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Festivals Toolkit: Marketing: Promotional Material

Whilst you will want to be thinking about a range of potential marketing tools – email, text messaging, your website – printed publicity can still be an effective way of getting your message into the hands of your key target audiences.

In saying this, printed publicity can be a very expensive way of spending your budget, especially if it never leaves your office/home – and all of us have done this more than once i.e. been too optimistic about distribution.

You also need to recognise that having an event and finding the best words and images to represent it are not easy – again all of us have produced print that undersold our events. So, here are a few tips to consider as you plan for your next leaflet, flyer, poster, advert, a piece of merchandise or press release.

Marketing mnemonics to remember

AIDA – Attract, Interest, Desire, Action, the combination of the text and images should arouse a desire to attend and a ‘call to action’ which means it must clearly state where and when the event is being held and how tickets can be purchased. Print that does not provide this is failing to do what you need it to do. Attract potential customers and get them to purchase/commit in advance.

KISS – Keep it simple, stupid. Here ‘ stupid’ refers to the person writing the copy NOT the person reading it. Good copy focuses on benefits more than features i.e. how someone may feel/respond to an arts event rather than the pedigree of the artist – information about an artist’s pedigree tends to mean more to people who already know about the artist and is of less value when trying to reach people to whom the artist is less familiar. This is not easy to do and for this reason alone you need to allow adequate time to get your copy as sharp and interesting as you can make it.

USP – Unique Selling Proposition or Point, you need to know what this is for your event/festival and ensure that these qualities are prominent in your text/images

Throughout this toolkit, the issue of planning will have been highlighted as critical to success and print production requires similar attention.  A basic critical path analysis will reveal that the cycle of idea to event involves at least seven discrete processes/stages in terms of print production alone:

  • Writing copy
  • Obtaining photos/images and any clearances
  • Commissioning/working with a designer
  • Working with a printer
  • Distribution
  • Finance – budgeting and paying for all the above
  • Evaluation – finding out if your print did what you wanted it to do

A first step in this process is to identify who will be responsible for each of the above, the time required for each stage, the dependency of one stage for starting/completing another and what budget you have for each stage.

Whilst a committee/board is rarely responsible for producing print such a group should have an overview of the process especially issues concerned with budget and evaluation. And remember that it is the committee/board that will be approached should things go wrong i.e. misuse of other people’s work so ensure that all necessary clearances are obtained.

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