Promotion is one facet of marketing. This Saturday I saw an excellent example of promotion at the National Gallery of Victoria. It was the last week of the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit and the gallery was open from late in the evening to midnight.
As an after dinner event with music and a party-like atmosphere it had the potential to be a great date night, mother-daugher bonding activity or family outing.
The gallery provided the option of purchasing the tickets prior to the event, which I did to avoid queues at the door.
I arrived at the National Gallery at 8pm and so did several hundred other people. Unfortunately, most of these people had also pre-purchased their tickets and I was left waiting in a line outside the gallery, then a smaller line to collect a wrist band, followed by a large line to be given access to the exhibit and then finally another smaller line waiting to make my way into the exhibition. Four lines, and more than an hour later, I finally made it to an exhibition that took two hours to see.
Had I gone to the National Gallery of Victoria at 10:30pm I would not have had that problem, but like many others I had made the decision to go there after dinner. This experience is an example of what happens when promotion goes too well.
There was a great deal of thought put into the creative collateral developed for this exhibition as well as Public Relations and digital content, however, what the National Gallery of Victoria has not done is manage the follow through effectively.
Marketing is more than promotion, it extends to the entire customer experience. From initial contact, to purchase and then interaction, the right marketing should provide a consistent experience.
My experience with the exhibition itself and the purchasing of tickets was a positive one. However having to wait in line with several hundred people was not pleasant.
So what would we recommend to provide your customers with the best possible experience?
It starts by looking at what experience you want to create, and then following this through the entire marketing process.
Marketing strategy can enable you to streamline the mix of marketing tools that create a consistent experience.
For this particular example, while the National Gallery of Victoria created a sufficient amount of excitement around the exhibition; what they did not do was create a positive overall experience. The result diminished the value I had for this particular exhibition.
This could have been avoided by doing the following:
- Gathering demographics about participants to gain an understanding of potential purchasing habits and behavioural patterns;
- Streamlining viewings by staggering attendance times;
- Notifying individuals of peak periods and estimated wait times;
- Creating events around peak periods such as themed dinners or pre dinner exhibitions;
- Working with other venues around the gallery to provide pre and post entertainment.
Promotion is one aspect of marketing. Creating an experience requires looking beyond this. The next time you want to promote something, avoid the trap the National Gallery of Victoria fell into with the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition and consider promotions to be one part of your marketing mix.