Promoting an event

One thing I am doing a lot at the moment is helping promote live entertainment shows. Whilst doing this I am always trying to think of new and different ways to get attention on the product, without having to spend any money.

There are so many platforms and avenues available now to promote events and products, the problem is that the audience you are trying to get hold of are so spread out, that there aren’t many places to go to in order to reach a big audience. This means you need to be constantly active and active across a number of places.

Converting views to sales

When I first started promoting events in the early 2000s all I had to do was buy advertising in the local paper, to the city I was promoting in and I would draw a crowd. Now we live in an era where even if you get millions of views across social media, it seems to be harder than ever to convert them in to sales.

The problem is that people aren’t actually taking in what they are reading on social media, they are just scrolling through. Liking something takes no time or commitment, so even an engagement doesn’t mean much to be honest.

Connecting audiences

What I try and do now when I promote events, is try and work in partnership with other groups, people and companies. Everyone has an audience, but the way to truly grow an audience is to share audiences. An audience is a huge asset and the more you can connect what you are offering with new audiences, the more what you are offering is worth.

I also believe that as a society we don’t hand over money for things as freely as we used to. Everyone wants a good deal and everyone’s attention is being taken in a hundred directions, so getting customers to pay for tickets for an event is harder and harder. Sadly the costs of running shows haven’t diminished so it is a hard time for an entertainment promoter, unless you have a big brand behind you. You only have to look at the number of pubs and entertainment venues that have shut down in the last few years to show you that.

Competing in the marketplace

To compete in the marketplace, building a brilliant brand is paramount to success. The better your brand is, the less you have to spend on marketing as more people care about your product and will come to you instead of you always having to go to them.

So if you are promoting a live event the thing I would advise to concentrate on is your brand, as everything comes off the back of that.

Help yourself – don’t hurt others

One thing I have come across in the last week is how competitors in a marketplace will sometimes, instead of trying to improve themselves will try and harm their opposition. I think it is such a childish and immature way of behaving, your actions may do what they intend and harm your opposition but only at the price of harming yourself, which is very bad business.

Growing your business

If you are passionate about growing your business and developing your product, all of your time should be spent on it. Any time spent trying to harm your opposition is time wasted and a missed opportunity to further and improve what you are doing. When you try and harm your opposition, it also looks unprofessional to anyone watching on and your motives will be there for everyone to see.

By trying to hurt someone else you make your entire industry look bad. If you are a small and growing industry, this is something you cannot afford to do. It is this sort of behavior that puts people off getting involved in and supporting your industry.

Don’t react

If someone is trying to hurt you the key thing is to not react in a negative way to them. If you don’t stoop to their level or get involved with it, then eventually the people doing it will either get bored or people will turn on them. The worst thing you can do is react, as it will only keep it going longer and make you look as bad as them.

If you want your business and industry to be taken seriously you have to act like a professional at all times. You have to be the business and industry you want to be, even if you aren’t at that stage yet.

Just like you

There will be many people like you in your line of work, people with the same dreams, motivation and ambition as you. If you weren’t competing, you would probably get on. So my advice for this week is – don’t try and hurt someone that is just trying to do the same thing as you, if you care passionately about what you do, don’t ruin it for someone else.

Competition can be a great thing if it is used correctly, as it can make better products, brands and businesses, so you should crave competition. Just crave winning and not wanting other people to lose, just because it is a competition it doesn’t mean that more than one person can’t win.

The best marketing is free

Over the last couple of months I have been doing something I have always wanted to do and that is working for a Professional Wrestling company. It has only been as a volunteer but I have had an absolutely awesome time doing it. The company is called Plymouth Wrestling Association and they are a fantastic group of guys.

I felt really passionately about helping a local promotion out as I want to see more quality live wrestling happening in my local area and I want more people in my area to get in to wrestling. I may not have the ability or the desire to become a performer myself but I have skills in media, PR and communications so I was determined to use those skills to help them. So many people these days either hire their own marketing staff or outsource to a marketing company but me personally I would prefer to see those funds used to improve the product and the company, not to market it.

Unfulfilled promises

When you have something you want to advertise it is tricky to know where to begin. It is so easy for companies to plough money in to advertisements, gaining email addresses for leads etc. etc. etc. but in many cases these will not lead to increased business at anywhere near the rate of investment splashed out. There are too many media organisations making promises to businesses that they can’t keep and sadly too many people getting suckered in by them.

There are so many ways to get attention to your product or business that don’t cost a single penny, which so many people are not exploiting. The best return on investment is when you see increased business from doing something that cost you nothing. So before you think about investing in marketing, why not invest some time and energy in activities that don’t cost anything and see what response you get.

Think creatively

At Plymouth Wrestling Association we had to think a bit creatively this week but because of a bit of creativity we have had a daily feature on the biggest commercial radio station in the area on their breakfast show, we have a slot on the local BBC this Saturday the day before the big show and we are all over social media and the internet. All of this activity has led to us nearing a sell out of tickets before doors open which is an incredible achievement.

