Image courtesty of Nick Keenan Artketing Inc.
When it comes to getting the brand and the message out to the people, there is no industry that has such a perfect inversely proportional equation of cash<creativity as the Independent Stage. How can we plug this equation into our marketing operations to tip this see-saw back the other way a little?
Obviously, I spend a fair bit of time among the internets, and it’s no secret that I hold the firm belief that Stage has to cozy up to the Web more and more as on-line resources continue their transition from ‘trend’ to ‘new media’ to ‘media’. So I’m always scanning like a vulture for fun and creative uses of the medium to sell live performance. Here’s a few recent samples:
- I caught a tweet from Chicago’s Urban Theater today that pointed me to a new posting on their Vimeo page. It’s a quick clip of their Artistic Director inviting his community to come out and see their new show, Broken Thread. The production quality of the clip could be better, but it offers a direct connection to the AD himself, tells you it’s a low-cost affair and how to buy tickets. And if you follow the link to their web site, there’s more video all over it, including an interview with the playwright of the show. Simple and effective, and personal. Actually, that sounds a little familiar…
- Another Twitter-related hit: a few weeks ago I casually answered a theatre trivia question tweeted by New York’s Playhouse 21, and within minutes they sent me back a congratulatory tweet asking me where they could send the prize. At this point I know nothing about this company (I’ll follow anybody on Twitter that claims theatre), nor that they were even offering prizes for trivia tweets. I just tripped over the question and happened to know the answer. But I sent them my address anyway and pretty much put it out of my mind. Until a week later when a package arrived from West 19th Street in NYC containing my swag: A personal letter from the company’s founder and a packaged DVD of one of their productions. How cool is that? And remarkably pro-active, the letter contained information about their upcoming projects, their budget requirements and a sponsorship request. Brassy. I don’t have any money to give them, but I can sure plug them to my online community (that’s y’all). This is a great lesson: you never know who is going to be responsible for bringing in money, so target your best-bet demo and scattershot your Social Media marketing. (Incidentally, Playhouse 21 also has one of the most unique mandates I’ve ever heard of: they adapt classic “Golden Age” television from the ’50s into theatre. Now that’s niche.)
- This one I’m deeply in love with: New York’s MCC Theatre (yuh-huh, also on the Twitter) holds on-line auctions for memorabilia from their plays once they’re over. Right now the available items seem to be signed playbills and music and lyrics, which is cool, but as someone who has left some plays wishing I could get actions figures of the characters and playsets for those action figures, I’m thinking: how about auctioning off redundant props or costumes or set-dec after the run, and making sure everyone in the audience knows about it? I may be in the minority here, but I flip out when I see a merch table outside a theatre. Cater to nerds like me, I’ll make it worth your while.
How about you guys? Anybody seen any kick-ass Creative Marketing Solutions lately that they’d care to share?