From inception to obsoletion, the services and physical products we use every day will experience the product life cycle. We’re not talking about the lifetime of the individual item in your hand. We’re talking about the ultimate future uselessness of a concept. Our most straightforward illustration might be modern cell phones and beepers and pagers of the 1990s. More on that in a moment.

At Onstage Publications, our advertisers are marketing professionals. To stay at the top of our games, we all must acknowledge The Product Life Cycle.

Everything changes! And the hottest concept of today will, ultimately, run its course. With this article, we’ll define the idea and explore how effective marketing can work ahead of the curve.

The Product Life Cycle Defined

From the point of its first insertion into the market, every successful product or service will undergo this pattern. As per Investopedia, the four stages of The Product Life Cycle are:

  • Introduction– a new product hits the market.
  • Growth– the product becomes more popular. Competitors start getting ideas about how to “knock-off” your service or develop worthy add-ons.
  • Maturity– the market is saturated. New versions of the product appear. They may be smaller, faster, cheaper, better.
  • Decline– a new product comes to fill the need

Let’s think back to pagers and beepers in the 90s and the cell phones which obliterated that product. Back then, the average consumer had a landline in their home. Email was a hot new trend. Pagers were a great way to request contact from someone as soon as they reached a landline.

  • Cellular phones were introduced but were only for the elite.
  • As more manufacturers started developing phones, they became cheaper and better. During this growth, more consumers bought their first cell phone.
  • The product matured the moment most US consumers owned a phone.
  • It’s such a competitive industry, some phone manufacturers have been accused of planned obsolescence. They are accused of intentionally shortening the life of cell phones so that consumers will need to purchase more. That’s a sign of decline. There is no more room in the market, no more first-time cell phone users. So manufacturers push new phones early, and we start to get the feeling a new product will be coming to replace them soon.

Let’s reiterate: the cycle is inevitable. Just as cell phones replaced pagers, so will every other product and service be replaced or become obsolete.

Advertising Ahead of the Product Life Cycle

As advertisers, we must see a service or product and know that technology is coming around the bend to replace it. Therefore, our goals as marketing professionals are to use advertising to:

  • Make the most of growth phases, by keeping prices high on new products, and profit margins as wide as possible.
  • Seek more market share as product maturity looms ahead.
  • Endear our products to end-users, as either reliable or luxe.
  • Brand our businesses, making consumers receptive to our next product or solution.

Our Role

Here at Onstage, our business is publishing high-end program books for performing arts organizations. We offer digital signage and our direct mailer to performing arts fans, Artspac.

We would love to talk to you about your specific product or service and help you create the right ads for the right audience, with the knowledge of the Product Life Cycle in mind. Our specialty is marketing to the wealthiest US audiences. These are often the early adopters, the elite, being the ones who could afford cellphones, or who depended on beepers to respond to an emergency. These are the audiences we reach, in an environment that demands their attention.

Our advertisers are like partners to us. We understand your advertising needs, and our success depends on yours. So get in touch with us today!

Related Reading & Resources: History of Pagers & Beepers

Harvard Business Review: Exploit the Product Life Cycle

The advertising industry is worth a minimum of $1.2 Trillion US, per PQ Media’s research published for 2018. Here at Onstage, we expect 2019’s numbers to come back significantly higher. If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you know 2019 was a great year for US business. There’s a reason advertising is a booming business. It works!

But now and then some campaigns seem to miss the mark. Why? Nothing is more perplexing to marketing professionals than an ad that brought little return. Even worse is a campaign that completely bombed. With this article, we’re going to look at research about buyer behavior, and how it translates to advertising exposure counts in particular.

Why Didn’t That Ad Work? 

One older concept in exposure and reach is The Rule of Seven. This adage says a prospect needs to see or hear your marketing message seven times before they decide to make a purchase. This may be a good starting point. In reality, it can take upwards of 20, even as many as 100 exposures before a potential customer becomes a buyer.

  • A single advertisement rarely works well.

Conversely, you can bombard customers with advertising all day long and have a questionable return. Here’s the secret: consumers still won’t buy from you if:

  • They don’t feel a need for a product.
  • They don’t feel comfortable with your company, your image, or your brand.
  • Your corporate image and your reputation aren’t aligned with their personal beliefs. 
  • Your service or product requires more research than they are comfortable with, or have time to accomplish.

Some examples:

  • Nearly half of consumers who got a mortgage loan at a high-interest rate don’t bother to shop for mortgages, even though it could save them a lot of money. They aren’t comfortable doing the research or filling out the paperwork. These consumers don’t feel a real need to get a new mortgage. They already have one, and the relationship may be long-standing. That’s good enough.
  • Tarnished corporate images can repel even dedicated customers. We are reminded of Nike’s major marketing malfunction in 2001 when they admitted to using child labor in third world countries and further admitted the practice would be hard to end.

