We managed to get our best audience ever (I think) for Sunday’s concert. You might think that it’s easy for a group called The Lewes Singers to pull in the crowds in its home town. But it’s not – there’s a lot of competition (for example, a big concert in the town hall the night before, and another directly clashing with ours). We don’t perform or even get together that often. We are more like a group of friends who enjoy singing – there’s no committee or organisation, no subs, no chances for members to ‘pay their way’ by working tirelessly on promotion.
I’m not saying this by way of complaint – these are all characteristics which I think bind us closer and add to our enjoyment! But since publicity is inevitably my bag, I admit I do wring my hands over it.
We do always have professional printed material, even if we’re not that efficient at distributing it! However, both Nick (who conducts other choirs) and our members did a great job of word-of-mouth publicising the event.
Given our small resources (we were only 17 singers on Sunday, and not all live in Lewes or the surrounds) and relative lack of interest from local media (volunteer-produced Lewes News excepted – they printed our story and are always great about supporting community events) we did very well to fill the church.
Our biggest asset is our singers – we recruit the best choral singers we can and aim to be as near to professional as dammit.
Naturally, having a great product is key. No-one likes to admit it, but if what you’re doing is less than excellent (and let’s face it, true excellence is rare), a well-oiled publicity machine can go a long way to compensate.
But as a (21st century) marketer I tend to believe that if the steak is good, you don’t have to throw as much time and money at the sizzle. Which may be why I’m reluctant to shout from the rooftops about how genuinely great the Lewes Singers are. I want people to find out for themselves, not be ground down by endless advertising and hyperbole. There’s too much advertising out there, most of it promoting unexceptional stuff, and I just don’t want us to be a part of that. Is that too idealistic?