Insights with the Theatre Marketing Manager
We launch our new gBlog ‘Insights’, a behind the scenes catch up with some of the theatres employee’s that make the beautiful Blackpool Grand Theatre what it is. Our first Insight is with Theatre Marketing Manager, Andrew Howard.
It’s great to give an Insight into my day as Theatre Marketing Manager at Blackpool’s Grand. Managing the marketing for over 120 productions a year as well as many individual projects including; events, launches, photo and video shoots, press nights, social media, online and trying to stay ahead on the latest innovations it can be an incredibly stressful and demanding department, so as a team member you have to be able to deal with extreme pressure and be able to handle an ever changing day.
I’ve worked at this beautiful Frank Matcham theatre for over 18 years and every day is different, one day we’re looking to source a brass band, the next day a donkey. Most recently we needed to sauce a life-sized dinosaur and hold an audition process to select a British Bull Dog for the production Legally Blonde the Musical!
So, what happens on an average day of a Theatre Marketing Manager you ask…
8:00am Everyone who knows me knows I’m a bit of a coffee-head so as soon as I’m awake a four-shot Starbucks Latte is the first call of the day! This is a great time to skim through the regional newspapers, The Stage, theatre magazines and online content.
8:15am its time to catch up on my emails from department heads and others that I didn’t get chance to reply to yesterday or come through during the night from our international producers. Creative times do work all hours especially our design and digital teams, so late-night emails are not unexpected. Our CEO is the opposite and wakes early so answering those emails about any proposed contractual issues or producer requests are also to be dealt with.
8:45am before getting into the office I write up my notes from the previous days meetings and book any follow up meetings in.
I commute on blackpool transport, I love the opportunity to just think, I also get chance to look at all the pages and website online I’ve bookmarked to catch up later.
9:20am I arrive at the theatre and do a quick sweep of all our outside advertising to see what is coming up for replacement and what might need attention.
9:30am I arrive in the office, make a coffee and catch up with colleagues.
9:40am a conference call with our lead design company the NU Agency and print company Spellman Walker regarding our next season brochure, we look for something different in each brochure and NU have been tasked with making this brochure the best yet!
We talk through the cover design and something special I can’t share just quiet yet!
10:10am Blackpool’s Grand Theatre is part of the steering group behind Culture Blackpool. VisitBlackpool, Left Coast, The Arts Service, and Winter Gardens in addition to ourselves with funding from Arts Council England have launched a platform attached to the VisitBlackpool website, a social media and outdoor advertising campaign to raise the profile of Blackpool’s Culture offer to residents and holiday visitors. #theBside is aimed at showing an alternative side to Blackpool that people may have not realised was there, many of which can be free like the Grundy Art Gallery.
This morning I’m meeting with the Steering Group to talk through next steps following our recent successful launch at the Tower Circus, an incredible location. The Grand will be holding a very special event for people in Blackpool around photography with international photographer Sean Conboy.
11:30am Catch up calls with some of our Producers and Marketing Teams, talking through strategies and marketing ideas. We’re planning something really exciting around Jungle Book an incredible production that I was lucky enough to see at it’s opening venue.
12:30pm meeting with our Digital Officer, looking through the next three months digital activity and what we have planned to cover events digitally. We review our online advertising campaigns that we run with our Digital Partner SOAP Media. What changes need to be made and what we need to adapt for the months ahead.
12:45pm Lunch meeting with Forsyth and Steele. The Grand Theatre prints an incredible amount as I am sure you can understand trying to promote 120 shows to the community of Blackpool’s 142,000 residents and beyond, we have reduced our print by 15% over the past year, aiming to hit a 20% reduction to achieve our Environmental targets in 2018/19. We talk-through and look at options for invites and a re-run campaign around our 18 to 26 Members campaign. Forsyth and Steele also go through new materials and print options on the market, looking to reduce our overheads and offer something new.
1:30pm meeting with our Creative Learning Manager to talk through a presentation |I’m doing at two schools who are part of 150 children talking part in our new Junior Artist Programme. I’m talking them through how you create a brand identity and how from large input you get down to an actual finished article which they will see on t-shirts and caps. My second workshop will be on how we get from a story to a poster that will be used to promote the show.
2:15pm a weekly Marketing and Finance Meeting with the head of finance and my marketing administrator to discuss budgets and project outlines. We look at show sales projections, income, marketing spend and charitable donations.
3pm catch-up call with producer Martin Dodd, of UK Productions about our next Pantomime Beauty and the Beast. This is a brand-new pantomime and will open at Blackpool’s Grand. We talk through casting updates, set ideas, photo-shoots, costume updates and launch date.
3:30pm we’ve just received the final proof of our next Season Brochure by courier, this is the last chance before going to print to make any changes. Myself and the Chief Executive have a final view and sign off. We discuss how the brochure will be distributed locally and regional and the campaign to launch it. We also go through the final draft of the VIP guest list for our launch event which is held on the theatre’s stage.
4:25pm my deputy and I go through upcoming and new show marketing plans, seeing if any adjustments need to be made, any additional push, are we achieving the audience development targets we set ourselves based on audience types, areas of the community and age demographics. We talk through some of our high profile shows Kite Runner, Legally Blonde and Jungle Book, brainstorming new ideas and new possible partnerships.
5pm Project X – we hold a full team meeting about a new project, the designs, materials, advertising suggestions, partnerships and budget review.
5:30pm catch-up with my Sales Manager to discuss sales projections, targets and what new productions are going to be released in the next couple of weeks. The theatre is heavily dependent on donations and the box office take a huge role in this be it from online, in person or over the phone. We discuss training needs and any updates on our ticketing system.
6:00pm quick debrief with my team on the happenings of the day, show updates, issues and confirmations on things that have been achieved.
6:30pm time for home again on my bus commute. I always try to have a book to read on the way home, a way to try and switch off a little and learn something new. At present I’m reading ‘Audience’ by Jeffrey K Rohrs, marketing in the age of subscribers, fans and followers.
8:45pm once I’ve eaten I try and have a quick-fire catch-up on any social and press media of the day looking through our social media channels and messages, comments and feedback. I also take a look at the local and regional press.
9pm tonight I’m catching up on a brief for our Young People 18 to 26 brand, we’ve developed it for a year so we are reviewing the findings and what further activity and changes we might want to make. This will include digital animation, new video work for our gVlog and social media channels.
Finally, as Theatre Marketing Manager I await the 12midnight sales reports for the day!
Theatre Marketing Manager
A Theatre Marketing Manager’s role covers lots of the business and having an insight into many projects from shows to individual departments needs. When i left school I didn’t set out to be a Theatre Marketing Manager, but really wish marketing could have been introduced to me as a career earlier on. I have worked in a Garage, a Holiday Call Centre and Hotel Management so your path might not be straight forward, but do something you love getting up in a morning for. 18 Years later, I love every day and feel proud to work in such an incredible building and work with some of the greatest artists and producers!
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