Creative Program Marketing 101

Whether you’re starting a new Floorball program or hosting an event there is a lot of planning that goes on prior to things happening.

Once you’ve made the decision to move forward it’s important to sit down and hash out your marketing plan.  Some key things to consider is revolve around how you plan to inform people about your program or event.  Do you know what your marketing budget will look like?  Do you have access to sponsors that could help defray the costs?  In today’s world we’re in an interesting mix of generations that didn’t grow up with technology, grew up with technology, and those that don’t know a world without technology.  Your marketing strategy will vary depending on your market.

The obvious choice in marketing for most will be to focus solely on digital media including social media sites, and email blasts.  Depending on what you’ve already set up and the followers you have this can certainly be an effective tool.  Sites like Facebook have advertising options available.  You can set a number of parameters to find your target audience within a varying radius to you or your event.  You can set up an ad for one event or by contacting Facebook can set up a sponsored ad.  In my experience this particular marketing option has been mixed, and I haven’t been able to effectively correlate the expense of the ads to income.  In the end it depends on what you feel is best for your organization as well as how it fits in your budget.

While digital marketing has gained significant focus in marketing there’s still something to be said about print materials.  Print marketing has in many cases slowed down, but it is very much an effective tool to promote your program or event.  In the research I’ve done exploring this topic I found that a lot of it depends on your location.  I surveyed parks and recreation departments in Washington State inquiring about how they promote their programs.  What I found was that print marketing, specifically for the city guide brochure, was still favored yet was declining.  In some cities they had effectively dissolved printing their guide, and had gone completely online.  At the time of the survey Bellevue, WA Parks and Rec, the home of Microsoft, went completely online and in doing so saw a small decrease in programs, but nothing substantial.  However, when more rural cities tried to go completely digital they saw a dramatic drop off in program participation.  It wasn’t until they reintroduced their print materials that they saw an increase in participation.

I’ve found that trying to utilize a mixture of print and digital mediums can help provide a more cohesive marketing plan when specifically targeting a program or event in your local or regional area.  If you’re doing youth programming the kids may be tech savvy, but that doesn’t mean the parents are.  You need to get the info to the people who are paying for the program or event.   Either way you choose to market, get creative to get your message out to the masses.

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