Marketing officers handle all the publicity a theatre needs to generate, in print, online and in the press.
What is the job like?
A theatre's marketing officer helps to look after the theatre's public image in order to promote and sell as many tickets as possible, ensuring there is money for the next show.
As a marketing team member, you are part of the staff group who:
- oversee the design and printing of brochures, leaflets and posters
- maintain and update the theatre's website
- come up with ways to attract audiences – these might be special offers on tickets, or an exciting poster campaign
- deal with the press, making sure they have the opportunity to review the show
- monitor what the press are saying about the show in their reviews, and what the audience think of their theatregoing experience
A good marketing officer is able to identify who the show's target audience is. Sometimes this will take some research. They will then work to make sure this target audience is aware of the play and attracted to it, even before the tickets go on sale.
A degree in marketing can help, but try and gain some experience working in a ticket office.
Once you know who you are trying to tell about what, then the task is to spread the word by every means available: advertising, posters, mail shots, the internet, publicity, promotions and press.
The marketing director will usually work with the play’s director, the design department, and the cast to make sure the marketing materials match the show and represent it properly.
How do I get into theatre marketing?
There are plenty of ways to become a marketing officer. Many people start off by working in ticket sales, and move into marketing from there.
Others might start off as a trainee marketing assistant and work their way up.
There are also courses in marketing and management which may help you to build your skills. At school, subjects such as English, IT, business studies and media studies will help you to develop some of the skills you need.
A degree or diploma in marketing can also help, but equally you could try to gain some experience of working in a ticket office, and then add in some short courses. Many English and media graduates work in marketing, but many people who did not study these subjects have also worked their way into the area.
Training in these skills will help round out your CV:
- the basics of graphic design
- IT, particularly managing blogs and websites and promoting them online
There are upsides to both entry routes, but either way, it's important to show that you have a strong interest in theatre, so spend as much time as you can getting involved with local arts events and seeing how these are marketed. Anything you can put on your CV to show that you're really serious about working in the industry will help.
Don’t be afraid to contact your local theatre and ask about chances to gain work experience. Any contacts you make may be able to help you later on.