Your audience has never been closer and easier to get in direct contact with so lets use these opportunities. Why pay someone to do something you can do yourself. At the end of the day that is what marketing is, I don’t know of many people on this planet who don’t have the ability to let someone else know about something.

Ideas

You don’t need to be a marketing guru to have a good idea of how to get the word out. Ideas aren’t linked to experience or intelligence. So if you are trying to promote something stop and think to yourself, who are your audience? Where are your audience? And how can I reach them?

There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your own hard work pay off and if your willing to work hard at marketing your product you will see the rewards.

Getting the world talking

In today’s social media age it has never been easier to get the world talking about something. Sadly we don’t call it getting the world talking any more, we call it trending. The question I want to pose today though is this: Do companies know the difference between trending and engagement?

Having millions of people posting at the same time about something, is really cool, but if no one is talking about it 12 hours later, what did it matter and what did it change? The real gauge of interest isn’t how many people post online using the right hashtag or click a link; the real gauge of interest is what action people take about something that is trending.

What to believe

The other problem we have in social media land now, is not knowing what to believe. When you see a post online you don’t know whether someone has been paid to put it up, has paid to make it more visible compared to other posts or if the person posting is a real account and not a robot or a fake alias. On social media, popularity is for sale and anyone can pay to make a topic, an event or a company trend.

When I log on to Facebook I always look at what is trending and it is a function that has made me aware of things that I hadn’t picked up on in the news. It is sad though that I think one day, what is trending will be the news and we will be more interested in what is trending, than we are traditional news. I think more and more that trending is how we find out about the stories of the world around us and I too am guilty of that, but that just shows how much of a powerful tool it can be.

Importance of Trending

Because of the importance put on getting things to trend, it ramps up the pressure. There seems to be a badge of honour that comes with getting something to trend and when it does trend, people then can’t wait to let people know that their stories trend.

The longer we digest social media in this way continues, the more competition there will be to be trending and all I can see that doing, is meaning on average that items will trend for even shorter periods than they do now, so it will turn in to a case of blink and you will miss it.

Slow down

Just because the online world moves fast, it doesn’t mean that it is always a good thing. If you are involved in putting content online you should want longevity in your content. When I look at stats for this blog, how many people view an article on the day it publishes doesn’t bother me, what I am interested in is how my posts from last year are doing, as that is the test of timeless content. The other stats I am interested in are – how many people comment, follow, like and click through to other articles after reading their first one.

My advice to the online community is – let’s stop worrying about the moment and think about the lifetime.

The Netflix effect

When it comes to selling products in this day and age, I think the most important things are – where you sell them, how you package them and timing of their release.

A key example of this is Netflix. Over the last year they have purchased many different TV series and made them available for subscribers to view. The thing with many of the shows they have made available is that most of them were panned by the critics and not picked up by any of the major channels here in the UK at least. When they had their run on TV, not many people were talking about them and not many people were kept interested enough to watch the entire runs of these shows.

Stamp of approval

There is this strange thing that is happening with these shows and how we consume media. It seems by Netflix deciding to air them, that this is a big stamp of approval and just because of being on this platform, people now want to watch them. One trailer from Netflix and we are all rushing to add the series to our watchlist. Some how having every episode available for us to watch when we want to, makes a show more appealing than watching them every week on the TV or recording them on your Sky+ or TiVo.

I have to admit to also falling in to this trap, as last night I added the TV series ‘Gotham’ to my watchlist after seeing a trailer for it. When the series was on TV I had no interest in it whatsoever but now because it is on Netflix and has a cool trailer I am looking forward to getting round to watch it.

For many new shows getting on Netflix is now more important than getting on TV and now production companies, who thought they had got the most exposure and money out of their series that they were going to get, have a new platform to try and get more out of what they produced.

Brand

Netflix is a prime example of how in todays world your brand is sometimes more important than what you are selling or what you have in your store. If you have a product to sell, putting it on the right platform can mean more to the success of the product than all the work and investment you put in to making it.

What is perceived as ‘cool’ or ‘in’ changes at a very quick rate these days, so when you get to that point you have to cash in fast, as if you don’t you can miss your chance of making the most of your product. When your product or company are popular your priority above anything else should be doing everything to make sure that this lasts for as long as possible. If what you are selling isn’t ‘cool’ or ‘in’ keep working on how you are selling it and how you are packaging it, keep making changes on these sides until you are positioned where you want to be.

What Netflix proves is that as an audience we are more influenced by packaging than we ever have been before. I think in a way that is a sad comment on today’s world but as a company you should be cashing in on this, as even if your product isn’t the best, if you can get people believing it is great, then you will be successful.

Do you lead by example?

My blog topic this week was inspired by some things I have witnessed this season on the football pitch, but I think has relevance for all of us in all walks of life.

In football each team has a captain. This player leads the team out and wears a captain’s armband to signify he or she is the captain of the team. The captain is really just the clubs appointed ambassador on the pitch. The job description of the captain is very unofficial, but in the eyes of many fans, their role is to motivate, organise and encourage the players around them, on top of this it is seen that their role is to lead by example when it comes to their play and their attitude. The captain can also have the role of keeping the behavior of their team in check.