The point we’re making is that organizations sometimes need to look inwards at their brand and reputation, before challenging the effectiveness of their marketing department. After all, the industry wouldn’t be worth so much if it didn’t work!

The Importance of Consistency

All advertising works best with a single, consistent message.

  • Every time your message changes, you need to start counting exposures again, whether you’re looking for seven, twenty, or more.
  • Changing your message too often can confuse your audience.
  • Mascots and logos are long term marketing investments. Plan on using them for a decade or more!

Check out our posts about Legendary Logos and Killer Ad Copy for more information about how to present a terrific image.

Our Role

At Onstage Publications, we pride ourselves in providing the best in the industry program books to performing arts venues, outstanding digital signage in lobbies and performance halls, and our direct mailer for performing arts fans.

We can promote your business locally, statewide, or nationally all over the US, to an educated and wealthy audience.

Whether you need to saturate a local audience or put your brand on blast nationally, we can help! Contact us today to learn more about the many ways we can provide exposure for your business.

Related Reading & Research

Towers of Zeyron: The Advertising Industry is Now Worth $1.2 Trillion

The Ultimate Guide to Customer Acquisition for 2020

It Takes 6 to 8 Touches to Generate a Viable Sales Lead

2019 has been an outstanding year for the US economy and businesses of all sizes. Gross domestic product (GDP) is up, personal income is up, consumer confidence is high, and interest rates have stayed low. Most US businesses have been happy to revel in the glory of a “Goldilocks” economy – a rare time when our economy has been just right!

But before we all go laughing our collective way to the bank, know that Uncle Sam will be looking for a taste of that pie. And you might be getting slammed with some real income tax increases if you’ve done well this year.

  • One way to lower your taxable income (and use it for business growth) is to maximize your business income deductions, with increased spending on advertising.

Whether you’re a marketing director, advertising agency, or just a Mom & Pop shop, December is the perfect time to move forward with some serious advertising purchases.

Why is December a Great Time to Buy Advertising?

  1. Advertising is a write-off, and you’ll need it this year!

We’re not tax experts at Onstage, but we are a small business ourselves. Most traditional advertising (like our program books & digital signage) is fully deductible.

Talk to your tax professional about the specifics, but generally speaking, any advertising you do will be a write-off. To take those valuable deductions in 2019, most companies will need to spend those dollars by December 31. 

  1. Sales reps are eager! (So are their bosses.)

As the fourth quarter comes to a close, some sales reps are looking to meet monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. December is a slow month for advertising sales reps because:

  • Many businesses feel their ad budgets have been spent for the year, so there is little new business.
  • Decision-makers leave on holiday or become harder to reach.

Sales reps are left struggling to find those last few sales to earn their bonuses. December is a PERFECT time to ask for a bulk discount or other special prices. Those reps and their superiors will do what it takes to get your ad buy! If we were in the real estate business, we would call it a “buyers market.”

Sales managers, supervisors, and corporate notables are also looking to end the year with a bang. So get aggressive and ask for a big campaign guaranteed at December’s price. It never hurts to try!

  1. Use it or lose it.

Some organizations are planning their ad buys for next year, right now. If you haven’t spent your ad budget to the last penny, you’ll be getting less to work with next year. Go ahead and call your favorite advertising sales rep on December 23, they’ll love you for it!

  1. Many companies offer special ad prices. 

Again, in a rush to meet those numbers goals, most advertising media will offer special holiday pricing. Take advantage of them! You’ll get more bang for your buck, and it might be the last time you can get ads at these rates. Some companies will increase their pricing come the new year.

  • Most newspapers raise their rates every January, like clockwork.
  1. Advertising makes a lasting impression this time of year.

Schools close for holidays, employees take vacation time, and families gather together. There’s a reason you notice more automobile advertising on television this time of year…people are spending more time at home and at social outings than during the rest of the year. Careers and education are set aside, leaving more time and energy to be receptive to advertising.

Here at Onstage Publications, we know that your marketing mix has many facets. Hopefully, our luxury program books and experiential marketing at luxury venues are a part of your marketing efforts!

But even if you visit our blog for marketing inspiration, we know you’ll rock through your 2019 income taxes because you’ve maximized your advertising write-offs, and positioned yourself well in the market for next year.

At Onstage Publications we create high-end program books for luxury performance artists and their venues. In our ongoing blog series dedicated to these amazing people and places, we turn our eyes to Billings, Montana.

