Ruddigore Marketing, 2003-2004

The Durham Savoyards, Ltd.

Appendix A

Example Marketing Plan

For purpose of illustration only.
The final plan will be developed jointly by the Publicity Chair and the Producers.

  • Assumption #1: Publicity budget=$10,000, with a total production budget=$50,300.
    Based on a non-publicity budget of $40,300 ($40,300+$10,000=$53,000).
    If the non-publicity budget was $8,000 higher ($48,300) then the publicity budget could be reasonably set at $12,000 (total budget = $60,300=$48,300+$12,000).
  • Assumption #2: The marketing plan should take advantage of certain "spin" elements:
    • The subtitle of this year's show -- "The Witch's Curse" -- is potentially much more "sell-able" than the obscure and stuffy-sounding main title, "Ruddigore". We should emphasize the former, and downplay the latter.
    • Our group's name -- The Savoyards -- is meaningful to G&S fans, but to others it is arcane, difficult to pronounce, and difficult to remember. It would be to our benefit to use a more descriptive, and memorable, name for our performing group.
    • We should do a better job of proclaiming our strengths -- those things that separate us from the smaller-scale local performing groups. Our orchestra is one of those strengths, and should be included in our publicity. One way to do that is give the orchestra a name and include it in the billing.
    • This prototype advertising flyer is an illustration of how these points could be presented. The graphics are place-holders, to be replaced by custom-designed graphics when they are available.

Marketing Plan Outline

  1. Continue to do as much of the relatively inexpensive, if not easy, stuff for which we can find volunteers with good organizational skills
    1. Use community calendars in local newspapers
      1. Cost: near zero
      2. Volunteer skills: must be able to develop and adhere to a publication calendar
    2. Make a strong marketing effort to retirement communities
      1. Budget: $100 for copying and mailing
      2. Volunteer task: work with retirement community activity directors
    3. Work with local performing groups to place advertising flyers in their programs. Offering reciprocal advertising in our program is probably not attractive because we have only one performance run and it's late in the season. Many groups (Duke groups in particular) will stuff their programs - for free - if we provide the flyers.
      1. Two Duke events already on schedule; others could be arranged
      2. Budget: $100 for copying
      3. Volunteer tasks: organization; contact group directors and arrange calendars
    4. Work with schools.
      1. Recommendation: Punt - Effort to be determined by volunteer. Direct mail is probably not worth the trouble and expense. Home schools may be more approachable, but will require significant effort.
      2. Budget: $0
  2. Carolina Theatre web site must offer ticket sales: Tickets must be available for online purchase as soon as possible, especially if box office hours continue to be erratic.
  3. Poster and Flyer
    1. Decouple "poster" from "flyer"
    2. Produce a small number of full-color eye-catching posters
      1. $3.00 each at Kinko's
      2. Sell as souvenirs to cast & crew at cost upon request
      3. Budget: $100
      4. Volunteer task: Graphic design and layout artists
  4. Photography and Graphics
    1. Use graphic for consistent look in program inserts and display advertising
      1. Budget: $50 (copying)
      2. Volunteer task: Graphic design and layout artists
    2. Use photographs for newspaper features and theater lobby displays
      1. Most work is digital these days
      2. Budget: $50 (developing and prints)
      3. Volunteer tasks: Good eye, good camera
  5. Direct mail -- expensive but effective:
    1. Flyer: Stop making expensive flyers. Make postcards instead (strategy dependent on item II, above)
      1. Ticket order form unnecessary if online and telephone purchase is available
      2. Postcards are cheaper to produce
    2. Postcards
      1. Target mailing: 8,000 pieces
      2. Budget: $1,730
    3. Mailing lists and labels - enhance base mailing list of 5,000 with 3,000 from additional sources
      1. Use mailing labels from Duke and DAC performance groups
      2. Cost: mostly free or covered by mailing and miscellaneous budgets
      3. Volunteer tasks:
        1. Solicit other groups for a set of mailing labels or use of their database
        2. Collate labels from different sources and remove duplicates
  6. Paid print advertising -- expensive but effective:
    1. Advertise sing-through and auditions as well as production
    2. Use main-stream publications
      1. Herald-Sun
      2. News & Observer
      3. Independent Weekly
    3. Budget: $5,570
  7. Radio and other media -- expensive but effective:
    1. WUNC-FM (NPR, news and talk)
      1. Anecdotal feedback from past years has been positive
      2. Many listeners switched to WCPE and WNCU when WUNC dropped its music format
      3. Budget: $1,000 (expected contract cost increase)
    2. WCPE-FM (classical)
      1. Budget: $500
    3. WNCU-FM (NPR, jazz)
      1. Budget: $500
    4. Local web sites that offer free advertising and/or calendar listings
      1. www.cvnc.org
      2. CitySearch
      3. Volunteer task: Investigate, contact and monitor web sites (good internet skills needed)
      4. Budget: $0 (use free services only)
  8. Audience Survey (Extremely important)
    1. Distribute survey in theatre lobby
      1. Collect surveys before show time
      2. Couple with a raffle as an incentive (e.g. $20 Wellspring gift certificate)
      3. Announce winner just before curtain; prize pickup at intermission
    2. Keep it simple - one multiple-choice question, if possible, such as:
      • "How did you learn about this production? (List all that apply):
        1. Know someone in the cast or crew
        2. Other word of mouth (family, friend, coworker)
        3. Saw an advertisement in
          1. Another group's program
          2. The Durham Herald Sun
          3. The Raleigh News & Observer
          4. The Independent Weekly
        4. Heard a radio announcement
          1. WUNC-FM (NPR)
          2. WCPE-FM (classical)
          3. WNCU-FM (NPR, jazz)
        5. Community calendar in the newspaper
        6. Received something in the mail
        7. Saw a posting on the Internet (email or web site)
    3. Budget: $200 (prizes, raffle tickets)
    4. Volunteer skills:
      1. Seek out participants before performances
      2. Distribute and manage two-part raffle tickets in exchange for completed survey
      3. Supervise prize drawing and distribution
      4. Design survey. Collect, collate, and analyze survey results.

Caveats and alternate strategies

  • Direct mail is generally effective, but our current mailing list is only about 5,000 addresses. The above assumes that we can find an additional 3,000 addresses from other organizations. If there is an opportunity for a larger mailing, especially to targeted audiences, then it may be desirable to shift budget from other areas, such as radio advertising.
  • The radio advertising budget items for WCPE and WNCU are arbitrary "plug" numbers. These venues are thought to be expensive, so there may not be sufficient funds to purchase a meaningful amount of air time. If that is the case, then there should be sufficient flexibility to reinvest those budget funds into additional print or direct mail advertising.
  • The print publicity budget is based on running the same number of ads as last year, but with each ad being larger (no smaller than 10 column inches). It also assumes a 3% price increase. The Hearald-Sun recently announced a new pricing scheme with deep discounts for repeated runs of the same ad in a given week. This bears further investigation and may merit another shift in budget initiatives.

Appendix B: Example Marketing Budget Summary

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