Posts tagged ‘theatre marketing’

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.

January 7, 2013

A Team Player? Depends on The Position, Depends on The Team

I’ve been thinking a lot about teams lately, mostly because I am part of many different ones, and of course seeing Sudden Death at Next Stage last week. Background on that – it’s about  hockey legend John “Rambo” Kordic and his last night. From the Hockey Hall of Fame website: “A tough right-winger who could score more than most people realized, John Kordic was relegated to the role of an enforcer in the NHL. He spent parts of seven years in the NHL with four different teams.”
Enforcer is an unofficial role in ice hockey. The term is sometimes used synonymously with “fighter”, “tough guy”, or “goon”. An enforcer’s job is to deter and respond to dirty or violent play by the opposition. When such play occurs, the enforcer is expected to respond aggressively, by fighting or checking the offender. Enforcers are expected to react particularly harshly to violence against star players or goalies. (wikipedia)

Anyway, that’s the background of my “team player” headspace. That’s who he was on his team. I don’t know if he liked it, I know he was good at it, I don’t know if he was happy doing it. But that’s the kind of thing I wonder about.

Who are you on your team? Excellent question to ask. I think an even better question is “what team is it, and how does that team define “team player”? The definition seems to hit either end of the spectrum – and I found a couple of interesting results.
Definition one: a team player is someone who follows the rules and never questions authority.  To one leader, it is a sign of respect if his followers obey him.  They are truly part of the “team” when they comply with the direction he has set for it.  The organization rewards team players who do not disrupt the set flow of the organizational structure the leader has established for the organization, and punishes those who fail to play as a part of the “team”.
Definition two: The leader expects that each person on the team will play a part in helping the organization set goals and see those goals become reality.  The leader is offended when someone on the team refuses to bring his or her own original ideas for the entire organization to the table for discussion or feels his or her input is not welcome. If one member on the team struggles, it affects the entire team and it becomes the entire team’s responsibility to help them.  The leader believes that each team has a leader, who must make final decisions and set ultimate vision for the organization, but  welcomes challenge to my authority if done with the intent of helping the organization succeed.  Those rewarded most with this definition are those who work hardest to help the entire organization, as well as their personal area of responsibility, achieve its goals.

I’ve been a member of both types of teams. As you can imagine, the first was not the best place for me, so much that I actually took the hackneyed phrase “is a team player” off my resume. Because based on definition one – I wasn’t a team player, I questioned, I wondered, I asked why a heck of a lot. With better answers, I would have been an excellent team player in definition one.  I realized then that my position on a team is a combination of “wonderer” and “idea pusher” (a colleague called me that a few weeks ago, and suggested I put it on my business cards. Am thinking about it). And if I can’t play that position on a team, or a variation of such, it’s probably not the right team for me.

Some 2013 thinking – what kind of team player are you? What kind of teams do you run? And how do all your players fit into it? I’m not saying definition one or two is the better one, I know which is better for me personally.  How about you? Have you found your team?

Next Stage Festival is HOPPING, great reviews for Awake as well as other shows and things have already started selling out.  Time to shake off the holidays, get a ticket and keep that resolution of “see more theatre”.

January 6, 2013

Sunday Roundup January 6th

First week of 2013 nearly complete and it’s been a good one – what went on?

2012 Round-up Part Three – Client Highlights

It’s a New Year! CharPR Prizes, Next Stage Festival and more!


It’s an Admin Kind of Day

Next Stage Festival is going incredibly well (as always) – whoever said nobody goes to theatre in January was sorely mistaken. Prove them wrong – go see something

Everyone gets back to work in earnest on Monday, so I’ve got some work to do including a script to read, trading cards to sort (more on that later) and some press releases to prep.  And blog posts to think about. Enjoy whatever you do with your lightly snowy Sunday!
November 15, 2012

A Theatre Post

Apparently there are nine plays opening in Toronto this week. Don’t even tell me you’re bored with nothing to do.

