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Still Asking Why The Show Was Not Advertised

Back in 2006 I was pondering the situation where people came up to me at a performance and asked, “Why Didn’t You Advertise This?”

Now given I get this comment most from people who have attended the event for which they are bemoaning the lack of advertising, obviously something worked to get them in the door.

Often they did see/hear an ad or a story or heard about the show from a friend. The problem they have is that they learned about the show close to performance time and had such a great experience, they are concerned that having almost missed it, they will lose out on something equally great in the future.

I made this post 6 years ago so my marketing mix has changed a bit from the one I describe, but many aspects still remain the same, including the fact I get the same question.

What is interesting to me as I think about this phenomenon is that while something we did was clearly effective at getting them into the theatre, some people have an expectation that they will hear about performances from a very specific source, often print media.

I would be curious to know what others do when faced with this situation.

2 Responses to Still Asking Why The Show Was Not Advertised

  1. Marc July 20, 2012 at 3:55 am #

    Advertising is always a mix of reach, frequency and budget. And of course we all know there’s a certain frequency (is it 7 times now?) before people start remembering your ad. I’ve always thought that reach should be fairly narrowly defined. Go where your low-hanging fruit hangs out (because that’s where the ROI is). So that leaves budget, and that’s often the problem. If you target well, you should be able to get a decent frequency, but you shouldn’t sacrifice the size of the ad to attain a certain frequency either (and if you can’t get that 1/2 or 3/8 page ad you wanted, go with the smaller, but irregular shaped ad, like the really vertical or the really horizontal ad sizes). I’ve found this approach to work well.

    Of course, I’ve also had my share of people bringing me a full-page New York Times ad and ask me why we didn’t do this (because we were a small arts organization in Austin, TX). And my favorite time was when a lady called to order a subscription because she received a letter and simultaneously complained about it being the worst sales letter ever.

    • Joe Patti July 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm #


      Thanks for the comment. One of the challenges we have had recently thanks to media consolidation is sky rocketing prices. Getting any frequency is getting tougher. Also, not only are fewer people reading the print media, the major newspaper has put their content behind a paywall which means fewer young people are looking to it as the source of their information at all.

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