In the last 6 months or so, we’ve had a breath of fresh air with two new faces in Cobourg: Ken Prue and Antonio Sarmiento. Both are in the arts and both are good – or maybe great – marketers.
Ken is the new owner of the Northumberland Mall Theatres and not only has he upgraded the quality of projection and the choice of movies, but he has done a tremendous job in getting the word out. We now have a web site updated weekly; we have ads in the local paper with the program; he has frequent reviews of movies in the paper; he has a popular emailing list; he stages special events; he has integrated with the very popular Film Sundays non-profit group. None of this was done before.
Antonio took on the lease of the Park Playhouse and he too believes that you need to market your shows as well as putting on good ones. His selection of shows is not that much different to what the owner (Rocky Varcoe) was putting on before – the difference is the quality of his marketing. Antonio shows his face at shows; he talks to patrons; he makes them feel loved. He participates in local events – even street shows like the Harvest Festival. He makes sure he gets local press coverage; he cooperates with other groups; he shows movies too. It helps that he is also an accomplished artist himself – he has acted in and I think directed a couple of shows. His activity and personality has made many people in Cobourg want the Park to succeed – not just because we want the venue to succeed but also because we want him to succeed.
If these two can do well getting the arts scene on the map, why not others? There are some good Arts groups in Cobourg: Northumberland Players, Northumberland Orchestra & Choir, Victorian Operetta Society, Oriana Singers. They all put on performances. The Arts Council tries to promote them all and even has a good web site but measured by growth in awareness, none are anywhere near as effective at Marketing as Ken and Antonio.
Although I’ve spelled out some of the things that these two do, the main thing they do is simply work at it – they put thinking, expertise and effort into it. The most successful enterprises always include a lot of work, effort and focus. Other things, yes, but mostly hard work – and it’s especially needed for arts enterprises. Cobourg is lucky to have these two here.