This fall I've been teaching an Entertainment Marketing class at Columbia College Chicago. It has been interesting teaching students who are looking for careers in fashion, music and other entertainment industries the fundamentals of marketing.
Because they are students I've been working hard to drill just a few fundamentals in their heads. Here is one of those fundamentals:
Marketing is a set of intentional choices.
Great marketing isn't an accident, lousy marketing isn't either.
Lousy marketing is often the result of an artist or arts organization not really thinking about what they are doing and why they are doing it.
So they jump into social media without having a sense of what the real goal is.
Or they create and mail postcards not because they work (which is possible), but because they always have done it and now the whole process is on auto pilot.
The challenge is that it is SO easy to lose sight of your marketing process. I've been handling the marketing of a theatre for six years and I have to force myself (literally) to just STOP being busy doing Task X or Task Y and just think about the "how" and the "why" of the process as a whole.
I put these "forced stops", which are often just me sitting down with a cup of coffee or taking a walk, into my day because I know that marketing doesn't get bad all at once.
It gets bad slowly, one unaware or unguided decision at a time.
Here's the good news. Marketing can get really good one aware decision at a time. You can turn things around. You can get the audience you deserve.
But it must happen one intentional decision at a time.
Nothing is an accident.