Whether you are an airline pilot, or the driver of a car, you have gauges that you look at to make sure you don’t crash.

Making sure your performing arts program book or playbill advertising sales canvas is a success is no different. There are gauges to be looked at that will make for a smooth landing!

There are 4 main gauges that should be looked at daily during your program book advertising sales canvas.


Renewal advertisers are your base of revenue. All the advertisers that were sold the previous season is now the starting point of your revenue for the new season.

Make sure that all trades and sponsors are pulled out of this number. Paid advertisers are the only ones that you want in this number.

You want to watch renewals closely so that you can see where you will need to concentrate your efforts as the sales canvas goes on.

For example, if you see that you are experiencing quite a bit of cancellations, then you will want to make sure you are putting an extra emphasis on prospecting for new program book or playbill advertisers so that your pipeline is full to make up for the lost advertisers.

Of note, there seems to be a misconception that previous program book advertisers are easy to renew. Make no mistake about it, renewals need to be handled just as carefully as new advertisers, and can sometimes take longer to cultivate than a new sale. So plan your canvas accordingly.


The increase to advertiser is going to be the renewal account that increases what they were doing the previous season.

For example, an advertiser may have had a ½ page color program book or playbill ad the previous season, but this season you convinced them to go with a full-page color ad.

The difference between what they were paying last season and this season is going to be the increase to the advertiser.

You want to watch this number because it will tell you in a sense how strong your product is, as well as your market.

If advertisers are increasing their advertising in your program book or playbill, they know it is working and want more of it. You may also want to consider raising the advertising rates a bit for the next season if you are seeing this.

On the flip side, if you find advertisers are keeping their advertising as is, or cancelling, there may be a problem with the program book quality itself, the quality of the season’s line-up, etc.

You can gather a lot of information from this number.


Just as you have increases to advertisers, you will experience the complete opposite with previous advertisers that want to cut or completely cancel their advertising. This is your decrease and loss.

This number needs to be watched like a hawk, and will make or break your program book advertising sales canvas.

Be careful of your program book reps “holding onto loss.” If your program book advertising sales compensation plan penalizes for decrease and loss, which it should, you need to make sure that your reps don’t dump all their loss at the end of the canvas. Because then you have no time to make up for this loss with new sales.


What’s in the pipeline?

After you have a handle on your renewals, increase to advertiser and your decrease and loss, you can pretty much predict where your program book advertising sales canvas will end up if you also have a good handle on your pipeline of new advertisers.

By knowing what your program book sales reps have in their pipeline, a good sales manager will be able to see what percentage of these prospects will convert into actual program book or playbill advertisers and project out where the program book advertising sales canvas will end up.

To the novice, an airplane cockpit looks overwhelming with all the gauges and dials. But to the professional pilot, the cockpit is just another day at work.

And just like with program book advertising sales, to the professional sales rep it’s just another day of hitting their objective. Good selling!

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