“Sydney’s Difficult For Us To Market In”: WOMAD Music Festival Marketer

“Sydney’s Difficult For Us To Market In”: WOMAD Music Festival Marketer

Marketing Adelaide-based festival WOMAD (World of Music Adelaide) to Sydneysiders is tricky, according to Nicola Prime, marketing manager at Arts Projects Australia, the company behind WOMAD.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

The annual cultural music festival is held in the Botanic Gardens in Adelaide for four days during March, and while Adelaideans are well aware of its presence and the large marketing plays aren’t needed as much, getting interstaters to come along is a different matter.

“We can have a very physical presence in Adelaide,” Prime told B&T, “so it is a slightly easier audience to get to, which is why we do a focus on interstate. It’s handled separately all together.”

The budget split between interstate and South Australia differs from year to year and the team will target different areas and cities to see where they can make the most difference.

“We find Sydney particularly hard,” said Prime. “Any marketing within Sydney is very costly. Population wise, it’s knowing which areas to target,” which Prime said comes from looking where the tickets are sold.

Sydney’s current population is nearing five million, compared to Adelaide’s 1.25 million.

“It’s also looking at budget,” she added. “How much do you focus on a specific area over perhaps a broader reach somewhere else?”

On the flip side though, Melbourne is a much easier place for the festival to be marketed.

“Even something as simple as doing a mass distribution of our program brochure can work particularly well in those areas,” she said.

Currently, the amount of visitors from interstate to the festival is hovering around 33-40 per cent, which Prime hopes to maintain. Two per cent of visitors are from overseas, meaning the rest is made up of locals.

There’s competition from other festivals around the same time too though.

“You can never rest on your laurels,” said Prime. “There are a couple of festivals on that same weekend that clearly would be our audience as well. You need to keep on top of it all and make sure that we have a good choice.”

When it comes to the marketing techniques used by the festival, Prime said they’ve followed trend and put less into print this year. That’s not to say WOMAD doesn’t ignore print all together. One of the festival’s largest marketing expenses in fact is its pre-program for the event which is distributed via street marketing, and inserted in publications.

“That is often then the trigger to push people to the website to explore more,” said Prime.

Cinema has been a big player for WOMAD this year, she added, with the festival utilising its partnership with Val Morgan Cinema. Sponsors too help get the word out there, as does social media and local radio.

“The challenge is having a marketing budget that doesn’t necessarily grow to include all the extra digital elements that need to happen now, so we have to think very strategically about partnerships as well and how that can work for us.”

B&T travelled to WOMAD this year as a guest of The Guardian. Lead image credit: Scott Oates for The Guardian.