Nearly every US business has been affected by the Coronavirus. We’ve touched on this with another recent blog – where we noted that successful advertisers are changing their marketing messages nationwide in response to the COVID-19 situation.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at the changes being made by the most experienced marketing professionals, and the operational changes happening at the most influential organizations. As always, feel free to reach out to our branding experts at Onstage if you’d like to learn more.

Company Actions Are the Best Advertising – Let’s Focus on Health, Safety, and Community Goodwill

You may have noticed that we write about auto brands regularly in our blogs, and dominant fast food chains too. That’s because these industries have astonishing advertising budgets, brilliant marketing teams, and nationwide (or global) presence.

  • They employ the world’s marketing masters by the hundreds, providing observers with many thousands of years of combined marketing experience.

One thing these American marketing gurus always do during troubling times is to solidify their message of family, safety and patriotic community.

General Motors Response

General Motors (GM) is a longstanding – even historic – American brand we’re sure you know. Setting auto sales entirely aside for the moment, they have committed to manufacture 1.5 million masks and 10,000 much-needed ventilators monthly to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • Addressing the global shortage of personal protective equipment(PPE) further, GM has tasked it’s massive global procurement departments to find more PPE and more supplies.
  • They’ve also provided free OnStar Crisis assistance to current GM vehicle owners for the time being.

We realize that not every organization has the resources or scope of GM. Still, their actions can be a positive motivator for all of us in business, and a proud example for the American public. We’re all cheering for them!

Ford’s Response to No March Madness

Ford had a peppy campaign planned for it’s usual March Madness (basketball tournament) advertising this season. But the tournament’s been canceled due to COVID-19.

The current cultural climate in the US wouldn’t accept lighthearted advertising. Ford has replaced those peppy commercials with financial relief awareness, as they offer temporary relief of loan payments for Ford owners.

Some of Ford’s new taglines are:

  • Built Ford Proud
  • Built for Right Now
  • Built to Lend a Hand

Again, we must point out, the businesses that come through COVID-19 best will make efforts to manage their marketing campaigns dynamically, never pulling them.

Some Good News: Many American Businesses Are Flourishing

This blog says it well: “some companies have seen soaring growth due to COVID-19. The publicly traded video conferencing platform Zoom… has seen its stock rise, as have delivery services as most Americans try to ‘shelter in place.'”

  • Some larger organizations – like pet-products supplier Chewy, and meal kit company Blue Apron, have been blindsided by surging sales over the past weeks.
  • A tremendous boost in online shopping an eCommerce sales may continue, as a home-bound audience expects a significant stimulus check.

Ultimately, the advertising landscape is changing rapidly, and supply chains are stressed, which leads us to our final point.

Advertisers Should Seek to Build Their Brand – Not Move Specific Products

Throughout the past decade’s we’ve occasionally experienced supply chain struggles, though nothing like what we’re coping with today. Around the globe:

  • ships are stuck at sea
  • containers are sitting untouched
  • freight and logistics companies are overwhelmed
  • raw materials, plants and workers are being diverted for medical device manufacturing

It would be a mistake to market specific products that cannot be immediately replenished. Even long-time customers will turn to your competitors for products they ordered but never received. It’s better to be upfront about stocking struggles and provide a positive message of health and safety.

Here at Onstage, our products are luxury-level advertising media like program books for the performing arts, and digital signage at luxury venues. Contact us to talk more about how companies are changing their focus for COVID-19, or leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Related Reading & Resources: How Companies Are Changing Track to Fight COVID-19 Coronavirus Small Business Guide Blog: Advertising Vs Coronavirus: Part One – Ad Tech The Advertising Industry Must Act Now to Combat the Coronavirus


As performing arts marketing professionals with amazing venues across the nation, we work with thousands of advertisers. As marketing evolves year after year, we must stay on top of the latest advertising trends and provide those insights to our clients. Our goal is to be more than just your resource for performing arts program book advertising, but also your go-to blog for any new, relevant marketing insight.

With that goal in mind, we’d like to make you aware of some modern sales support tools and marketing materials, beyond our products, that can be leveraged well with luxury event advertising at performing arts events, along with the tried and true classics that still work today.

Sales Support Tools & Marketing Collateral Defined

Sales support tools are items or technology your sales reps use as tools to help make a sale. Every organization is unique, but see them as:

  • printed catalogs
  • flyers & handouts
  • client testimonials
  • and anything sales staff uses to explain your product to a potential customer

Marketing Collateral is much the same. It expands past your sales rep’s efforts with a client. Before, during and after a sale, marketing collateral might come in the form of:

  • program book advertising
  • opt-in emails
  • direct mail campaigns (like Artspac, our direct mail program for performing arts fans)
  • out of home advertising (like performing arts venue digital signage)
  • customer satisfaction surveys
  • websites, reviews, blogs
  • social media posts
  • anything that supports your brand to the customer

For example, you receive an invitation to a seminar to talk about a timeshare. That’s marketing collateral. You attend the workshop, where a sales rep provides you with brochures, those are sales support tools. A week after the presentation, you receive a postcard asking about your experience. That’s marketing collateral again.

The point we’re making is that these marketing tools work wonderfully together!

Marketing Tools “To – Do” List for 2020

  1. Focus on Content Marketing / Blogs– We think Robert Kataisays it well “Content marketing is one of the most effective marketing collaterals. It’s good for awareness, for influence, and to spread the word on your products and / or services.” In our tech-savvy era, consumers are continually seeking information about the products and the services they use, or those they would like to try.
  • Blog posts, paired with a solid SEO campaign, can reach a vast audience.
  • In terms of Return on Marketing Investment(ROMI), blogs, web content, and the resulting SEO benefits may be the best marketing investment you’ll ever make.
  • Unique, quality content will be appropriate for years to come.
  • In addition to reinforcing your brand to potential customers, blogs give consumers a chance to get to know your business and your values.
  1. Create Brochures– Contrary to what you might have read in recent years print is NOT dead. Consumers have indeed moved away from printed newspapers and magazine subscriptions. But high-quality brochures are a different animal.
  • Like our luxury program books, quality brochures are durable and kept to be reviewed many times.
  • The key is to provide just enough problem-solving information on a brochure.
  • Don’t overwhelm the audience with too much information or marketing noise.

If you’re already using brochures in your marketing mix, that’s terrific! 2020 is the perfect year to give them a facelift, and a push with related digital signage and program book advertising.

  1. Reinvent Your Tradeshow Trinkets – We’re using this category to lump together all the little trinkets you might use as collateral marketing materials. Think of them as:
  • pens
  • notepads
  • coffee mugs
  • refrigerator magnets

All the trinkets a business might make to distribute at a trade show, music festival, or experiential marketing opportunity fall in this category.

This year, reinvent your trinkets. Offer a more valuable novelty that will be kept and used by the customer, and use it to drive customers to your website.

Avoid cheesy trinkets! Modern consumers have little use for clickers, laser light key chains, or coin purses. Your marketing money will be better spent on quality, meaningful goods that your customers will have a use for.

Here at Onstage, our products are digital signage at performing arts venues, luxury-level program books, and our direct mailer, Artspac. We’d love to work hand-in-hand with your marketing department to develop a program book advertising campaign that works with the sales support and marketing collateral you’re using in 2020. So get in touch with us today!

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

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Engage with the engagement experts.

Send us a quick email with your questions and contact info.

Schedule a time to talk with Norm about how Onstage can help your Performing Arts Organization.

Use our program book calculator to find out how much we can save you.