Sadly this season I have noticed several times where captains have fallen short of this ideal, that we as fans have for them. We have seen Rio Ferdinand of QPR grabbing a player by the throat, Jan Vertonghen of Tottenham pushing a player over and Joey Barton also of QPR hitting a player, all of these acts committed whilst wearing the captain armband for their team.

Is a leader a role model?

I’m sure if you asked most clubs, publically would say they wanted their captain to uphold the image of the club and be a role model but in private I am sure the clubs biggest concern is just winning games. The bigger question is – should professional footballers have to be role models?

Sport is a competitive environment where the idea of any game is to beat your opponent. In professional football the sport is a business with each team and player wanting to earn the most money as possible and be as successful as possible. To do all these things you don’t need role models. Just because people choose to watch professional football it is not up to the football world to react to what the fans want, as it is the fans choice if they watch or not. As a fan you can’t just expect or want players to be role models, for it to happen. Being a role model is the decision of each and every player and theirs alone.

How do you want to be viewed?

I think it is up to each and everyone of us to decide how we want to be viewed and what standards we want to live by. We are all a brand and we need to represent ourselves in the way we want to be seen. What you say and do impacts on the way others view you and in this day and age that is very important. I think we all need to take time to decide what we want to be remembered for and then come up with an action plan of what we are going to do to make sure we are thought of in that way. Like how I feel that there should be an official job description for a football captain, I think we should all make our own job descriptions for the role of the person we want to be.

Returning to the subject of the blog after that ever so slight tangent, I think it is important that we all lead by example. The example however shouldn’t be about what others think it is or what you perceive it to be, it should be about leading by the example you have set for yourself. Don’t be limited by other people’s example, because your example might be way higher.

What example will you lead by?

Many people when they think of the word lead or leading immediately think of followers or following. I however think that leading is about setting yourself apart and trying to be better than the competition. You should never want to lead with the expectation of others following you. If you set a great example then others may follow, but the number of followers has no reflection on if you are setting the right example or not.

What I am trying to say is that we can all be leaders in our own way and you don’t have to await for an official position to be bestowed upon you to become one. There are many ways you can lead and be a leader, a lot of great leaders out there I don’t think would even call themselves leaders. As long as you have set yourselves standards and are living to them you have learnt to lead.

Are we falling for it?

This week many people around the world have been talking about Madonna’s fall during her performance at The Brit awards. The Brit awards are a yearly event in the UK, which recognises musical talent from across the globe, with a host of different award categories. The nominees for these awards are normally in the main from the Pop music scene.

If you haven’t heard about Madonna’s fall you can read more about it in a news story here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-31633349

I haven’t watched the Brits for years and it was only the morning after that I found out about Madonna’s fall. This incident has got people around the world talking, in countries that this event wasn’t shown and in places that have never heard of the Brit awards. Through a few split seconds of something that didn’t look like it was suppose to happen, the audience for the event became global.

Manufacturing situations

In the wake of the event some people are now speculating whether this fall was actually a planned event by either Madonna herself, the Brit Awards or both. Both have past form with controversy when it comes to awards shows. For the Brits we had the moment when Jarvis Cocker went wondering on stage during Michael Jackson singing ‘Earthsong’ in the 90s and with Madonna we had the MTV VMA’s in the early 2000s when she kissed Britney Spears.

I wouldn’t put it past any of those involved to have manufactured the situation but I do think there is a growing trend now with anything that goes viral or gets widespread attention like this, that everyone wants to question the authenticity of it. When something makes headlines there are people that don’t buy in to it and want to discredit it, so in the aftermath we see videos and blogs popping up online of people explaining what really was going on and trying to show evidence to back up their claim.

The news has changed

We now live in a world of 24 hour news where these news companies need more and more stories to cover, so editorial control isn’t as selective and with so much competition, each news company wants to be the first to break a story. Couple this with the rise of PR, marketing and creative companies whose job it is to get brands and celebrities in to the news and on the face of it, this looks like a bad mix. With social media and information so available to the masses these companies have to work even harder to come up with stunts and news stories that people won’t question, to get hype for what they are promoting. These companies need to move with changing audiences and find creative ideas that have never been done before to get our attention, which I believe will mean we are always questioning the authenticity of what we are seeing.

So back to Madonna and the Brits, for many years people have questioned how relevant each are. I don’t know what the viewing figures for The Brits have been in recent years or the sales figures for Madonna but a stunt like this, if it was preplanned has got everyone talking about them again. The great thing about it is regardless of whether it was planned or not people are still debating the authenticity of it today so people are still talking about them and they are getting even more publicity.

A new world

I think this new news world we live in has made a skeptical audience and this audience now has the power to research the news. People want to catch the news out and don’t just take what they see at face value. I think on the whole the news has turned more in to entertainment than reporting of facts, entertainment that we can join in with and help mold. In todays world its not just the news that gets us talking, it’s the news that covers things we are talking about.

I think the way the video of Madonna falling went viral asks this important question for TV programmes and events – Is social media reaction more important than actual viewership?