Thursday, 12 September 2013

Tickets available on the door.

Sometimes we forget that a band is a business.
To not treat it as such makes it a hobby.
Hobbies are fun and interesting and if you are happy with that, that's great, but if you want people to come to your gigs and if you want your band to be successful, you need to treat it like a business.

Any business needs to fully understand the market for its products and services and exactly who it's customers and consumers are.

If you don't like all that stuff then don't expect to succeed.
A new business that starts up and decides to make 'widgets' will go broke pretty quickly if it doesn't market those widgets to people who it thinks might buy them. If the widget maker just says "All I want to do is make widgets" and doesn't advertise, promote and market their widgets, then how successful do you think that widget business will be?
Most people in business don't want to do all this stuff, all they want to do is make their widgets, but unfortunately Marketing and Promotion is often more important than how good your widgets are.

Last week we determined that when you play in a bar with no door charge and are paid by the bar that the bar is your customer and the punters are your consumers.

Now lets see what happens when we put on a door charge...

If your band takes the door it is highly likely that the bar will not pay you a cent. There may in fact be a venue fee that you have to pay given there is no guarantee to the bar that it will be better than an ordinary Saturday night. If you put on a show and 5 people turn up, then its not just you who loses out, the bar loses out as well because it probably would have been a busier night to let people in for free and have no entertainment. The venue fee covers this risk and also ensures that only people who are serious run an event.

In this case the bar changes to become a supplier and you are their customer.
The punters continue to be both your and the bars consumers, however they also become your customer given that you are now trying to sell them something directly. Oh how this changes things.

This doubles the difficulty for you because now you are responsible for both Marketing and Promotion instead of just Marketing.

Not only do you need to Market your brand and tell people that your band is super awesome, you also need to Promote the gig and try and convince people who like your brand to come out and pay money to get in. This is why many bands fail when they step up to taking the door because they simply forget to Market their brand and focus solely on Promoting the gig. If all you do is promotion, then you do not create desire and as a result, activities that are more desirable win out over your event.

Often, when people only do promotion, 10 punters come and then the band blame it on the Rugby or the weather or the venue.
I'd be very rich if I got a dollar for every time I have heard bands blame a rugby game for the failure of their show.
Rugby does not stop people coming to gigs, lack of Marketing does. All that has happened is that the Rugby has done a better job of Marketing itself than you have. It is more desirable to watch the rugby.

In this scenario the venue has zero responsibility to promote your gig, its totally up to you (a good venue will certainly help out).

The venue is focused on Marketing itself to bands who it wants to come and hire its venue and bring punters through the door for it to sell drinks. It wants the best bands it can get (and by best we mean bands that have done the most Marketing).

In this model your band only gets paid if people turn up, however your opportunity to make a lot of money is much greater. You are assuming all the risk so you will also make all the profit if you do a good job.

If your door charge is $10 and 10 people turn up then you make $100 and go home depressed. However if 200 people turn up then you make $2000 and are doing much better than the average plumber.

Here are a couple of examples of Marketing and Promotional messages you would use in this scenario:

Marketing: "Band X is a high energy entertainment experience that always gets everyone up on the dance floor, if you come to one of our shows you are guaranteed to have the best night ever"

Promotion: "Band X is playing at Venue Y on the 5th of November"

A good Venue will do everything it can to help with promotion but lets be clear that in this scenario, its up to you to drive the Promotion and the Marketing. If you don't do both equally well your event will be fail miserably.