PURCHASE DECISION TIME

It isn’t just the economy…or marketing clutter…or technology…or number of entertainment options…or price, that has reduced the time consumers take to make purchase decisions, it is all of the above.  This should weigh heavily in your mind as you are drawing up marketing plans for 2010. 

PRINT

Not dead…well certainly not for music anyway.  Fans still go to their local weekly publications for news about what’s happening around town.  The key is to change your messaging if it isn’t working.  Dailies have a place in the world too, but not for your advertising.  For those managers still making promoters buy full-page break-ads in the NY Times, please stop.  Monthlies, their deadlines are too far out for most of us.  How do you know what your messaging should and will be in 3-months?  

Social Media

You need to really commit yourself to this.  No sticking your toe in the water.  There needs to be a fulltime voice or voices online.  You can’t go half-ass or fans will either take over the conversation or you will end up talking to yourself.  If all of your social media efforts are self-serving, you will fail.

TV

If you are going to use television, start producing content the public will take notice of.  Remember what you are competing with. 

SEARCH

Search marketing such as Google and Yahoo! can be very effective.  Just don’t buy-in to your marketer’s claims of 300% ROIA click isn’t a purchase.  Measure appropriately. 

RADIO

Again, don’t listen to those holding the crystal balls.  In 2010, radio is still a very effective way to reach a targeted audience.  The problem is our radio spots are too cluttered.  With all the sponsors, pre-sale info, new album info, promoter info, “concert series” info, and website addresses, most of the time the message we want to send isn’t getting through.  Test for yourself.  Listen to a radio spot from a national advertiser and then one of ours…on the radio.  It will make you laugh. 

PUBLIC RELATIONS

PR is a lost art.  What happened to publicity stunts?  When did our talent get so precious that they can’t speak with journalists anymore?  If you can find a good publicist… like I did with Giant Noise, you should hang-on for dear life. 

YOUR WEBSITE

Keep it simple and easy to navigate.  Make sure you have as much information as possible on your site, as well as a place for visitors to contact you.  If guests don’t have a way to purchase tickets on your website, kill yourself. 

MAILING LISTS

Whether online or not…NO SPAMMING!  You must get permission to talk to someone.  No permission, stay away.

PRICING

This doesn’t always mean going lower.  As many promoters found over the past several years, the same ticket that wasn’t selling at a P2 price will sell at a P1 price.  At the same time, rewarding fans for purchasing early versus late would help.  By discounting tickets as you get closer to the show, you are training your customers to wait even longer than they already are to buy.  Flip the model.  Why not make tickets more expensive each day?  That would certainly get some attention if nothing else.

LOYALTY PROGRAMS

We haven’t really been able to get this right since the Columbia Records Club, but it doesn’t mean we should stop trying.  Take a look at what Harrah’s has done.  Hell, Amex makes you pay to be in their loyalty program if you think about it….and the same with many artists’ fan clubs.  The key is to know your customers.  What do they see as a value?  If you are doing some of the other things right, you will know.

OVER-DELIVER

Instead of looking for ways to cut your budget this year, search for places to over-deliver for guests at every touch-point possible.  As marketing guru Seth Godin recently wrote, “Radically overdeliver. Turns out that this is a cheap and effective marketing technique”. 

MAKE YOUR MESSAGE TIMELY

Anyone who has followed how automaker Hyundai and its sister Kia have used the economy in their messaging to sell hundreds of thousands of cars in the U.S. will understand this point.  Because Hyundai could move so quickly, they were able to roll-out their “Hyundai Assurance” program.  Perfect messaging that resonated with consumers. 

A PLAN IS NOT A GRID

A grid showing where and when you are buying adverting isn’t a marketing plan.  You must understand that each show is different.  That every act is a brand…so is every venue, promoter, and producer.  Measure your results. See what’s working and what’s not.  Although you do have a plan in place, it doesn’t mean it can’t be amended. 

Keep Trying…

Jim

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