Yesterday we talked about the importance of creating clear, tangible differences within your company. Here's an example of that.
While in a hotel this week I noticed this article from USA Today about how Southwest Airline's "Bags Fly Free" campaign has led to the airline receiving a 1% increase in market share.
There's two marketing lessons in that for us.
1. Sometimes great marketing comes from what you don't do.
When the airline industry was implementing fees on checked bags, I'm sure there were some folks within Southwest that were pushing for the company to follow along. I'm guessing somebody realized that the short term financial benefit from the fee wouldn't outweigh the long term damage to the brand that comes from doing something people generally hate.
Most arts organizations have a ton of fees and policies:
- Ticket purchasing fees
- Ticket exchange fees
- Ticket refund policies
- Seating policies
You get the idea.
Take the time review all those policies and fees. What you'll probably find is that there really isn't a good reason to have some of them. They are just there because that have ALWAYS been there, or because other arts organizations have similar policies.
So what if you just got rid of them?
Suddenly, without spending a dime, or sacrificing your artistic standards, you may have just created a real, tangible difference between yourself and your competition.
Or maybe you do something even more creative. In addition to changing your fees and policies, maybe your the dance company that gives fresh baked cookies to random patrons.
"Adam, that's just dumb" you're thinking.
But just remember, 99% of all arts organizations are basically the same. Same rules, same structure, even the art they present is always familiar.
In a world like that, creative, little, points of distinction and difference can be a BIG deal.
Here's the second lesson:
2. When you develop that difference, that edge, PROMOTE THE HELL OUT OF IT. Think about Southwest running those Bags Fly Free commercials. It's sorta genius. They simply let the industry make a bad long term decision and then profited off their mistake.
If you are making your policies more customer friendly, shout it from the rooftops. If you do decide to give away those cookies put a big ass sign outside letting people know.
Create differences and then promote them.
One more example of that. At my day job we offer free parking to all our performances.
Trust me, we promote the hell out of that. If you've seen any ad for, you have seen the words FREE PARKING splashed on it somewhere.
Know why we do that?
Because free parking isn't grey.
It's isn't "artistic quality" or "excellence".
It's something everyone can understand.
Simple. Clear. Tangible. Something everybody does that.
The best marketing you do this year could be creating a similar edge.