How to write a marketing plan for live theatres

Written by erica tambien
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How to write a marketing plan for live theatres
Your marketing plan is a road map to your live theatre's goals. (theatre image by Luisafer from

Before you can write a marketing plan, you must conduct research on potential clients and competitors. You'll use this information to formulate your plan and support your decisions. When you're ready to put your live theatre marketing plan to paper, use this guide to write the components you need.

A typical marketing plan is divided up into several sections. These pieces can vary depending upon your organisation and your particular needs but some sections are standard including SWOT analysis, the target market, advertising and goals and accountability.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Compile your theatre's strengths, and compare them to the competition. Strengths are unique advantages an organisation has that cannot be easily duplicated. Perhaps your live theatre has a knack for finding and presenting avant-garde material.

  2. 2

    Outline your company's weaknesses and those of your competitors. If your stage is particularly small and you cannot present space-consuming productions, this would be considered a weakness.

  3. 3

    Identify market opportunities. Opportunities are positive external factors; you don't have control over them. If general interest in the theatre increases; that trend is positive for all live theatre owners.

  4. 4

    Identify market threats. Threats are external factors that are potentially harmful to you and your competitors. For example, if families across the nation start slashing their entertainment budgets, that's bad news for all entertainment providers.

  1. 1

    Identify potential customers. Let market research and your theatre's strengths be your guide for your selection. Use detailed characteristics such as age, education and gender to define your market.

  2. 2

    Mention how many people there are in your target market. Look to census information, public records and personalised market research reports to get the statistics you need.

  3. 3

    Support your target selection. For example, if your theatre's strength is presenting cutting-edge material and this kind of work is most appealing to young theatergoers, it makes sense to target these individuals.

  1. 1

    Describe in detail every marketing channel you plan to use to reach your target. Support your advertising choices with market research. If people with a college education are more likely to go to the theatre, it makes sense to advertise in college alumni magazines.

  2. 2

    Include rough drafts for television, radio and print spots. Even if elements change when you actually produce the piece, this section will define the general direction you want to go in.

  3. 3

    Place budget information for each element of your plan. Include estimated costs to run every commercial, design every ad and mail every donation letter.

  1. 1

    Outline the marketing goals of your plan in this section. You goals may be a certain number of ticket sales, purchases by a particular group or even more donations.

  2. 2

    Summarise a strategy to measure your plan's effectiveness. If you theatre plans to run an ad that includes a coupon, you may measure the success of the piece by the coupon redemption rate.

  3. 3

    Include time lines and summarise your course of action if things do not go as planned. In the previous example you may decide to stop running the ad if less than 1,000 coupons are redeemed by a certain date.

Tips and warnings

  • Other live theatres aren't the only competitors to your business. Entertainment alternatives such as cinemas are also competitors sharing your market.

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