The festival scene has grown massively in recent years which is excellent, especially after years of being out of action due to the pandemic. This is great, as most people who have ever attended a festival have fond memories of the sights and sounds they experienced, and the tasty food they ate.

Even the unpredictable British weather doesn’t stop keen festival-goers from having the time of their lives! Festivals have really diversified too. From the most well known, such as Glastonbury and Leeds, festivals have now branched out to cover virtually every type of music, arts, and food and drink around. Today, festivals are available in a multitude of scales, each offering a varying range of experiences.

However, with so many different festivals to choose from, especially in Summer, how a festival markets themselves is crucial to its success. And marketing is nothing without a strategy.

Why your festival needs a marketing strategy

An effective marketing strategy builds anticipation and creates excitement leading up to your event. Ideally, it should be both tailored to your target audience and wide-reaching enough to attract a whole new audience as well.

Here are a few tips about how to get your marketing strategy just right.

Research your target audience

You should start the planning of any festival well in advance – certainly months not weeks before. This means that you should create and implement your marketing strategy well ahead of the date of the event too.

One of the first things you should do is research your target audience. Everything about your marketing strategy should be aimed for your target audience. So, you really need to understand your audience inside out. Many brands now create an audience persona as this can really help you to communicate with your audience effectively. Trying to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and head helps you to get on their wavelength.

Researching your audience will also help you to decide which particular social channels and platforms would be best to use to market your festival.

Create an engaging and exciting brand

You want to do all you can to boost brand recognition as this is a brilliant way to make your festival stand out from the crowd. In practice, what this means is stylish graphics for your event. Use a suitable colour palette, a great logo, and eye-catching typography. You need to have a consistent tone across all the social channels you intend to use.

Use multichannel marketing

Although your brand’s tone and message should be consistent across the piece, it’s important that everything you post isn’t just the same. Each social media platform has its own unique features and nuances. You need to leverage these effectively to be successful in appealing to your audience.

The best festival marketing strategies use a multichannel marketing approach. It’s important to use more than one marketing platform. A combination of digital and traditional methods is usually the best way to reach a larger audience.

In addition to social media, you should have an email marketing campaign. It’s also well worth reaching out to local media outlets. Radio stations, local newspaper, and community groups all need to know about your event.

Don’t be afraid of going ‘old school’ either. Bold and colourful flyers and leaflets can still have a place in a modern marketing strategy. They can be posted through letterboxes – or left around local locations that gets the most footfall.

Widening the reach of your marketing reinforces your message. In all honesty, if somebody scrolls past just one post on Insta promoting your festival, they may well just keep on scrolling and not really give it a second thought.

However, if they see an Insta post, an email, a flyer in a shop, and hear about it on the radio, the impact is likely to be far greater.

Published to The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) blog – 26 October 2023.