Summer is now approaching, but before it really hits, why not take a little time to do a spot of Spring cleaning…
In other words remove those inactive addresses from your mailing lists (both postal and email). Do you have a number of addresses that don’t respond, get returned, or bounce? Cull them. Just like you remove the cobwebs from the recesses of your house, get rid of those addresses and contacts that are clogging up your mailing lists. Not only does this cut down on the cost of large scale postal mail outs, it will increase send times and improve your marketing impact.
Get out the sandals
Before you delete all your non-responders (or dormant audiences), make an effort to revive them. Reactivation of existing audiences is a far more effective and cheaper way of developing your audiences then looking for new customers. Consider setting yourself a cut off point for dormant attenders – all people who have not attended an event in 2 years perhaps, contact them with an incentive or a simple ‘Hello’ to remind them you are still there. Remember people you define as dormant attenders or non-attenders might not consider themselves the same way – so don’t write them off straight away.
Resolve to look good for summer
Have a look at how you operate your marketing internally. Jot down the total process step-by-step on some Post-it-notes and take a good look at how streamlined your strategies and processes actually are. You might be able to identify steps in the process you could combine, reduce, or in some cases eliminate. Consider efficiency and effectiveness of each of your marketing processes, and resolve to shape up and look good for the coming summer.
Put your winter things away
As the seasons change, so too might your audience’s needs. When ever you are marketing you should consider how the content and offerings you send out in the spring should shift from those sent in the winter. With spring brings tourists so you might want to consider how you can tap into potential summer audiences early on. With longer nights and clearer skies, traveling and attending later evening performances might have more of an appeal for certain audience members.
Open the windows to let fresh air in
It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of your organization and lose sight of the bigger picture. So use the spring lull to invite everyone in your organization, or if it is just you invite a close friend or peer, to evaluate your marketing. Take some time out to get a fresh perspective, you can only improve from here.
Unless the Spring is your most busy or High season, then this time of year could be an excellent opportunity to experiment with new ideas. Perhaps look at how you could target specific marketing or audience development initiatives to segmented members of your audience or social groups in your area you’ve not tapped into before. Or experiment with new online marketing tools such as social media or networks. You can only learn from doing, and experimenting in quieter times gives you the chance to hone those skills or initiatives for the future.
Check your spring clothes for moth holes
Audiences do become accustomed to seeing, hearing, and reading the same things over and over again, sometimes overlooking the most important information, and in all cases audiences have changing needs and changing interests. So why not take time out this spring to look back over the things you have learned and see how you can improve on your current marketing strategies, or at the very least if you can identify if anything has changed. Why not write up a list of all your marketing efforts in chronological order of their implementation, i.e. Brochures and Flyers (2008), Direct Marketing to the Local Community Heritage Group (2009), Facebook Page (2010) – how well did they work, what could be done to improve on each effort, what worked, what did not, and what had you forgotten you’d done that could be reinstated?
Let’s all take the time to reflect, take stock of our success and dare to experiment. By the time summer rolls around we’ll all be able to prioritise and pick the ideas which offer the greatest possibilities for increasing your audiences or customers, and of course improving their experiences of the Arts and Cultural sector in the Highlands and Islands.