In Facebook posted news – Sue Edworthy Arts Planning now has an intern. Her name is LeeAnne and she’s smart as a whip, quiet but funny and talks to the computer as much as I do. At one point today it sounded like we were having a conversation. We were not.

She’s great. Clients o’ mine? Expect to meet and hear from her on various stuff. Be nice.


whenever I see something that Soheil Parsa has worked on it makes me want to go home and do a whole bunch of research on either the play, the playwright or the era it’s set in. Congrats to cast and crew on opening The Lesson – I really liked it. I also think it would make an excellent episode of Criminal Minds. Go see.

Tonight I’m off to see In Adagio by Art&Lies Productions, did some social media and PR for them and I’m anxious to see the show. And there’s a talkback tonight. Go see this too.

Arts Day at the City and the release of the TAPA stats report happened Tuesday, for quick info bites you can search #artsdayTO on Twitter, or head to the TAPA website for press releases and downloads of the report.

And finally – is this perhaps the way to end the last minute ticket buying syndrome we’re all faced with? Coming soon to a theatre near you: Demand-based ticket pricing


November 12, 2012

They Don’t Need You

really good post in Mission Paradox the other day Getting Along Fine Without You.

Last night my day job did an arts performance.  Since the venue only holds 250 people and a lot more people than that read this blog it’s very probable that you missed the show.  

How do you feel about that?

Do you feel like you missed out?

Probably not.  That’s because you are probably ok with whatever you did last night.  Maybe you watched TV, maybe you read a book, maybe you got drunk and did lines of cocaine.  Whatever you did, you were ok with it.

What’s my point?  The point is that you got along fine without what the art I offered.

That new audience you’re looking for?  The younger one?  The more racially diverse one?  The one with more (or less) money?  The one from the other part of town?

They are doing fine without you.

Day at the City is tomorrow, we shall descend on City Hall to meet with various City Councillors to stress the importance of the arts in a city that wants to be great. You can follow #artsdayTO on twitter to tag along for the journey. It’s also the release of the TAPA Stats report which will let you know just what the state of the  arts is in Toronto.

November 2, 2012

Who Has the Keys to the Customers?

(not a fan of the word customer, but here it’s a catchall for followers, fans, audience, patrons, donors etc)

When someone leaves an organization, we make sure they hand over a lot of things. Front door keys, security fobs, file cabinet keys, you get the picture. because those keys are the access to our work, our files, our photos you name it.

Don’t forget another important set of keys: your social media passwords.

You can replace the contents of a filing cabinet. You can buy more tape and file folders, and you probably should buy a new first aid kit anyway, because that thing is nasty, and all the Advil is long gone anyway.

Social media for an organization is usually the domain of someone younger, someone a bit lower on the totem pole. Those are the very folks whose internships end, the 3 year funding ends or they get a better offer. And they’re gone. Along with the password, the email the social media account was created under, the password hints, etc.  A full ring of social media keys.

Unless you’ve gotten those keys back, you’re looking at a locked file cabinet (online, of course) that contains your 3487 fans, your 976 followers, 1247 tweets and possibly a heck of a lot of links that nobody bookmarked because “it’s all on the Facebook page“. It also contains the name you really wanted from the page (because “Company” is now taken, and you don’t want “Company123”), relationships you started with those folks online – you name it. A lot of time an energy went into those accounts, a lot of tone of voice and tweets and retweets  – a lot. Now it’s gone.

So! the day the Facebook page or other social media account gets set up – get the following:

– the email address used to set up the account
– the user name
– the password

And put them in a safe place.  And may I suggest that each year, when we spring ahead, fall back, and change the smoke detector batteries, we also get an update on all those passwords?

September 19, 2012

Where have you BEEN this week?

I asked someone that question yesterday and they gently reminded me it was only Tuesday. It feels farther along and I’m glad it’s not.

HOMEbody opens tomorrow night. You should get a ticket.