Join the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale (BSO & C) live at the Lincoln Center in Billings, MT for their historic 69th season! The Lincoln Center is not the usual home of BSO & C, but a temporary change of home isn’t enough to set back these professionals!

Per music director Anne Harrigan “This year [they] will present one of the most exciting seasons in the history of the orchestra as [they] start the ramp-up to the reopening of the Alberta Bair Theater.”

The 2019-2020 Fall / Winter Season Highlights

With tremendous variety in performance art ranging from Gershwin to Stravinsky, and from Celtic to West Side Story, this year’s BSO & C programs are certain to excite the imagination of Billings’ diverse audience.

We are especially excited to hear about the Celtic Christmas concert on December 21, 2019. “Back by popular demand, award-winning Jeremy Kittel, Billings’ favorite fiddler, violinist, and Celtic-influenced composer, is bringing some friends to celebrate the Holiday season.”

More visiting Irish-style artists include guitarist Quinn Bachand; Cillian Vallely, the uilleann pipes and low whistle player and traditional Irish dancing performers.

But beyond their delightful variety of programs, we admire BSO & C most for their community enrichment programs.

Community Involvement

The BSO & C is a community jewel in Billings. Their “Explore Music!” programs are known to reach into the ears and hearts of children, adults and senior citizens every year. While the entire list of their programs is far too extensive to list here, some of our favorite community events include:

For Families

  • The Annual Family Concert: Free tickets make this event family-friendly! Every year it is the same evening as Adventures in Music day (below).
  • Adventures in Music Day:(AiM) offers everyone the chance to try their hand playing various symphony instruments. They also get to hear the BSO&C musicians play and meet them in person!
  • Symphony in the Park:(SiP) is a chance for the Billings community to enjoy some symphony under that big blue Montana sky! There is family fun for everyone, including concessions and an “instrument petting zoo” so everyone can get hands-on with the performance.

For Our Elders

  • The Senior Series: Takes place at seniors memory care facilities, retirement homes and assisted living facilities all over Billings.

For the Youth

  • Musicians in the Community: Per the SPO & C website “musicians use music to begin an open dialogue with students about symphonic music to those attending after school programs. The Boys and Girls Club of Yellowstone County, the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch, and Friendship House are just a few after school programs the BSO&C visits each year.”
  • Musicians in Schools: Billings area students grades K-12 and local college students learn about instruments, and discuss music as a vocation with the musicians.

Onstage Publications For Artists, Fans, and Advertisers

At Onstage Publications our role is to design and publish stunning program books that will be cherished by performance arts fans all around the United States. For performance artists, we attempt to capture their personal artistic flair and bring that to the audience with a tangible book they can enjoy for years.

For our advertisers, we go beyond the traditional program books by offering digital signage at venues and Artspac, our direct mail performing arts newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about a program book for your own performance art group or venue, or learn about advertising directly in Billings and beyond, contact us today!

Related Reading & Resources:

Onstage Publications Program Book: The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale 2019-2020

Billings Gazette: Lincoln Center Has Shaped Education in Billings for 130 Years

Participating and placing ads in performing arts program books is an excellent advertising platform and one that’s often overlooked by many of today’s marketers. There are many reasons why this is a great venue (pardon the pun) when brands are showcased inside a program book. Let’s take a look at these five reasons this type of advertising is pure marketing genius.

  1. Print Ads Are Alive And Well

Given all of today’s technology, often marketers are shying away from utilizing print media citing this form of advertising is “dead or dying” when in fact the exact opposite is true. According to recent statistics, the days of printed program books are very much alive and performing well especially when they’re being utilized as an effective marketing tool. Research has revealed those who read material that’s printed on paper comprehend the information much better compared to when it’s viewed digitally and further stats share:

  • When it comes to paper periodicals, New York magazine increased its single-copy sales by nearly 45% in 2015 and subscription rates for other regularly published materials remain strong within the industry.
  • Compared to digital advertising, 55% of consumers find print media to be a more trustworthy form of marketing.
  • While 80% of traditional paper mail is being opened, the same amount of digital emails are deleted without ever being viewed.
  1. Digital Doubts

Even though the acquisition of either obtaining program books or tickets electronically has been migrating to online platforms, many consumers have concerns about this type of delivery. As data breaches, internet scams, identity theft, hackers and fraud continue to be a problem on the world wide web, many customers are losing confidence with the security of some internet transactions and interactions.

In one memorable example, it wasn’t that long ago when Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg found himself in plenty of hot water following the infamous Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal. And because of the losses suffered due to this breach, more than half of Facebook users have a negative perception of this social media site.

