I was recently asked to present at the Search Marketing Workshop to talk about how a 360 view on your marketing mix can impact social media and vice versa. What I mean by a "360 view" is 1) incorporating old school + new school ideas and 2) getting involved in your brand. I'm not implying that I'm sharing revolutionary ideas, but I can offer a unique perspective on a marketing mix based on my experience at Performance Network. My goal is to share this knowledge with other marketers and help you draw inspiration from your company to influence your message!
Old School vs. New School / Old School + New School
The world of marketing is in a so-called "transition phase" with old and new media, but some marketers are not adhering to the actual TRANSITION. I hear questions such as, "Is direct mail worth the time and money?", "Does Facebook generate anything for our business?", "Should I really be concerned with mobile?", or "Should I really be concerned about sending letters?". The answer is, yes. Gone are the days when organizations should argue if they should even have a social media presence. Americans use social media more than they exercise. YET sometimes the message doesn't cut through the interweb noise until consumers can physically hold a piece of your product's message. In the non-profit theatre industry arts marketers (including myself) may get antsy about writing a large check toward a mailing when social media can be used completely free of cost (sort of), but we can lower that possibility of our audience ignoring our message by strategically targeting those who are receiving the mail piece. (If you are not targeting your mailings, then yeah, you're not going to see results.) The next most important step is to make sure your social media and online presence are integrated on your materials (postcards, posters, playbills, etc.). How do you highlight your social media in other mediums? Put your official #hashtags on postcards, place the Facebook logo on a poster so audiences are aware of you the next time they're social mediaizing, bring e-mail newsletter sign up sheets to outside events, and do not forget to put ALL of your social media information onto your website. Email me if you want more tips! Why highlight social media on your other materials? Because we are in a transitional phase and you want to show everyone you have a presence on their favorite channels. (There is also a funky myth that older generations only want old media. FALSE. Senior citizens use social media too, people!) No more old school vs. new school. Combine their powers and engagement will happen.
2) Get Involved with Your Brand
3) Gather Around the Fire...
...because it's story time! My favorite example of all of these elements coming together is when the Fireside New Play Festival at Performance Network Theatre had its highest attendance in July, 2013. Performance Network is a member of the National New Play Network and strives to produce never before seen works by new playwrights on a regular basis. Three times a year we host the Fireside New Play Festival in which we present four new plays in four days and tickets are Pay-What-You-Can. This is an engaging, challenging, and inspiring program that garners much attention with our audiences, but never resulted in attendance. This was bothering me on an emotional level. I LOVE FIRESIDE. It's actually the first time I got involved at Performance Network when I performed in a staged reading of Joseph Zettelmaier's "Blackwater Ballad". By getting involved in my brand on this sort of level, I had a true desire to boost this program. Even so, we couldn't figure out WHAT we were doing wrong! We sent out press releases, pumped out social media posts, included event info in weekly emails, but we were not reaching the attendance we were certain this program deserved. SO we decided to combine old school and new school media by sending out a postcard. A simple 8.5 x 5.5 postcard printed in-house on cardstock that included the official #PlaysOnFire hashtag to a highly targeted, small list of Ann Arbor residents. THIS WAS OUR HIGHEST ATTENDED FIRESIDE FESTIVAL OF ALL TIME! We packed the house! We had students, seniors, donors, and subscribers that responded to the mailing! This, I believe, is a testimony to the power of unity with all aspects of your marketing mix. We had basically "tapped out" our digital presence for the Fireside New Play Festival and integrated it into another medium...and it worked beautifully!
In conclusion, listen to your voice and combine it with other powerful voices (such as postcards or ideas of other departments!) and you will end up with a successful marketing mix that is totally you and totally great for your brand!