Proud previews tomorrow night.  You should get a ticket.

I saw Hiding Words (from you) last week. It’s beautiful. You should see that too.

What have I been doing all week? I think this article from Live With Culture sums it up nicely. I’m off to do the stuff I say I do.

August 15, 2012

A Post, a Clarification, An Addition


Post on Mission Paradox this week: Don’t Spin Yourself. Two sentences that struck me: To effectively market what you have, you must be able to see it clearly, and If I see the problems they I can create marketing that helps to deal with the problems.

And I was thinking maybe this post was a bit over-simplified – then again I come from the school of defensive pessimism,* so I tend to do this without even thinking about it – I got an email from the author:

Hi Sue

I want to expand on a blog post I wrote titled “Don’t Spin Yourself“.

There is a link between being able to see your art clearly and effective marketing.  If you can understand why people may come to your art exhibition AND why they may not come you can see some pretty dramatic improvements in your outcomes.

The way I make sure that I’m seeing art clearly is by using the pro/con approach.  Whenever I start the marketing process for art I create a list of pros and cons for each production.  For example, here is a pro/con list I created for a show being produced at my day job, August Wilson’s Jitney.


–  Strong history of producing August Wilson productions
–  Good relationship with target audiences, i.e. students, people of color, etc.
–  Good relationship with community partners, i.e. the Dusable Museum, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, etc.


–  The Chicago theatre scene is crowded in the month of September (when Jitney opens) may be difficult to get press attention
–  The bulk of the marketing for the show will take place in late August, a time when it is difficult to get our potential audience to pay attention because they are still in “summer” mode.
–  Top end ticket price is $65.  Is this too much for our target audience?
–  While August Wilson is popular, Jitney is one of his lesser known pieces.  It’s one of his few productions to NOT make it to Broadway.  Will we need to work harder to introduce this work to the public?

Please note that I try to make the list as specific as possible and that I try to include EVERYTHING that may hurt or help the art.  I think about the price, I think about the time of year the art is being produced, etc.

You should also notice that I list cons that I’m not even able to change.  I can’t change the time of year the show is being produced.  That decision is out my hands.  All I can do is make the best of it.

This pro/con list can help me (and you) figure out how to market the art.  For example, if I think it will be difficult to get press attention I may factor that into the revenue expectations for the show.  I may also increase the advertising budget to offset the lack of press attention.

If price is an issue, I may need to work on a limited time sale offer on tickets. You get the idea.

This pro/con list is a surprisingly simple and effective tool for great arts marketing.  Individual artists can do it, small arts organizations can do it, large organizations can do it.

Put your list together and see if it helps you make better marketing decision.

Great initial post, fabulous expansion on it. Love it. Probably because that’s pretty much how I work – I try to look for every possible angle to market to those who will come, lure in those who might come with the right assistance or incentive, and once I’ve determined who’s not coming no matter what – stop worrying about them.

I might at some out lay out a current marketing plan here that I’m working on. Maybe. Anyway – go and make your list!

*Oh stop judging. People like me are the reason the Worst Case Scenario Handbook exists. So next time you need to wrestle free of an alligator, don’t come crying to me.

(You punch it in the nose).

August 3, 2012

creating social media believers and a literary triathalon

Friday of the August long weekend!

An article for you to read on how to convince the AD/ED/GM etc that social media does work.

Two articles from quite different blogs  – Seth’s Blog and Mission Paradox – that seemingly agree on the same thing – that unanimous is not an option and the devil doesn’t need advocates. Well timed.

And if case you’re feeling literary-inspired this weekend – you have til Monday to compete in the CBC Canada Writes literary triathalon, which I think is very cool – write a poem, a short story and creative non-fic – all by Monday!

In case you are not feeling the literary groove – here is a picture of a shark and a blowfish to colour. Either way, have a darn good weekend! I myself am spending some of it figuring out what I’m going to see at Summerworks this year.

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