  1. Reliable Reputation

In contrast to our previous presentation showcasing a tremendous loss in consumer trust, theaters, and the performing arts, in general, have a positive impact on the community. Studies have shown participation in creative activities improves our sense of connectedness and widens our social networks. It has also been shown to have a positive impact on our sense of hope, self-worth, and well-being.

Purely by association, the material presented in a program book will most likely have a similar effect on its viewers. This connection will often carry over to how consumers perceive a brand, product or service. Subliminally, this association leads many readers to accept the advertised material is supporting the arts and the community as a whole.

  1. Active Audience

Whether it’s before, during or after an event, a program book literally has an active audience who is interested in the material they have either been presented with or purchased. Since electronic devices are at the very least frowned upon at these venues and the majority of the time they’re disallowed, which means more attention is being paid to program books on multiple occasions throughout the performance.

  1. Collectible Keepsakes

Along with ticket stubs, many people collect or often hang on to these handouts as a memento of their experience. Whether program books are saved for a few days, several years or many decades, they’re still available for review and remembrance. In some cases, rare, signed program books have been auctioned off for hundreds or even thousands of dollars decades after they were published and autographed.

There you have it in a nutshell. With the success of print media continuing to thrive, digital doubts on the rise, an excellent reputation in the industry and an active audience that often continues over time, advertising in program books deserve a standing ovation.

Rather than a single venue, we decided to honor The Virginia Symphony Orchestra (VSO) and several venues they play in the Hampton Roads Region.

The VSO is performing its 99th season this fall, 2019! Congratulations!

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra: They’re All About Community

The VSO is a regional treasure in the Hampton Roads area. We love them because the Symphony does a ton of local community outreach work and supports musical education in Virginia. This year they will enhance the musical learning experience of more than 25,000 students in 11 different school districts.

But their efforts aren’t limited to reaching the young. This year they’ll be serving their Virginia community elders with a “Generations in Unison” initiative, performing specifically to enhance the lives of the elderly and those affected with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

We also love the fact that they offer free concerts for the community. Sometimes the public is welcome to join in! For instance, every September the VSO hosts a free “Comm-UNITY Play-In and Sing-Along”, with music for all levels of performers and singers to join.

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Conductors

JoAnn Falletta

According to the VSO website “JoAnn Falletta is internationally celebrated as a vibrant ambassador for music, an inspiring artistic leader, and a champion of American symphonic music…she has been praised by The Washington Post as having ‘Toscanini’s tight control over ensemble, Walter’s affectionate balancing of inner voices, Stokowski’s gutsy showmanship, and a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein.’

She has guest conducted over a hundred orchestras, many in the United States but also in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. It is under her direction that the VSO has been able to enter a multinational recording agreement; performing classics, pops and family concert series in Williamsburg, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Newport News.

Maestro Falletta is serving her final year with VSO, who is currently searching for her successor. No one has yet been announced as her replacement.

Chorusmaster/Staff Conductor

Robert Shoup

This is Shoup’s 22nd season as Chorus Master and Staff Conductor at VSI. Shoup’s choruses have been called “enthralling” and “completely mesmerizing.”  Per the VSO “His national and international conducting credits include the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra, ensembles from the Prague Radio Orchestra and Czech State Philharmonic, and numerous choral ensembles.”

The Venues:

Previously our blogs focused on the details and history of specific venues. But the VSO seems to perform everywhere in their region. And we love them for it! Below is a list of their various venues, and you can see their full concert schedule here.

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra will be performing at these locations for the 2019 – 2020 fall/winter season:


  • Chrysler Hall
  • Harrison Opera House

Virginia Beach 

  • Sandler Center for the Performing Arts
  • Regent University


  • Crosswalk Community Church
  • Phi Beta Kappa Hall (at the College of William & Mary)
  • Saint Bede Catholic Church
  • Jamestown High School

Newport News

  • First Baptist Church
  • Ferguson Center for the Arts

At Onstage Publications our business centers around luxury program books. Illustrious organizations like the VSO do more than perform classical music. They reach into communities and uplift their neighbors. We are proud to create excellent opportunities for our advertisers to get their name in front of this broad audience, via program books at all of these venues, over and over again for an entire season.

If you’d like to hear more about program book advertising in the Hampton Roads Region with VSO contact us today!

Related Reading & Resources:

Virginia Symphony Orchestra 2019-2020 Program Book

Virginia Symphony Orchestra 2018-2019 Program Book Ed 1

Virginia Symphony Orchestra 2018-2019 Program Book Ed 2

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