Advertising and Promotion – What’s the Difference


Creating an online marketing plan and strategy can be overwhelming. Especially if you don’t have any formal marketing or theater training.

I’ve put this blog together to help sort out the difference between advertising your play and promotions.

Advertising and promotions are two words that may be thought of as the same but they definitely are not.

They both may come under the same umbrella when creating your marketing and promotional plan but when you dig deeper in creating a plan for each one that is where you will find the difference.

Advertising (Paid Media) is a form of paid sponsorship. You pay your local media to run your ad for a set time frame. For instance, when you take out an ad in your local newspaper to advertise your upcoming play or musical. The objective is to increase the number of tickets sold for your production within a certain time frame. There are many benefits of advertising. The main one is that an ad can give you a lot of exposure to a wide audience.  A negative though is it can be expensive.

Promotions  (Free) – there are different types of promotions but for this purpose of theater usually promotions is a short term incentive to encourage someone to purchase tickets to your show.  Buyers love incentives as they get something in return or a possibility of something in return with no risk to them.  It can also help push the product of your play into a new market. There are several benefits of running a promotional campaign with the main one being that it attracts attention and gives potential customers an incentive to purchase tickets that may not have bought otherwise. It can cause a sense of urgency and a quick response from consumers.  Typically promotions usually are considered the free portion of advertising but the real negative to promotions is that there could be a cost in it. For example, if you run a promotion offering two for one tickets – then you are losing out on that one ticket sale or if you offer a discount you will not receive full ticket price.

Basically, you see that advertising is paid media and promotions is the free portion in your marketing campaign. Both have common goals but are very different when you take a closer look.

Leave me a comment if this blog has helped you with marketing your play or musical or reach out to me if you have a question. I’d love to hear from you to help you dramatically grow your audience.

Break legs, everyone!