In January 2020 marketing personnel from across the PlayOn! Project came together in Linz to meet for the first time, exchange ideas and hear from experts in the field of digital marketing.
After introductions from each theatre we shared our hopes for the project as marketers. The productions for PlayOn present an interesting challenge for the marketing departments with unusual formats and different types of audience interaction.
A tour of Landestheater gave the group insights into the working life of the theatre. From metal and wood workshops to the costume store and theatre spaces we saw how a production at the theatre would be created in the buildings from rehearsal to stage.
Following Katie’s workshop the PlayOn marketing plan was presented to the group along with the team’s strategy for communicating the progress of the project to other professional networks via social media. There was a call for interesting digital material from each theatre to ‘feed’ the project’s website and social media.
The group set of for Arts Electronica, the world’s leading museum dedicated to media arts. In the music section a piano that can replay the exact key strokes of a virtuoso pianist was a highlight of the tour along with artworks that showed how mass data can track and illustrate human behaviour. The visit finished in the Deep Space projector room where super high definition video can be projected across the room and in 3D. Exploring these new technologies was inspiring for the future productions as part of PlayOn and gave the marketing teams an opportunity to play and explore the methods the artists in the project may be using over the four years.
In the afternoon the group reconvened for world cafe discussions covering several topics including the WIKI that will be created as part of the project with an aim to inform the arts sector in Europe around the methodology and technology used as the pioneering projects for PlayOn are produced. We also discussed the challenges of digital marketing for work that involves audience interaction and the D&T labs that will involve collaboration between partner Universities and the theatres.
The discussions were a great opportunity to allow further cultural exchange amongst the group and further understand the practices of each theatre and the marketing departments.
In the afternoon we started the session with Katie Connolly, a digital marketing specialist from the UK. She highlighted the fast-paced and eye-catching nature of digital marketing and showed us several examples from film industry that could be used in theatre. An interesting approach she mentioned was to foreground the story in short-form videos and leave any crediting to the end. There was a wider discussion around the difficulties of leading with the story in marketing rather than the credits when working in more traditional theatre settings.