Being a Marketing and Sales Officer
Lauren Forde is the Marketing and Sales Officer at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds. She explains why her role is important to the theatre, what skills are needed for the work and how you can get into a marketing career.
There are three different parts to my job: sales/marketing, the coordination of school and group bookings and general everyday tasks.
- Analyse data to see which shows are doing well and which are not (determined on their target, current monetary yield and seats sold and the deal memo drawn up between the theatre and the visiting company)
- Campaign planning for shows to increase sales
- Creating attractive emails to encourage ticket sales
- Creation of post cards to send out with offers/discounts
- Making sure the print (posters & leaflets) around the theatre are up to date
- Writing letters to be sent out to encourage ticket sales
- Creating Facebook adverts and posts to generate interest in shows
- Tracking how many sales each method of communication (email, letter, advert, etc) generates
- Creating newsletters for both theatre updates and upcoming shows
- Updating trackers for certain shows, theatre revenue and workshops
School & Group Bookings:
- Calling round schools and encouraging them to come to the theatre
- Taking bookings for schools and large groups
- Keeping in contact with the schools to update reservation numbers
- Confirming bookings and sending out the relevant paperwork (we usually send out an invoice for them to make payment, a seating plan, health and safety information, a letter of confirmation and an ice-cream form!)
- Making sure payment is received
- Sending out discounts and group ticket information to the relevant people
- Updating the website (adding show trailers and images to the events, updating the Associate Artists pages, general edits, etc)
- Taking Box Office calls and making bookings
- Keeping the print room tidy
- Processing the post once a week
What skills are needed for this role?
- Time management
- Team work
- Using initiative
- Spoken and written language
- Ability to prioritise
- Confidence in my own work and asking for help/advice from others
- Customer service
- Willingness to work hard
- Ability to spot patterns
Previous work experience?
Throughout my working life I have had a variety of different roles in a variety of different industries.
Although not glamorous, my first job working as a Pool Attendant on a holiday park was an experience that I am really grateful for.
The summer between my first two years at university, I decided that I should probably experience the working world.
If there is one thing you need most in jobs like these, it's passion.
It was hard, sometimes boring and sometimes fun but ultimately helped me develop skills that every role I’ve had since has been building upon.
During my time studying at University of Suffolk, I have to admit, I had a rush of panic that my CV was not bulked out enough and I hadn’t had much experience.
This led to me volunteering at Ipswich Art Museum and Gallery where I welcomed visitors and helped with exhibitions.
This allowed me to develop key industry skills such as patience and customer interaction.
I also worked for my university as a Student Ambassador. This involved working open days, showing people around the university, promoting our courses and events, running workshops for schools and colleges, mail stuffings and holding taster days for potential students.
All of these jobs allowed me to develop skills that are both beneficial and necessary to my current role.
Initially, I did not want to work whilst at university. Not because I didn’t need the money but because I was worried about the effect it would have on my work.
It took me a while but after applying and getting the job as a Library Assistant, I realised how much it helped me.
I was gaining professional knowledge and experience that, although the job was unrelated to my degree, allowed me to understand how theory can be put to practice.
Take every opportunity to learn from the experiences and people around you because that knowledge and those connections, are invaluable
University is great and I loved my course but what a degree doesn’t teach you, is what the working world is like.
The education they give you and opportunities for placement is so worthwhile but there is nothing like actually experiencing life as a fully-fledged working adult to make you push yourself to do better!
During my final year of university, I was required to complete 10 days of placement within an area of professional writing.
Originally, I tried to get placement within a variety of publishing houses however the lack of replies to my multitude of emails showed me that publishing houses are busy places.
My lecturer at this point stepped in and had been in contact with the Assistant Marketing Manager at The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich who had agreed to meet me.
My placement there was one of the best things that I have done. The skills that I gained and the knowledge I received was incredible.
It was the connections that I made whilst there that led me to my current role.
My placement took part during the Assistant Marketing Manager’s final weeks at New Wolsey and after receiving the role of Marketing Manager here at Theatre Royal, he went on to create a new marketing team and made me aware that they were hiring.
A lengthy form, a tonne of nerves and an interview later, I was given the role of Marketing and Sales Officer at Theatre Royal.
What education and training have you done?
- TheatreTrain – 6 years
- Various GCSE’s & A-Levels
- BA (Hons) English Degree at University of Suffolk
Tips for a creative career
So many people are dead set on the jobs that they want to do, that they turn down opportunities for experience. This is the worst thing you could do!
There is so much you can learn from doing odd little jobs that you initially turn your nose up at.
Sometimes you have to work your way up and sometimes you do have to do jobs that you don’t want to do.
Just remember that everything is a learning experience. Everything you do is leading you to where you need to be.
Take every opportunity to learn from the experiences and people around you because that knowledge and those connections, are invaluable.
I never would have actively looked for work in the marketing department of a theatre on my own.
One, because I’d never really considered the fact that there was a whole team of people behind the scenes working exclusively on the sales and promotion of shows!
And two, because my degree was in English. What did I know about marketing?
Don't be scared to go beyond your comfort zone or try something that you’ve never considered because it may end up leading you to the career that you never knew you wanted!
Don’t give up. Ever. Even when you have those hard days where you have a sudden realisation that you have no idea what you’re doing.
Keep going, keep learning and push through!
If you get stuck then ask questions, ask them constantly over and over again until the other person is sick of answering but you finally understand.
People underestimate the focus and drive you have to have to be successful in a creative career, but if there is one thing you need most in jobs like these, it's passion.