I’ve written previously about crafting your artistic vision as the first step in building a marketing strategy, and how important this is in detailing your statement of purpose, your reason for being, your dreams of where you want to be.


However, once you’ve identified your artistic vision, your next step in building a marketing strategy is to detail the objectives that you’re going to take to help you get there.


You can set long term objectives, for the next 2, 5, or even 10 years, but to ensure long term success, you should focus and be explicitly clear on your marketing objectives for the next 12 months.


Setting objectives should be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your strategy planning, and as you begin to sharpen your focus, you will begin to visualise how extensive and exhaustive your campaigns will need to be in order to support your company over the next 12 months.


Marketing Objectives

As a marketing team, your objectives should fall into one of these four categories:

1. Audience Objectives

2. Financial Objectives

3. Campaign Objectives

4. Production Objectives


In this first of a four part series, I’m going to talk about key objectives for your audience.


How you set objectives for your audience depends on what type of audience they are.


Where your theatre is at in its ‘life stage’ as a company should determine exactly what you focus your energies and objectives on to reach your artistic vision.


1. Audience Objectives

There are two common types of marketing you should be producing for your theatre audience, ‘Brand Marketing’ and ‘Direct Marketing’.


Brand Marketing

– To engage people emotionally with the brand 

Brand marketing is designed to create awareness of your brand or your company.  For new theatres, some of the most important marketing you do will be around your brand, how you build the perception of your company, or even landing messages that tell the community or your audience what it is that your company stands for.


Often marketers refer to Brand Marketing as the ‘heart’ of marketing, as it builds and creates an emotional connection between your brand/company, and your audience.


The first step in starting any kind of brand marketing is to look at whatdifferentiates your theatre. Why is it that people will come to your theatre, instead of doing something else?


Is it the type of production you create?  Perhaps your audience is a stark difference from other theatres?  Do you specialise in one form of theatre?


Brand marketing objectives could be as simple as ‘increasing community awareness’, ‘change perceptions of our theatre company’, or it could be to ‘promote the critically acclaimed awards we have won’.


Measuring the effectiveness of brand marketing is often quite difficult, as it is more qualitative in nature dependent upon changes in audience and community perceptions.


One way of measuring the effectiveness of your brand marketing is throughsurveys.  Surveys will give you qualitative insight into your brand, if your logo and colours are recognisable, if people know what the quality of your productions are like and even how customers are visibly recognising your brand?


There are a number of online and offline survey tools you can use to measure your brand campaigns are through Survey Monkey or Polldaddy.


If you’re after more quantifiable metrics, measuring the trends of new visitors to your website will give an indication of whether your prospective audience is becoming more attuned to your marketing and taking interest in your offering.


Direct Marketing

– To take action and contact you


If brand marketing is the heart of your marketing, direct marketing is the ‘hand’.  Direct marketing entices prospects to take action from your marketing communications.


Direct marketing is most successful once you’ve established your brand andcreated awareness and perception about your theatre.  Without any awareness or branding, people will be less likely to take action from your direct marketing as they will still be unclear about the overarching premise of why they should go and what they are seeing.


We have previously written about 5 things your direct marketing should feature, setting objectives for your direct marketing should focus on the channels that prospects will take action through.


For theatres, your most common objectives will revolve around increasing ticket sales, calls to the Box Office, increasing memberships to your theatre, or a variety of digital objectives such as ‘click through rate’, ‘purchase conversion rate’ or ‘unique visits to website’.


One of the binding principles of direct marketing is to have a clear ‘call to action’, that is – a clear and defined journey for any prospects to take once they finish reading your communications.


For theatre marketer’s, your main objective will be to sell tickets, and you need to be giving thought around the ways that customers can purchase tickets for your productions.  The most common call to actions will be to guide prospective audience members to a phone number or to an online website where they can buy tickets.


And So…

Setting marketing objectives for your theatre will largely depend on the type of audience you are speaking to and whether the communications you’re producing are either brand or direct centric.


Each type of marketing is measurable in either a qualitative or quantitative way, and it’s important to ensure that these objectives are clear and defined in your strategy so that when you reflect on your marketing you can deem whether it’s successful or not.


In my next blog post, I’m going to talk about setting financial objectives, and how these are important for a theatre marketer.  Not all marketing is creative pictures, funky messaging, and twitter banter.  It’s important to understand how your marketing impacts on the success of your productions and theatre, and what financial metrics you should be measuring.


Key Points:

1. Brand marketing creates awareness

2. Measure brand marketing through a mix of qualitative and quantitativeanalysis

3. Direct marketing promotes action

4. Ensure your call to action channels are communicated clearly on your direct communications


15 Minute Project:

1. List three marketing objectives of your theatre for this year.

2. Identify against each, whether they are ‘brand’ centric or ‘direct’ response.
Remember: If you’re changing awareness or perception it is ‘brand marketing’, if you’re enticing prospects to take action, it’s ‘direct marketing’.

3. Against each objective list ways that you can measure success.  Are you going to measure online ticket purchases?  Are you taking customer surveys?

4. Against each success measurement, write down a metric that you want to achieve. Do you want to increase ticket sales by 20%?  Do you want to increase awareness of your theatre by 5%?

5. Finally, against each objective, list all the relevant ‘call to actions’ that you are asking a customer to take.  Where will the customer go next?  What are you asking them to do?