Marketing and the Guthrie, Part Two

In May, I wrote about the new Guthrie Theater’s advertising in downtown Minneapolis. After actually going to the Guthrie on two occasions recently, I thought I follow up post would be valuable. Guthrie

The past
two weekends I went to the Guthrie Theater to have drinks; the first time on a Friday from (roughly) 9:30pm-11:00pm and this past Saturday from 10:30pm – 11:30pm.

The first time I was there, the Guthrie was pretty quiet.Guthrie2
There were roughly 8 couples having dinner while a small band played, and there
were about 15 others in the bar
area of the Cue Restaurant (the main entrance to the Guthrie at night). The higher floors (4, 5 and 9) were also quiet,
until a show let out.

This past Saturday, there was less than 50 people that I saw in the entire building. There was no performance and it was Labor Day weekend, so a smaller crowd would be expected.

The Friday before, there many people around once a performance let out. They were sitting around on chairs and sofas, while others were enjoying the view of the Mississippi or hanging out at one of the many bars. However, while the performance was going on, the Guthrie was, for all intensive purposes, empty.

For a 285,000 square foot facility to sustain itself, it must generate alternative streams of revenue. Ticket sales help, but there are other markets to serve than those willing to pay inflated prices for performances. Alternative revenue will only come in the form of food and, mostly, liquor sales.

The Marketing
The Guthrie is one of the best destinations in all
of Minneapolis and the Twin Cities, as a  whole. 

Drinks are fairly priced — $3.00 for a pint of Sam Adams, $5.75 for a mixed drink, there has yet to be an overwhelming crowd and one can enjoy some of the best views of both the Mississippi River and the downtown skyline. In addition, no area of the Guthrie is off limits to someone that is not attending a play.

This gem, in my opinion, has gone unnoticed. I don’t think the problem is the product. I think it’s the packaging and exposure. Rarely is this the case in marketing. Usually, people in marketing have to fight for great products to bring to market and are left to think of creative ways to gain awareness of a product or service with a tight budget.

My Prescription
For the Guthrie Theater to thrive it must ramp up its marketing efforts to increase exposure, draw in local visitors to build referrals, and draw in out of town visitors through advertising and media relations.

There is my take on the Guthrie. If you have experiences, ideas or suggestions, please post them.

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