Posts tagged ‘marketing’

July 29, 2013

Summer Can Be Quiet(er) – Marketing Myths


I’m not assuming summer is quiet for everyone, after all we’re just finished with the Fringe and Summerworks is just around the corner, but in my world there is a definitely useful lull for two to three weeks in summer. It’s a good time to devote to in-house marketing and bigger picture thinking, and getting the reading done that I’d  bookmarked. Thought I’d share some of those bookmarks with you over the next little while.

ETA: Before we begin, I’ve changed the name of this post to add the phrase Marketing Myths. Occurred to me that the original title wasn’t very explanatory. I’ll do that again next time.

Let’s begin.

Marketing Myths You Should Ignore 

I agree with all of them, and nod even more emphatically when I get to number six:

Myth 6: Great marketing works instantly

Fact: Although marketing creates visibility and some tactics can produce instant results, marketing is about sustained contact with your target audience to ensure they know who you are when they are about to buy. Content marketing is not instantaneous. In fact: “Days, weeks, or even months won’t produce results that you will be happy with. Be prepared to put in at least 1 solid year before you start seeing results from content marketing.” It takes time to create enough quality content your target needs to begin producing results. Marketing is an investment and like all good investments, they take time to achieve the greatest gains.

This is why I want to know from clients what they’ve done before, who’s already supported them, how consistent they’ve been in their marketing efforts, even when they don’t have a show or offering. I am a firm believer in “come for the show, stay for the company” – because you want those folks back the next time you do have a show. Doesn’t it make more sense to consistently invest a little bit of time over the season to make sure people are already in your corner? People go towards what they know, remember and recognize and by staying consistently in their peripheral vision, you help them come back to you when you do have a major offering. It’s a change in thought process to go from project to project to what I call an organizational mindset, and one that is extremely valuable. The more present you are, the more present they can be.

June 7, 2013

not everything valuable can be measured #TheArtOf

(or, why I like Seth Godin)

one of the amazing speakers at the Art of Marketing conference was marketing genius Seth Godin.

I first came across one of Seth’s blog posts years ago – part of it had something to do with being environmentally friendly and how people were writing “think before you print this” as part of their email signatures in the hopes that people – wouldn’t, and save a tree. Seth said something to the fact that it works the opposite way. I dashed off a quick email with the usual love your blog, love this post and asked why he thought it wasn’t environmentally friendly and went on with my day.

Why isn’t it, you might ask? Because someone who is going to or needs to print an email is going to, regardless of what you put at the bottom asking them not to. And more often then not, an email signature pushes an email to a second page. So instead of being environmentally friendly, you’ve just printed two pages, one of which has no info on it, except a request not to print it.

How did I find this out?

He emailed me back within half an hour. I nearly fell over. Seth Godin emailed me back! I’ve followed his blog ever since.


His segment was great – and he said a lot of scary things. Things like “the public does not want to hear from us anymore that era is over they are better at hiding from us than we are at finding them” and  “all interruption is optional” which are scary things to hear when you’re trying to get people to pay attention, whether it’s for shoes or baby clothes or art.

And that the space in between “normal” and “weird” are changing. It used to be that you’d create your product to appeal to the largest (maybe lowest) common denominator. And now there are more options for weird than normal. Like mainstream indie music – (which is a category, BTW).

Some things he said relieved me a bit. Like the title of this post – “not everything valuable can be measured“.
Which can be looked at under the category of “Counting New Beans“.  And we try to do that in our tribe every day.

And the fact that we now live in a connection economy, as opposed to the industrial revolution. “we connect and create value – no one person knows how to make a computer mouse.
We do that every day in the arts – you bring the script and he’ll bring the set design and she’ll being the lighting design and she’ll sell it all as a package and everyone gets credit for their contribution.

And one that struck me – if you want to reach people, you have to have something they want.
What do we have that people want? And not what we want, or want them to want – what they want.

And please don’t say you don’t care what they want, and it’s your art and if they don’t understand it it’s their concern. Because the second you ask people for their time at 8 pm on a Friday, and ask them to pay you to give you their time – it is your concern.

Food for thought.

One question from the audience kind of threw me – a woman saying her creative team was exhausted and verging on burnout and she really wanted to know what to do about it.

Give them a break. Let the focus slide for a second. You know how it’s said that if you’re working on the computer, you need to look up and away every half hour or so to give your eyes a break? Do that for your creativity. Do something that is outside of what you normally create. If you write, then draw. If you draw, then knit. Go to a movie. I do that a lot – it’s a trick I learned from Don Draper on MadMen. Or another: (panel from The Oatmeal)



Or I go to a conference on marketing where nothing is expected of me except to learn.

March 12, 2013

Content with your Content

(love the english language…)

Out and about today, meetings and off to the Fringe to be part of a video talking about my favourite Fringe memories. I have a ton. I will narrow it down by the time I get there.

SO – quick and dirty post today for everyone who has ever made a Facebook page, or a web page and then thought they have no idea what to say now that it’s up. INFOGRAPHIC!

