Author: Campbell, Bruce

Join the CBA's Feet on the Street Team

Folks, there ain’t no job that looks so easy as marketing. How hard can it be to do some ads? Put a logo on a billboard? Create a pithy campaign with a simple message (“Think different.”)? How do you judge a good marketing person? I know the answer to that one: if you see the ads, and like the ads, you think the marketing person did a good job. It’s incredibly subjective, isn’t it?

Actually, marketing, like sales, can be judged by simple, cold, hard metrics. Folks in sales or marketing (they are quite different) live and die by their numbers. It’s a very emotional avocation. There’s nothing like the high of a great month, and nothing quite as humiliating as a bad month. If you’re going to take the credit when things go well, you have to take the blame when it doesn’t. But there are so many factors that affect those numbers – seasonality, market pressures, or the economy.

The old adage in marketing is “You’re wasting half your marketing dollars, but you’ll never know which half.” Measure, measure, measure, is the marketer’s mantra – find that underperforming 50% and funnel that money towards something else, then measure some more. What works this month may not work next month. You can go from genus to dunce in a month. So, the second adage for marketing is “Do everything, all the time.”

Savvy bands know this. They make sure the website’s looking good, and the posters are up and looking good, but they also enlist the help of anybody who will help. Del McCoury has an ongoing campaign that contacts fans in the weeks prior to a show and asks for help in spreading the word. If a lot of people help, nobody has to work very hard, and this helps feed the “everything all the time” monster.

Marketing the annual Father’s Day festival presents the same challenges. We have a budget for some display advertising, and radio spots, and we leverage our non-profit status to try and get the best value out of every media buy we do. And we measure the results from each year’s festival to try and ensure we’re spending on marketing that wil have the best effect. In addition to that, Area VPs and a number of other volunteers try and place event posters in places where likely festival goers might congregate. In some cases, these posters reach people in areas where our media ads don’t reach, or else they reinforce the media ads. Studies show folks usually need to see an ad more than once to be moved to action.

But there’s another aspect to this concentric circle of marketing reach, and this is where YOU can help. If you’re going to a jam, or a music store, or any place that has people who like acoustic music, you can take a poster (or a few) and put them up, or leave them around the venue (with the proprietor’s permission – we’re not trying to create litter). There are links on the CBA website to pdf files to print black and white or color posters on letter (8.5 x 11) or legal size (8.5 x 14) paper. We’re not asking you to run up a big bill at Kinko’s – you can just print a few and if enough people do this, you (the collective you) will make a real difference. (Click here for more on how you can help.)

You can be an important part of making the 35th anniversary Father’s Day festival a success. The only possible downside I can see is, if your efforts really help, I will chalk it up to my amazing skills as Publicity Director. Old habits die hard – you will need to remind me that I could not have done it without you!

Posted:  3/24/2010

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