What to Consider

There are two types of promotions: revenue-generating promotions and publicity promotions. Both are designed to attract attention from your target audience. It is best to write a goal and objective and then decide which type would best achieve the desired result.

Promotions require you to understand all of the costs and test those against the expected revenue gains. You do not want not implement a promotion that ends up costing your organization and cuts the profit margin; you must fully understand the framework and obstacles before you put a promotion into effect.

The first step is to have your sales goals in place. Create the benchmarks so you will know when to activate the promotion. For example, ten days out from opening night ticket sales should be at “x”. If they are at that benchmark, then you do not need to do the promotion; if not, put your plan into effect.

Having a plan in place is so important because you do not want to get in a panic at the last minute and “dump” tickets to fill the house. Whenever you give a ticket away, make sure it is to someone who will value the gift, go into your database, and become a future patron.

Answer these questions before placing the promotion in your plan:

  • Is the expected revenue greater than the cost? Understand the cost of implementing the promotion, i.e., buying ad space, creating materials, or losing revenue with ticket giveaways.
  • Can you handle the response generated from the promotion and give good customer service? Are you going to anger your customer base?
  • Is the promotion legal?
  • Do the goals and objectives of the promotion match the overall marketing objectives?
  • Can I get promotional partners to help me?

Types of Revenue-generating Promotions:

Because you know your target audience, you can identify some organizations to focus on fortie-ins or cross promotions. An example of a tie-in may be “spend $x at this store and get a coupon for the ballet.” You have to find a common thread that links your customer with another product and devise a promotion that is going to generate revenue for you.

Direct promotions and giveaways are pushed through special mailings, advertising, and/or telemarketing to a targeted list of a particular segment of your audience. Make sure the giveaway or offer is one that the target will find attractive. For example, a coupon discount to a group of affluent people would not capture their attention, whereas a discount might be an appropriate trigger to a segment that indicates price is a barrier.

Sweepstakes are special drawings that are chosen randomly with no skill required. A contest requires you to complete a task, and then the entries must be judged or selected by some criteria. Be sure to contact a communications lawyer to check the official rules surrounding any sweepstakes and enclose the rules on all materials. Coloring contests, essay contests, and promotions like this are fun ways to engage the community, and if you can get a media outlet to sponsor the contest, they can help supply the additional awards, publish the winner, and thereby promote your event.

Types of Publicity-generating Promotions:

Generating publicity for your event can be difficult. Hosting a special event will allow for a great human-interest story, generate talk value in the community, offer a chance to educate, and can be a fund-raising opportunity for your development team. Special events can be costly, take a lot of time and planning, and may not be the best solution if you do not have a solid base of customers from which to pull. Having a presence at an event that another organization is hosting is ideal because they will attract a large, diverse audience and you have the opportunity to compile a contact list for future mailings and can focus on promoting your product rather than hosting an event. Do anything you can to attract people to your area–special displays, demonstrations, giveaways- so you can talk with those walking around, hand them a brochure, and more importantly, collect their contact information.

For example, Ballet Austin’s “Mother Ginger campaign” is a promotion they use to build excitement and talk-value for The Nutcracker. It involves finding a local celebrity in the community to play “mother Ginger” in the Nutcracker for one or several performances. They use this an element of surprise for building media and community interest. They also agree to act as a spokesperson for the event. When you have someone in the community that is respected agree to use their influence to back your product it breaks down a barrier and makes it accessible to the community.

From the Ballet Austin Tool-kit