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MUSIC BUSINESS ARTICLES
Marketing your Event & Venue
by Billy Tweedie

Whether you are new to promotions or are well established, this guide
should make for useful reading and help you in attracting recognition 
for your events and/or your venue.

	Why do any publicity and Marketing ?
       Profile Building
       Raising Audience Awareness of the event and the venue
       Developing and expanding your audience
       Attracting Media Exposure
       Creating a buzz around the venue or event
       Putting yourself in the public eye - and keeping the venue there!

                  Marketing basics
                         The 4 P's:
                                   Product
                                   Price
                                   Place
                                   Promotion

Ask yourself what are your strengths and weaknesses in each of the four
key areas....You might like to add a 5th "P" to your list - Punters!
(For those here in America who have no clue as to what Punters
are....ie: persons who pay with $$$!)

Key stages in developing a Promotional Strategy

1. Identify your audience and your marketplace
Who are the customers you want to target? What age are they? What are
their interests? Where do they go? What magazines do they read? What
does your audience want from going to a gig, club night or venue? What
type of promotion will reach them and how? Who are your main 
competitors? When do they hold gigs and special events? What 
type of audience do they target? What are their strengths and
weaknesses? Point to Remember - KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE 
- KNOW YOUR MARKETPLACE

2. Identify your unique selling points.
What is unique about your venue or event? (e.g. The only Blues venue in 
Pittsburgh / the only venue with a late license / Pittsburgh's premier 
touring venue) How can you capitalise on your unique selling points? 
(e.g. by advertising, publicity or word of mouth).

Point to Remember - SELL YOUR UNIQUENESS TO AUDIENCES

3. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. What are your venue's
strengths? (e.g. excellent club night, busy bar, lively atmosphere) What
are the venue's weaknesses? (e.g. poor venue design, no bar). How can
you remedy these problems?

Point to Remember - Know YOUR STRENGTHS - RECTIFY YOUR WEAKNESSES.

4. Developing a Marketing and Promotional Strategy
 
	Key areas:	
		Press & Media
 		Develop a list of media contacts
		Send our regular press releases (and follow up with phone calls if
		appropriate) Send out press material well in advance of your event.

Publicity

Organise posters, flyers and other promotional material (wall calendars
of gig dates, leaflets, etc.) Liaise with the performers (or their
management or agents) and encourage them to provide publicity material
to compliment your own. But don't leave it all to them.

Promotions
Plan special promotional incentives from time to time, e.g. cheap
drinks, freebies and promotional goods. Invite guests from the music 
industry (record labels, A & R etc.) and put them on the guest list.
Invite journalists to review your gig. Make every gig "special". Think
about the overall atmosphere, lighting, sound and the "buzz" in the venue.

Distribution
Make sure publicity material is distributed well in advance and to a
wide range of sites: shops, pubs, colleges, venues etc.


5. Review your gigs and events
 
Were ticket sales higher / lower than expected?
Why? Was the publicity adequate? Was it poorly targeted?
What could have been improved?

Other Questions to consider:

What is the budget for marketing? What low cost / free publicity
channels are available? Is the venue well signposted? Is it easy to find 
from street level?  Does the venue always leave publicity to the 
last minute? If so, take action NOW to rectify this! Does the 
venue convey the right image? Does the name of the venue (e.g. 
"Arts Center") put off potential punters? Are your gigs or events 
offering good value for money? Do you offer concessions for 
the unwaged, for students or other groups you want to attract? 
Does the venue have a corporate image on its publicity material? 
Would this help improve your profile with audiences?

Poster Design

An eye-catching and visually striking poster can sometimes make the
difference  between an empty venue and a full house! But what are the
principles of a good poster design?

Key Design Principles

Think carefully about what information will sell the event. For a well
known national or regional band or DJ their name should attract the
attention, so make this prominent on the design. For an unknown or
relatively little known band/DJ, the flavour of the event should be 
more apparent from the design and should be helped by a descriptive 
tag-line (e.g. "mad pop extravaganza", "heavy metal mayhem", happy 
hardcore all-nighter"). Any use of imagery should compliment the 
information and not obscure anything important.  Try and get the 
artist to supply as much information as possible (e.g. logos, 
photographs etc.) and use images that your target audience will 
respond to.

Color and Format:

Also worth considering is the suitability of color. Whilst your budget
may not stretch to full color printing, clever use of 1 or 2 colors can
be just as affective (remembering that the white paper, or another color
of paper, can be useful as a color.) If your budget can only stretch 
to photocopying, consider using colored paper to make your image 
stand out, and put several copies of your design on the one large sheet 
(photocopying multiple images on large format paper works
out cheaper than individually copied sheets). The format is 
important in terms of what you are publicising and how you want it 
publicised. Obviously, for one-off events, the image publicity needs 
to be as large as possible, though if its too big you might have trouble 
finding suitable display spaces. If you are considering flyposting 
your publicity, very big posters may soon be covered up others. 
If the intention of the publicity is to make people familiar with the 
name of a night (e.g, the Pittsburgh Arena's Saturday night), or a 
band name (e.g. 2009) stickers can be very effective, discrete to
use and relatively cheap to produce.

Options

Do it yourself. With only a mere inkling for design, a typewriter and a
photocopier, effective low budget publicity can be produced. Even with a
fairly basic wordprocessor or graphics software, professional looking
designs can be produced. Use a professional designer. This is obviously
going to cost you, however prices are usually based on producing the
finished product (i.e. design, setting, repro, printing, folding or cutting 
and delivery). Bear in mind that the more you order, the cheaper the 
cost per item becomes. Consequently, the difference between, 
for example, 1000 and 3000 two color flyers might only be $30,or less!

Encourage the bands to provide their own publicity designs. While this
can save you a job, musicians can be notoriously unreliable, so if you
know what you're doing, it may be better to agree on a design with the
band and then get on with it yourself.

Getting the message Across
Don't forget to include the basic information on the gig or event. It
may seem obvious, but its worth checking your copy.

Distribution of Posters
Make a list of distribution drop-off points. These should include :-
other Venues and Pubs, Colleges and Universities, Shops (fashion,
records, fast food, launderettes, music and book shops), Coffee shops
and Cafes, Arts Centers and Libraries,Youth Centers and Community
Buildings, Information Stands and Public Display Boards, Recording
Studios and Rehearsal Rooms

Some final points
Try to avoid gig clashes with other events on the same date (or even
major events within a few days of yours). Be Imaginative. Think about
where your audience hangs out and where they will see
your publicity. Also consider Flyering outside other gigs and at your
own events in advance of your gig. Avoid Flyposting. It could cost you
an arm and a leg - it's not worth it. Most local Councils take a hard
line.... Don't forget to check its OK to stick up posters. Some
Universities require you to get permission first, and if your poster
doesn't have the official stamp, it won't last long. Check your posters
haven't been removed or covered over after a few days..
Replace them if they've been swiped...............



written by Billy Tweedie 2001 
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