Marketing Food For Thought

This past weekend I conducted a campaign-based marketing class at TribOriginal. The class went great, and I enjoyed our discussions! Here are the notes for anyone who wasn’t able to attend or didn’t get a copy.

1. It’s all about timing – Whether you are planning an event, wanting to increase the numbers in your classes, or book more gigs – timing is everything.

Time for participant prep
Might be longer or shorter in your area/ city/ student base
Are your students procrastinators or planners?
Document your success based on how far (or how close) to your event you advertise

Timelines: MAP IT OUT starting from the event going backwards (flyers, social, email, newsletter, etc)
This happens 8 weeks in advance
This happens 6 weeks in advance
This happens 4 weeks in advance
This happens 2 weeks in advance
This million and one pieces need to happen the week of

Seasons (Holiday and Industry specific)
Holiday seasons impact the general public’s willingness to participate in your event
Industry specific events can limit the disposable income of your target audience or current student base
Other festivals, workshops, etc
Touring groups
Adjacent industries that cross over – Burner events, burlesque, etc

2. Location, location, location – Sometimes you can only reach so far with your marketing efforts – literally. Be realistic as to who from your marketing base can attend an event based on travel.

GP Rule of Thumb – In today’s environment, belly dancers are EVERYWHERE. The general public won’t travel for more than 20 minutes to a class due to the current economy and gas prices. While we don’t always have the ability to get prime locations, clarification is key.

INCLUDE ADDRESSES – We live in a world of smart phones and GPS’s – don’t forget to add an address AND phone number to all marketing materials

3. Supply and Demand – Events happen every weekend. More events are happening in more localized areas. While the enthusiasm for dance is great, your marketing base will become jaded with too many events. Be aware of your community.

SUPPORT your fellow artists and guess what? They will probably support you too! Utilize other’s events as a means of networking and collaboration.

Don’t become insular – Event after workshop after event will eventually wear on your local student base. Broaden and vary your efforts for networking, performance, and event planning to broaden your base of ‘touches’.

4. Personas – Whom are you trying to reach? Everybody? No, not really. Putting bodies in your events or classes is always a concern, but inviting the right target market to your event is way more efficient. How do you define your target audience? Create the ideal persona of who you want to reach, and reach them in their channels of communication:

Demographics: Gender, Ages (what is your typical age spread in your classes/ events?), Location (are they near enough to care about the event?), Income (can they afford your classes?) , Mobility (are they willing to travel?)

Psychographics: College students looking to try something new?Housewives wanting to have fun for an hour? Fellow artists who want to try a new discipline? Other dance students looking to cross train?

Online/ Offline Digital Behavior: How is the best way to reach your persona? What is your persona’s digital communication of choice? (Social Networks? Email? Message boards? ) How often does your persona go online? Are there local hangouts where your persona frequents? Who influences your persona to engage with you? (Friends? Other dancers/ artists?)

5. Go forth and be social, digitally speaking – it’s free, everyone is doing it, and you should too. Here are some Facebook tips every starving artist should adhere to:

• Get a Facebook Fan Page
• Comment on photos
• Tag/ Untag your photos
• Comment
• Create events
• DON’T MAKE IT ABOUT YOU
• Tag other people
• Comment on others’ photos, statuses, and notes
• Offer advice, message, and

6. Degrees of Separation – Drip, drip, drip. To me, this is the most important aspect of marketing. I hear dancers/ sponsors say all the time – I posted a million Facebook statuses, flyers, emails, and still no one came! Ok great, you did everything right accept one small detail – did you make sure to extend beyond your close networking circle? If you are planning an event, want to fill your classes, or just have a rockin’ hafla – you have to make sure that not only does your close network know what is going on, but their friends understand, and their friends understand, and their friends understand…you get the picture.