Forever After Productions (FAP), a community youth theater company in Southeast Michigan, is currently in the middle of a significant period of growth. In the past two years they have tripled their productions per season, doubled summer camp offerings, introduced acting classes during the school year, and acquired their own studio and scene shop spaces. But while enrollment rates have increased proportionally with the number of shows per season, ticket sales, while still growing, are not growing proportionally, leading to more empty seats per performance.
Forever After is at a critical point in its marketing history, in that failing to develop a more comprehensive marketing strategy to match the increase in product offerings could lead to decreased profit margins per production. Forever After is currently very successful and doing many things well. For example, the product and location strategies have really been improved and are now fueling growth. But if Forever After wants to continue to improve its marketing mix it should begin focusing more on the promotional strategy. The promotion aspect of the marketing strategy needs the most attention because it does not reach members of the target market efficiently or effectively. While budget and time to improve promotional activities is limited, the promotional strategy could be improved through a number of tactics including outreach (reading days with libraries, community service projects, choreography seminars at local schools), sales promotions (partnerships with local restaurants), or more creative advertising methods (calendars, t-shirts) with the help of parent volunteers. A new website is also critical to the promotional strategy since it is a continuous and easily accessible form of promotion. A well-designed website has the potential to be a huge competitive advantage for Forever After, especially when competing for new customers, since the quality of the website may be one of only a few sources by which a potential customer judges the quality of the company vs. the competition. Therefore, the website needs to be redesigned to reflect a more professional brand image. For practical purposes, the website also needs to improve communication between staff, parents, and ticket buyers. Communication is currently one of Forever After’s weaknesses and could easily be fixed with a new website. And finally, audience research would be very helpful in determining the make up of current audiences, the effectiveness of various promotional strategies, and in guiding future endeavors.
Gross, Melanie, "Forever After Productions: 2012 Marketing Plan" (2012). Honors Projects. 142.