Special Events, Fliers, Group Sales, Artistic Partners

4/29/2010 Thursday 8:53 am

In the run up to our giant international festival a lot of people have been asking about our marketing approach, and I’ve been itching to write some of it down.  Much of it doesn’t “feel” like marketing.  I think when most people think about marketing they think about branding, advertisements in papers and online, newsletters, and PSAs on TV and radio.

We’re doing all of that, of course, but there is much, much more involved.  My most recent post, for example, referenced our special event at Lynn and Wayne Morgan’s house.  That is one of many special events we’ve done designed to reach out to new people – and its working.  Then there’s the reference in that post also to media sponsorships – we’ve got a bunch ranging from 2 radio stations and 2 TV stations, to a radio show, a media company, a newspaper and several magazines!

We’ve got volunteers passing out fliers in local shops, but also customized fliers going to special events: For example, this weekend the texas Early Music Project has a presentation and they are a partner with us.  So we created a custom flier promoting Ronn McFarlane’s (lute player) appearance at GFA.  Then a few weekends ago we were invited to be present at the Biscuit Brothers Family Music Fest so we created a color-custom flier advertising the children’s show at the fest.  Next weekend the Miro Quartet plays in Austin, so, at that event the presenter has offered to let us stuff programs with a flier highlighting the Miro’s performance at the fest.

Group sales may play a big role.  We’ve arranged discount coupon codes with the Long Center, and we’ve approached large employers and communities with discount offers.  Only this week I learned that the Long Center has an employee who does just that, and we’ve enlisted her, Susan Griffin, to help us on that side as well.

One of our most powerful tools has been artistic partnerships.  We’ve got 12 of them, and they’re major-deal partners like the opera, symphony, and more.  They have each agreed to a simple quid pro quo arrangement: they tell their constituents about our upcoming deal, and we’ll tell our audience members about their upcoming seasons at the deal itself!  This has been hugely effective in reaching audience-going members of the public.

This on top of a new site, special localized branding, and social media all designed to make a very complicated event as attractive as possible.

On the international side we’ve crafted a very different message and added very different programming elements.  One designed to serve youth and teachers in schools that resulted in nearly 200 additional registrations, and another that attracted 40 decision makers from presenting organizations who will now arrive and create one of the most fertile networking environments ever for our instrument – a fact we are leveraging in our personal outreach to potential registrants.

This is all combined with tons of direct, personal outreach to journalists and other community influencers in an effort to get people talking!  People are certainly talking!  Whether or not its enough remains to be seen, but you can bet we’ll continue to fire on all cylinders until this thing is done!

These are all vehicles for dissemination of info.  I should write a separate post about the info itself… the messaging… that has been interesting also!

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