What I learnt about marketing at the Edinburgh Festival II – Marketing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
So, last week we established that flyering was a crucial step in getting audiences to shows, so how were people going about it?
So many of the competition were only interested in getting the flyer into the hands of anyone that would take it, hoping that the information on the flyer would excite them sufficiently to get them to the gig. Some of the artier, theatrical types struck interesting, freeze poses with their flyers thrust skyward in the hope that people would just take them. The worst example that I saw was a guy sitting in a shopfront saying “its distinctly average” or “its very average” with the flyer in his hand. When I put it to him that he wasn’t really selling his show his response was “not to people like you,” which was hilarious, he must have impressed himself with his razor sharp wit and confirmed to himself that he really deserves a career in comedy. But I thought he was a dick and walked away hoping that his show and career fail.
What I found very quickly is that flyering is probably the purest form of marketing there is and that the normal rules apply, so I went to work with AIDA.
A of course stands for Attention, and this wasn’t difficult at all given that I was standing in front of the potential audience, I found that getting in their faces a little bit and offering a cheery good morning guys was all that was required to get their attention. As I grew in confidence that developed into a more assertive – you look like you are looking for some award winning free comedy. And as I got comfortable it evolved into – we need smiley, laughy people like you to come see our show.
I for Interest wasn’t too challenging either, after all they were there to have a good time and experience some shows. All I had to do was get them motivated to do something ever so slightly different, visit our show rather than anyone of the thousands of other shows. So having got them accepting the flyer I simply asked if I could tell them something about it. That put me into a position where I could fire some open questions like – What sort of stuff are you into? and what are you hoping to see at the festival? Matching what we had to what they were looking for always works.
Desire came from the possibility that this could actually happen – do you guys have plans for 1 o’clock? are you looking for award winning free comedy? And of course laying down the hook. One of my friends does some really funny stuff with trousers, I pitched it as amazing things with trousers, and that was enough to get them thinking, what the hell is going on with these trousers? Of course the only way that they, or indeed you, will ever know would be to attend the show.
A for Action is the most important bit and all of this work would have been for nothing if I had failed to motivate them to actually get to where they needed to be. They needed to know where the show was, when it started, how to get there exactly ie. once you are in the building you go up two flights of stairs etc. Once they started engaging with this information it became clear that they were intending to come and it was time to nail down the commitment with a really easy question, can I expect to see you there? If they answered yes, they were intending to be there I would give them the flyer. If they showed a lack of commitment I would refuse to give them the flyer, this little bit of reverse psychology often worked to seal the required commitment.
The result of all of this is that the two shows that I helped on, I know I made it sound like I had completed a marathon, were the best attended shows of the entire run, and not only that they were amongst the best shows of the run because they had the best audiences, people who were up for a laugh and prepared to pay for it my making a contribution to the bucket at the end.
OK, so now your thinking this is all very good but what did you learn other than what you know and do all day works at a comedy festival.
Well, to find out what I actually learnt you will have to come back again next week for the final instalment of this thrilling series.