Marketing, in my view, is more art than science, though science and reasoning do play a major part. There are a myriad of things to ensure that are correct when doing our work.
However, even though we wish our performance in our careers to be flawless and well executed, we are still human. We aren’t perfect and we can make mistakes in our work. From my experience, here are five mistakes that every arts marketer could make.
Hopefully, as we gain experience we will make less mistakes, but still mistakes can be made.
Mistake One: Unclear Messaging
Marketing is all about communication that is clear, compelling, and that converts. As marketers we strive to make sure that our seasons are well crafted and that our performances are well executed. Sometimes though, we fail in getting our messaging right. We aren’t clear in what we are trying to communicate and our audience or potential audience members don’t receive the message in the way we intend.
Perhaps the best way to avoid this mistake is to enlist your core audience members as a focus group so that you know that what you’re intending on communicating is clear.
Mistake Two: Unclear Team Expectations
One problem that I’ve encountered in my work is that often teams don’t have clear expectations on what is to be done when, why, and how. All marketing campaigns have lots of moving parts, like traditional media (Radio, Television, Print), digital media (Facebook, Instagram, Email, Twitter, et. al.). In the complexity of the campaign leadership or even managers may make the mistake of not having clear responsibilities for their team members.
To avoid this, use project management software like Asana to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that they know what their role is in the campaign.
Mistake Three: Budget overruns
This is probably one of the most common mistakes all departments will encounter. When putting together a campaign you assume it will cost a certain dollar amount, but actuals show a different figure. You think it will cost XX when it really will cost YY. Overspending your marketing campaign budget will throw the whole revenue projection off.
You can avoid this by being very clear on labor estimates, ad spend dollars, and what you do internally. However, if you’re working with outside vendors, you might do well if you ask a lot of questions and get everything in writing should something come up during your relationship with them.
Mistake Four: Mispent Dollars
We all are familiar with the old adage, “you never throw good money after bad.” It’s the same way with advertising and marketing. In your campaign you may find that you are spending inefficiently. The two things I can come up with is spending a ton of money on billboards and lots of money on digital. Don’t hear me say I’m anti-billboard and anti-digital, but what I am saying is that if you’re going to use billboards design an amazing concept that will create buzz in the community or region. And, if you are working in digital, to ensure that you’re using your money wisely. For instance, don’t just boost posts because Facebook says so. Rather, be intentional about creating a great ad that uses awesome creative and copy and target that ad to those you most want it to see. The extra effort will yield greater results.
Mistake Five: Unclear Scope of Campaign
I think about the quote by Zig Ziglar, “if you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time.” for this mistake. Marketers know they need to make an impact but sometimes they aren’t sure where or how or when. If you aren’t clear on what you’re doing for your campaign, then you may not see success in it. This becomes apparent in a number of ways:
- Not knowing the right metrics for analytics for success (KPIs)
- How does print help digital (and vice versa).
- When are key pieces of the campaign going to go live?
Also, if you’re not clear on what you’re doing, you’re certainly not going to know what you won’t do. This will result in over budgeting.
Instead, meet with your team and discuss the what, when, how, where, and who of every campaign, small or large, so that everyone knows the goal, their role, and destination of the campaign.
Marketing for the arts is more art than science and that takes skill, experience, and know-how. We can make the following mistakes: unclear on the messaging, unclear on team expectations, we overspend on budget, we misspend dollars, and we have an unclear scope for our campaigns. Hopefully, our experience will help avoid making these mistakes in the future.
What mistakes do you see in arts marketing where you are? Are these mistakes rightly assessed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!