National tours often have a built-in audience, but live entertainment venues can’t maintain their programming without dedicated support from their own loyal fans. It’s imperative to engage communities and drive grassroots promotions to ensure events make an impact, and seats are filled. Aligning your media buy strategy with strong community engagement and grassroots promotion efforts can amplify your marketing results and ensure you make the right kind of impact on your patrons — not to mention sell more tickets. But what goes into grassroots promotion for theaters, and how does it fit with traditional marketing channels?
How to Use Strategic Media Buying in Grassroots Promotion
Aligning your media buy strategy with grassroots promotion is simple if you follow these four key steps:
Audit Your Company’s Brand
Start by determining what audiences, interests, and demographics your company and programming most aligns with and why. One of the best ways to do this is through direct engagement. Conduct surveys with audiences to learn more about:
- Their backgrounds
- What they like about particular shows, actors, or programming lineups
- How they learned about your company
Conduct town halls with season ticket holders, sponsors, and patrons for an open discussion about what they think your company is, or what they’d like it to be. Directly asking people for their feedback and insight creates a more democratic atmosphere and elevates engagement. That kind of participation can even drive grassroots word-of-mouth.
Drive Grassroots Engagement in High-Level Media
Depending on your budget, your existing media buy strategy should consist of placements in:
- Regional radio and TV
- Local newspapers and print magazines
- Billboards and other outdoor ads
- Local event guides
- Digital media outlets
- Social media
Use the insight about your brand gleaned from the audit and make adjustments to your marketing as necessary. For example, if you find your audience primarily consists of a certain demographic, such as college-educated women, you can choose to lean into that niche, or go wider to attract more audience types. You can also use these high-level media buys to promote grassroots incentives, such as ticket discount programs for audience members who refer their friends to a show.
Identify Niche Media Buy Opportunities
If your brand audit reveals any demographics you already perform well with, or highlights people you want to engage more, then you can reallocate part of your media buy budget to targeting those communities. Look for local online pubs, influencers, magazines, and other media outlets that are specific to the niche audiences you want to target. Even in small markets, there can be entire publications devoted to niche hobbies. And if your company is based in a large city, don’t neglect buying ads in small neighborhood press in your own or surrounding areas.
Media buys in these niche outlets, with ads that specifically target members of these communities, can help build a sense that the show or venue is part of the community as well. This strategy also drives grassroots attendance and encourages more word of mouth.
Drive Grassroots Promotion with Community Partnerships
Community partnerships can engage potential audiences directly, and even reach members of a demographic that you can’t access with just media buy. Identify schools, businesses, non-profits, and other organizations aligned with your brand. Work with your partners to create campaigns that benefit both of your organizations. A few ideas are:
- Ticket giveaways
- Member discounts
However, there are infinite ways to leverage your partners’ reach, so don’t be afraid to be creative and try new techniques.
Leverage Your Buy With Power Marketing
Grassroots promotion is one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to drive engagement with the audiences you want, especially when combined with the right media buy strategy. However, expert support is critical so you don’t waste valuable resources on research and ad spend that doesn’t lead to higher ticket sales.
Power Marketing has extensive experience helping theaters and entertainment venues of every size and market type make an impact on audiences and drive engagement through strategic marketing placements. The agency specializes in media buy, digital strategy, and other services shown to sell more tickets and drive higher engagement. Want to learn more? Get in touch to see what the team can do for you.