Good marketing is a more strategic activity that will enable you to communicate with people who are interested in what you are doing, with a view to building a long term relationship with them. Marketing is a two way process which means you listen to your audience as well as try to influence them to come to your event. Developing a closer relationship with your customers should help to get more people to be enthused by your festival activity. This will allow them to feel confident in your festival activity and take part again and again.
Festivals need audiences, and ideally new audiences, in order to satisfy their artistic, social and financial objectives and targets. If you want more people to take part in your festival, then the evidence from the sector is that you need to be systematic, methodical and clear in your objectives – you need to develop a marketing plan. Your marketing plan needs to be central to what you do and a key part of your overall business planning.
Planned promotional activity over a period of time (weeks, months or years) is usually called a marketing campaign. Marketing campaigns need to have an objective, something that you are trying to achieve through spending time and money on the marketing activity. As with your strategic planning your objectives should be SMART (strategic, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-limited). Common examples of marketing campaigns include their use in creating awareness, generating a response (i.e. getting people to come to a performance), getting new members to sign up or take part, attracting donations/patrons, recruiting new volunteers or changing how people think about your organisation.
Further information: (where there is no link the information can be found in the Related Document section of this page)
Planning a Marketing Campaign from Tourism North East
Introduction to ‘Thinking Big!' by Stephen Cashman
A Short Guide to Marketing from South West Arts Marketing
Strategic Marketing Planning from South West Arts Marketing
A Practical Guide to Working with Arts Ambassadors from Arts Council England
Marketing Audit from Journal of Arts Marketing
Membership and Friends Schemes from Journal of Arts Marketing
Pricing: Theory and Practice from Journal of Arts Marketing
Audiences London - guide to audience research at Festivals and outdoor events
The following documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)
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