If you want to put a project, product, organisation or yourself ‘in the market’ we are talking about marketing. This will be developed by a thorough analysis of the work, target group and the environment in which you are working. When you have decided how you want to put your services or product in the market, your marketing and publicityplan will follow.
The step-by-step plan ‘writing a marketing and publicity plan’ is a tool to make these analyses. You determine your mission, make a SWOT analysis (you analyse the strengths and weaknesses of your enterprise and the opportunities and threats in the environment), investigate what your USP (Unique Selling Point) is and who your target group is. On the basis thereof, you set to work on the marketing mix, which consists of the 5 Ps: product, price, place, promotion and personnel. The choices you make in these five areas will determine how you put your product/service in the market: in this way, you will work towards your marketing plan concretely.
Marketing mix: the 5 Ps
The five Ps have a major effect on each other and must develop in parallel with each other constantly. Because if you decide to adapt your product, your target group and the price of the product will change. If your target group changes, then adjust your promotion to that. And so on.
Product (or service)
Larger companies that launch a new product on the market, explore the market first. Consumer panels are already used, for example, during the development process in order to adapt the product to their wishes. In the case of the arts and cultural sector, it’s not always about services and products that satisfy the market demands, because the enterprise often does not have a profit motive or commercial objective.
Pricing for services often consists of the sum of the costs (your hours) + overheads + tax, as well as a profit margin. In the case of products, you often include the costs of production materials in the price calculation. Pricing in the arts and cultural sector does not always follow this relatively industrial pattern. Many forms of cultural expression are (partially) subsidised in order to keep the price affordable. When setting the prices, it is therefore smart to look at the prevailing prices in your sector. If you are considerably above or below those prices, make sure that you are able to justify why that is.
If you are selling a product, we are actually talking about your distribution channels in the case of ‘place’. Does your product need to be available in many places in the Netherlands and/or beyond, or do you want to exclusively offer your product, for example, in your own webshop? Are we talking about a concert tour through the whole of the Netherlands or one concert in Amsterdam? Your ‘place’ has a major influence on the three other Ps and determining your target group.
The terms ‘marketing’ and ‘promotion/publicity’ are often mistakenly confused. Publicity is only about the promotional part and the communication channels that you use. You already know your product, your price and your location at this point. In terms of promotion, you determine how you are going to communicate that (your message) and via which channels (such as an advert in the newspaper or mailing via free local papers).
When the service economy emerged, an extra P was added to the marketing mix. This P stands for Personnel, a component that has become increasingly essential for customer-oriented companies in order to guarantee the customer-friendliness and quality of their service. The personnel (performers/artists) have also become increasingly important in the arts and cultural sector: in terms of the quality of the product, the price that can be charged, the distribution channels to which you can gain access (are you using an A-list actor, for example, or an E-list actor) and the promotion (will you be using the name of the director or the light designer because they exude quality? Or the name of the architects who make up your firm, because they each have a unique specialism or vision?).
Outsourcing in performing arts
It is not unusual in the performing arts to outsource the sales and marketing. For example, to intermediaries, such as agents, theatre agencies and booking agencies. Even if you outsource everything, it’s important to understand the basics of marketing. Be aware that you, if you outsource, are also part of the marketing of the agency concerned and that they are part of how you put yourself in the market.