TCS Media

How arts organisations can achieve a better ROI in an increasingly competitive market

How arts organisations can achieve a better ROI in an increasingly competitive market

It was with great sadness that we recently read that the English National Opera has been put in special measures being told either to improve, or face a funding axe.

So just what has gone wrong at the ENO? How can arts organisations fight back when faced with potential funding cuts and increasing competition in the market? It’s not just the arts funded sector facing difficult times – the recent closure of Stage Entertainments UK production arm, after a string of disappointments including Made in Dagenham and Anything Goes, is another cause for concern.

made in dagenham

One thing’s for sure, it’s a tough market and only going to get tougher, so it’s more essential now than ever before that organisations get the 4 Ps of the marketing mix spot on. Get the right product (show), in the right place, at the right price, with the right promotion (marketing) and experience will suggest you are on to a winner. But what if you get one, or more, of these wrong?

Well for starters, many would argue that without a great product you are dead in the water. But are you? Great shows like Les Miserables, Mamma Mia, Wicked and The Lion King are just that – great shows – and have been a great success as a result. However, even great shows need to get the other 3 Ps right. There are numerous examples of critically acclaimed shows failing to be commercial successes, because they got one, or more, of these critical elements wrong.
So what about the not so great, average shows? Firstly, who’s to judge? There are numerous examples here of shows that the critics have slammed or given a lukewarm reaction to, that have gone on to be great commercial successes. How come? Well, firstly, they were able to find and develop an audience (not by accident), and they got all the other elements right – not least great advertising and promotional marketing. They identified who they needed to talk to, and they did it extremely well.

lion kingles miswicked

At TCS Media we only really deal with one P of the marketing mix – promotion – although we are often called to advise on ticket pricing, venues (we know some shows just don’t work at some venues) and occasionally the product or show itself.

We know that these days every £1 of marketing spend has to work significantly harder for clients if a show is to be successful. Too often we see arts organisations doing the same things year after year, with a diminishing return. Why? Perhaps it is a lack of talented marketers, innovation or just plain complacency. The digital age has revolutionised consumers’ thinking, behaviour, the customer journey and ultimately, purchase behaviour – but all too often arts organisations have lagged behind in catching up with these revolutionary changes.

Peter Smith
Head of Arts & Entertainments at TCS Media
Contact: Email: Tel: 020 7221 7292

*These are not TCS Media clients

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