.  The average adult sends or receives 10 texts each day. Cellphone users make or receive 12 calls on average each day.


Wanna reach more affluents? Try search ads, online video, 9/19/11

Most forecasters expect solid growth in online sales this holiday season, but there are also signs that consumer confidence is waning in the face of the continuing down economy. Luxury researcher Unity Marketing reports that Q2 2011 consumer confidence levels among the affluent were down, with the firm's "Luxury Consumption Index" at its lowest point since Q2 2009. The share of affluent respondents who said they were currently spending less on luxury goods than a year ago was up to 27% in Q2 2011, from 25% in Q1 and 23% in Q4 2010. At the same time, 26% of respondents said they were spending more -- down from 33% in Q1, and the smallest number since 2009. Affluents were similarly cautious about their plans for future luxury spending. Most said they would be spending the same amount in the coming year as they have been for the past year. But in Q1 2011, they were more optimistic. Earlier this year, 30% planned to spend more, a response that dropped to 24% in Q2, while the proportion planning to spend less rose by 2 points. If affluent spending on high-ticket items is down, their media usage is up, especially on digital. According to the Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Survey, US consumers with household income of at least $100,000 annually increased the amount of time they spend on the internet each week by 5 hours between 2010 and 2011, to 30.3 hours. The average number of sites visited per person was also up slightly. Marketers looking to give a boost to affluent purchase intent on luxury and other products can try to reach them via mobile and video, two channels they are highly engaged in, and should keep in mind that video and search ads drive the most action among this group.

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