Fun fact – this infographic used to contain 21 type of content – it now contains ten based on viewer votes – a type of content in itself. I smile at that. Brought to you by Infinigraph, shared by a guy named Scott.Also please note his please note at the bottom, and remember that item #2 does not refer to his please note. Nice try.




March 6, 2013

More Video, Artist Earnings, Retrograde Mercury and Media and Patti Smith

Fantastic video from The Whipping Man, a Harold Green Jewish Theatre production in association with Obsidian Theatre – director Philip Akin. At the bottom of the post for your viewing pleasure.

An excellent article from the National Post on artist earnings, specifically indie musicians, and I agree with a friend who said it was possibly one of the best written articles on a stats report she’d seen.

Mercury is in retrograde til the 17th. Whether you believe in that stuff or not, enough people bring it up and blame it to have an effect.   Mercury is the planet of communication in all forms.  This includes verbal, email, phones, internet, written, signing papers and electronics.  It can also affect mechanical issues such as your computer or your car.  In retrogrades, communications are affected negatively. It was in retrograde through Pisces.

Mercury in retrograde with Pisces. Planet of Communications (also my ruling planet) in retrograde with the sign for artistic endeavours. I spent yesterday afternoon juggling six interviews with three newspapers with four actors on two shows. It all worked out in the end.  Wanna dance, Mercury?


Speaking of media – great little post from Seth Godin on Understanding Local Media

Tonight I’m off to the Patti Smith exhibit at the AGO .
There’s a talk after, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s obviously been a delightfully theatre-centric few weeks, but sometimes you need other art to sustain you, perk you up and juice up your creativity from another angle. It’s like a dill pickle after days of bread.


January 30, 2013

Who Are Your A Clients?

Be advised that I am writing this post on my new to me iPad. Bear with me.

Got a tweet yesterday from a workshop participant who was at B(art)er a couple of weeks ago, saying that my advice on A, B, C, and D had proved invaluable to her.

And I will confess that although I remembered her, and our chat about her business, and that she was lovely and smart, I hadn’t the faintest idea what I’d told her about ABCD. Was it an acronym? Always Be Careful, Darnit? A Brave Cowboy Doesn’t – what?

They always say to sleep on it. So I did.

Your clients! A B C D!

Something we learned about in entrepreneuse school was not just who are the top type of clients you want to work with – but who don’t you want to work with?

(I suppose this is aimed primarily at my freelancers audience, but I think it works for anyone who deals with customers and clients on a regular basis.)

So what is an A client? I think it depends on you. (item: I have no C and D clients. You learn. In fact I learned before I left Enrepreneuse school.)

You need to think not just about what you want from you client, but what your client expects from you. You need to ask yourself some questions from the very basic including how quickly did the contract sig get turned around and how fast the deposit cheque came through.

(A client? In face meeting for both of you to sign and cheque is in hand.)

Ask yourself a few other questions. How far in advance did they request your services?again, these are general questions, not necessarily hard and fast rules. If the above doesn’T happen, it doesn’t make them a bad client. Each scenario is different.

Things I look for in an A or B client: a good project, one I like, one I’ve been contacted early enough to give attention to. Enthusiasm, an idea that we are working as a team on your project – I am the marketer. It is your company, I like the fact that we get to work together. It’s great when we’re on the same response time schedule. I love it when we’re expending the same level of energy and it is a true give and take. And I really love when we both respect that we are each good at what we do, and that our work complements each other in the name of art.

In other words, you need to think about why you’re doing this for a living, there are plenty of jobs you could get where you could be unhappy. At least you’d have dental. No point in being unhappy working for yourself.

My lovely and talented intern Lisa will be guest blogging on and off the next couple of months about her experiences in the field. Be nice to her, she’s great.

In the next few days, I’ll be adding a new page to the site called Current Clients, so you and I can see just what i’m working on with who and when. Think of it as an internal list made external – with press releases and YouTube links. Will keep you posted as to when it goes up. I like the idea of a current/future client page, not just a past client page.

All right. This has been my first iPad WordPress post. I am still on the iFence. It has taken me an hour as i am figuring out the multiple keyboards and i don’t quite know how to link or bold things yet. I will learn, you will follow my adventures. See you soon!

January 24, 2013

A Room Full of Participants

Last night was the second night of the Paper Nickels CD release party.  Packed to the rafters again.  I was looking around the room and realized that though there were a tons of different faces than the night before – a lot of them were the same. People had come back to hear the same band two nights in a row (not the same songs, mind you, but you see my point.)

We talk about patrons and ticket buyers and audiences and purchasers and engagement. And sure all those people were in the room, everyone had one or more of those labels on them, but there seemed to be something more than an audience and engagement. These folks were actively participating. They knew songs, they knew the songwriters, they shouted requests, they laughed and applauded, they talked about the music, the band members, the band. They all had a clearly vested interest in being there. And I don’t know that any of those interests were exactly the same, but again you see my point.

