Saturday, June 9, 2007

Mix Up Your DRTV Marketing Mix

When San Diego's modern art museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), decided to market its expanded downtown location early this year, it wanted to attract an entirely new population of museum-goers -- young ones. Specifically, the museum wanted to find art lovers under the age of 25, to whom it would offer free admission.

There was one problem, though. Used to interacting with an older audience via traditional advertisements, the museum realized that its tried-and-true media buying and marketing tools were the very same ones being rejected as suspect and old fashioned by most modern-day young people. A standard newspaper ad would no longer do. It needed something different.

"Our greatest results are coming from a combination of more traditional media outlets with other, more extreme non-traditional ones," says Jonathan Bailey, CEO of Bailey Gardiner, the San Diego-based integrated marketing company that MCASD hired to help it reach its new demographic. "Our ideal strategy for clients is at least a 50 percent spend on non-traditional mediums."

The strategy his team recommended for MCASD was no different. The museum launched a traditional ad campaign via magazines and billboards in order to reach its older base of customers. It coupled that, however, with an interactive viral Web site,, designed to encourage younger consumers to "feed their greedy organ" -- their eyes -- with a free visit to the museum. The museum's traditional ads drove traffic to the non-traditional Web site, resulting in a 200 percent increase in museum attendance by the under-25 set.

The lesson for small business owners is this: In order to succeed with your marketing dollars, integrate, innovate and interact. "You need every marketing dollar to count," Bailey says, "so simply relying on methods that might work for Fortune 500 companies and household brand names will not work for emerging companies."