Articles Tagged with: audience

6 Things About Marketing Your Theatre Wants To Know

Do you need a marketing checklist?

It’s time for your weekly meeting with your manager, you scramble to find your marketing checklist of actions from last week, and think about the ways you’ve started to tick them off.  The clock ticks.  

15 minutes prior to your meeting, becomes 5 minutes a little too quickly, and as the time draws closer, you realise that you have spent most of this past week working on side projects or reactive requests.  You gaze down at your list again, and realise that while it changes weekly, there’s no consistency from week to week.

If only you had a template.  A model of key criteria that every week, you could reel off like an old fisherman, that keeps the company informed, and your manager knowledgeable of the value you’re adding.  A number of key criteria that’s updated and looked at regularly.

You need a marketing checklist.  Here are six things that your company wants to know:


1. What type of audience is coming to your shows?

Customer segmentation is vital, and may differ from production to production, where one show may be targeted to tourists or families, another may be targeting students or a high-brow audience. 

In order to really tailor and target your marketing campaigns, you’ll need to understand who you’re targeting to come to your show. 

What audience insight do you have?  What are the demographics of your target market?  Can you talk about where they are from, their age, who they came with, how many people did they come with?

Capture as much data into your audience that you can, and delve into this to gain valuable insight.


2. What marketing is working?

The objectives your marketing campaign has will determine exactly what you’re measuring.   Your objectives could be as simple as ticket sales, or it could be awareness of the production.

What is the return on investment that the marketing budget is delivering?  The last thing your manager wants is to hand you a marketing budget, and have you not know how to spend it.  Even worse, you’re spending the marketing budget, but you don’t know what it’s delivering!

3. How many audience members have been before?


Simply put – what percentage of your audience have been to one of your productions before, and how many are ‘new members’.

Ideally, your production should have a healthy ratio of new & repeat audience members, however the RAR (Repeat Audience Ratio) should give you an indication as to how healthy your theatre company is (as well as how your marketing is faring).

If your RAR increases over time, your new members have had a good experience and are keen to discover more.  If you find that your RAR is low, your theatre needs to look at the ways its productions are run, and why people are not returning.

4. Ticket sale information

Every piece of marketing you deliver should have a clear objective, but the majority of the time, one of the key objectives you’ll try to achieve is to ‘put bums on seats’.

The old adage goes that people see a piece of advertising 7 times before purchasing – with this in mind, what insight around marketing impact on ticket sales do you have?

How did your audience members hear about the production? What made them purchase their ticket?  Which sales channel did they use?  Did they book online or call the Box Office?  Was there a time of day, or a day of the week that saw a spike in ticket sales, and why was that so?

5. What is the cost per customer?

Another simple metric – what did it cost the company in marketing for customers to purchase tickets?

Be sure that you measure two different cost measurements:

a) Cost p/customer: Marketing Budget ÷ Total Audience Members

b) Cost p/incremental customer: Marketing Budget ÷ Incremental Audience Members (Total Audience Members less Audience Members that would have attended without marketing or advertising)

Calculating the cost p/incremental customer may require some initial assumptions; however you can use some metrics through audience surveys and insight to lessen the risk.

6. What does the media mix look like?

One of the key aspects of any marketing campaign is your media plan.  Understanding your audience will help determine the required mix between online and offline marketing.

What percentage of your marketing is online media, i.e. digital marketing, and how much of your marketing is offline media, i.e. flyers and posters.  How are you measuring each?

Your PR department will be working on securing editorial space and awareness of your production in front of journalists.  Are you working with them to understand the publications they’re working with so you can potentially advertise and market with the same publications?


Go ahead.  Try it.  Ultimately, how you use this marketing checklist is up to you.

If you dread your weekly meeting and scurry around trying to find something to report on, you could well use these as starting points.  Understand the detail behind each of them, and keep your theatre company across them.

If you can do that, you can save yourself from frantically fretting every week, and get those 15 minutes before your meeting back into your day.


Planning a Marketing Campaign – Part 1

You have a production to put on, cast and crew are rehearsing, and the company is looking at you to promote the show and fill the seats.  You stare at your computer screen into the abyss and wonder where to start.

This scenario is quite common for small & even large theatre companies, with limited budget, time and resources, where productions rely on traditional promotional tactics such as word of mouth, flyers, and passers by.

Through planning a marketing campaign, you will delve your thoughts deeper into your company, it’s production, and your audience, and come through this process with a clear structure, and answers to two key questions: what needs to be done and how you are going to do it.

When planning a marketing campaign, before setting out your strategy, you need to set the boundaries and parameters by which you will market your show.

This is the first of a 2-part series that details what you need to consider when planning a marketing campaign.  In this first series we will look at your objectives, your audience and the insight you have.  The second part of the series looks at the strategy for your marketing campaign.

Part 1: Objectives & Insight

Part 2: Strategy


1. Objectives

  • What exactly is it you are trying to achieve?
  • What is the single purpose of the communications?  Are you trying to build credibility as a theatre company, are you trying to promote your latest production, or are you trying to increase membership of your theatre company?
  • What are the main drivers of your objectives? 
    • What drives your brand?  Is it your place and context in society and culture?  
    • What drives your production? Is it your technology and innovation? 

Be sure to highlight and focus on the key drivers that your audience and prospects will understand from your comms.

2. Audience

  • Who is your primary audience? Who do you want to fill the majority of seats? Who will be your early customers?
  • What do you want them to think, feel and do?  
  • How are they to react to your communications?  
  • Who is your secondary audience?
  • What is it that will incite someone not initially attending your production to purchase tickets to your show.

These questions will also help later when you are writing your creative brief.

3. Primary KPI’s

  • What does success look like?
  • How will you know if your marketing has delivered what it set out to do?  
    • You can separate this out for your brand KPI’s, and your sales KPI’s.  

Your campaign may want to increase your brand affinity and become a trusted and respectable theatre company in one specific area.  While alternatively, the campaign could also be about driving attendance, customers and ticket sales.

4. Why You?

  • Why should the audience choose to come to your show over other productions?
  • What are your unique selling points?
  • What is your insight telling you?

5. Why Now?

  • Why are you different now compared to before?
  • What’s the ‘new news’?
  • Why is this compelling?

6. Live dates

  • What is the opening night or start date of the campaign?
  • What key dates & milestones from a marketing perspective do you need to hit?

7. Media spend

  • What is your media budget?
  • This will help shape where and when your show is promoted, and when dealing with media and PR agencies gives them scope to work within.


In our next post we will show you how your campaign plan then starts to take shape around marketing strategy and creative.

If you have an upcoming show and need a marketing plan, feel free to speak to us here!


We are an integrated marketing communications agency.

Find Us At

223 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010 Australia (view in Google Maps)


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