Participating is different. It’s like you’ve got hand in the game. Participants don’t ask friends if they are going to something, they ask friends when they are going to something.  It’s not should we go, it’s we’ve got to go.

I’m not saying participants always buy in advance, I myself am the queen of advance purchase and still didn’t buy my ticket til the morning of.  But I knew I was going. I felt like I was already part of something bigger than “let’s go see a band/a play/a whatever” – I wanted to be present for something that was already part of my life.

How are you getting folks to participate in your work?

Little bit of Corin magic that I think most folks who read this will smile at and nod in agreement. It’s still cold out there – this should warm you up.

January 21, 2013

Documenting your Show

A2S82pAWfeifFjPUGFxqe6cq9YITVTJDZZDOuQMq1DQSpent yesterday talking about live music and new venues for it and art and film and pixels with one great group, then spent more time talking with another amazing group of artists from Zed.To  about the business of their art. Excellent Sunday.

You might remember in December I wrote an article for the Charlebois Post on Emerging Companies and Marketing (it’s linked there in case you haven’t read it yet).

It’s January and the incomparable Dahlia Katz has written an excellent article on theatre photography. Read it – it’s brilliant and true and teaches you things you might not know, and confirms others you do. She knows of what she speaks , in fact she won Charpo-Toronto’s Photo of the Year 2012. Her closing line is unbelievably true and sometimes something we can sometimes forget in the whirlwind of putting together live performance:

Theatre is an ephemeral thing.  Take the time and the money to memorialize it with dignity, sophistication and professionalism.

Go read.

Tomorrow I’m heading to the Tranzac for the Paper Nickels CD Release party. I cannot wait – I’ve talked numerous times about Corin Raymond and the Canadian Tire Money Caper and it’s coming to fruition. More on that later. ETA – this is what I’m talking about:



January 18, 2013

Dogs and Mailmen, Grandma and The Bank

Short post to think on today.

I don’t know where I read this, but it stuck with me. Anyone knows where it’s from, let me know so I can properly credit.

cat-mailman-dogsThe mailman comes. The dog barks every time.

“I don’t understand! The mailman comes all the time! You’d think the dog would be used to it!”

You can spend a lot of time analyzing this, and thinking about how really, the mailman doesn’t come every day, and when he does, it’s not always at the same time, so the dog can’t get used to the schedule and all that. Or you can flip it for the probably more meaningful reason.
“The dog barks every time the mailman comes!”
Flip it.
“Every time the dog barks, the mailman goes away.”


Below from The Power of Why, which is a GREAT book you should have a look through. To paraphrase:

“What is the best way to get older people to do business at our bank?”

You can think about perks like cookies, and seniors’ day. Or you can flip it to think of why they aren’t coming, and flip it further to think of the WORST way to get them to use your bank.

“What is the WORST way?”
“ATM’s in sketchy alleyways! Only be open at night! Tiny fonts!”

– the list is endless. Now take those worsts, find their opposites, and there you go.

Have a great weekend!

January 15, 2013

Why This Holiday Card is Awesome

Checked the mail late last week at my former office digs – item, I am no longer at the Centre for Social Innovation, so please wipe that mailing list from your records. And there was a card from Randal at 12thirteen design. I got to work with Randal when he did the design work for Awake rounds one and two and I really love what he does (see Why This Poster is Awesome).

Here it is when you first take it out of the envelope.


You can already see where this is going. And here it is after you follow the instructions:


Love it. Why is this holiday card awesome?

Because it is a flashback to something many are familiar with – the MAD Magazine fold in. People immediately know what to do based on a previous experience, but one they haven’t had in a while, probably. Everyone I showed it to immediately started smiling, read it carefully, followed the directions and continued smiling or started to laugh.

Let’s take the awesome a step farther. Think about it. How many non-colleagues (or even colleagues) did you show a B2B holiday card to? They go up on the card wall or string or table and are kind of forgotten about – they are part of a greater display. But how many of your colleagues read it carefully, asked who it was from, did something with it, and made a positive comment about its creativity? I showed six people – three clients and three other building folks. They all did everything I said above.

When is the last time you truly interacted with a holiday card you got from a supplier? One that showcased their skills and what they can do for you?

Well played, Randal. You continue to impress.

December 7, 2012

Whatcha Gonna Do With All That Data?

imagesShort post today. Man what a week. And am giving a deputation at budget committee Monday, so expect to hear about that too.


I keep seeing more and more analytics/SEO/data mining seminars, webinars, in person conversations being offered, there seems to be a big bump lately. I think it’s excellent. I think more arts orgs should be taking courses like these.

But I have one question – once you know, what are you going to do with this information? Once you’ve SEO’ed, then what?

Are you going to change your poster distribution areas?
Stop telemarketing?
Start holding talkbacks? Stop having talkbacks?
Post more (or less) on Facebook and Twitter? Add or subtract video?

Information is an incredible thing. I love stats. But having them is one thing, and using them is another. Collect your data. More importantly – use it to better market your art, please. If you’re not going to, then it was just an afternoon out of the office.

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