Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tangent: Knowing what works

For the most part, this little series is about the creative strategy side of marketing. Which is linked to metrics—and absolutely depends on attention to results to work—but, ideally, is developed first and measured later.

But to address some of the comments, here are some ways you can find out if your improv marketing is working:
  • The easiest: Next time you have a show, have the host ask "How many of you have seen us before?" right at the beginning. Do a quick estimate—and check in with each other at intermission. What percentage of the crowd is repeat customers? Who's new?
  • The most specific: Answer your phone. When people make reservations, ask "How did you hear about us?" Write it down, and after a few shows, do the math and see what works best. Or ask when they buy tickets at the show.
  • Checking your promotions: If you offer discounts, make them trackable. Tell Facebook invitees to print their invite to get the deal (you can do the same with e-mails)...ask Twitter followers to use a secret word...mark your coupons by location. If you pay for an ad, GOOD HEAVENS MAKE SURE YOU CAN TRACK THE RESULTS. Include a coupon or a promo code, or you're throwing away money. Whenever you offer a discount, make sure you know where people find it, so you can focus more efforts there.
  • Audience surveys: Make up a short survey and send it to your Facebook group and email lists. Ask them where they get their info, when they want to hear from you, even what they like (or don't) about your shows. Writing surveys is an art—here are some tips for writing a good one.
  • Review your reservations. After every show, get the cast to read over your reservations list and check off anyone they know. Figure out how you reached them. Compare your reservations list to your Facebook invite RSVPS. And make sure you know how many walkups you had—bonus points for finding out how they heard about your show.
  • Compare apples to oranges. Know what changes you made, and try to connect them to differences in audiences. When Spite did their makeover show the audience was huge—based on applause, we know a lot of them followed the videos.
The internet makes measuring results easier than ever. There's no excuse for not knowing what works.

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