If you have been following this thread you will know about my adventures at the Edinburgh Fringe and you will be dying to find out what I actually learnt.
I was reminded of lots of things: that by prospecting you can, and are much better off, choosing your audience; that people are happy to be engaged if you do it in the right way; that there is no magic bullet; that prospecting is hugely undervalued but hugely necessary and fun and most importantly I was reminded that marketing works.
And what I learnt is that the customer experience starts from the moment that you start marketing to them and that you need to condition your customers if you want them to be good. If I was able to get people laughing and enjoying themselves on the street they were not only much more likely to attend the gig but also much more likely to enjoy the gig, and laugh and donate.
Flyering is an incredibly immediate activity, by far the most effective time to be flyering is the hour before the gig starts, and because of that you get immediate feedback. The people that you engage with in the street are at the gig within minutes. If you annoyed them in the street they will still be annoyed at the show, if you failed to motivate them in the street they will be unmotivated at the show and getting them to laugh is going to be a challenge.
This is clearly less true for businesses and their marketing. The prospects that you engage today may not actually become your customers for weeks or months. However, if your marketing happens in an apathetic or half-arsed way you will still end up with apathetic, half-arsed customers.
Effective Marketing are telling businesses constantly that customers are the most valuable asset that they have in their business and that marketing is simply the process of finding, winning and keeping customers profitably.
The people that enjoyed the greatest success with their shows were those that got that they were there to build a fan base and that to that they would need to bring in audiences and give them a great experience. They went about that with energy, commitment and enthusiasm and that is why they enjoyed energetic and enthusiastic audiences.
I enjoyed Fringe enormously and I have enjoyed my prospecting a great deal since.
I will definitely be back next year.