Friday, March 6, 2015

The making (and sharing) of Prologue's school catalogue

Every year in March, once Prologue's Programme Committee has decided who will be on the roster for the coming school year, we start gathering information on the returning/new shows from returning/new artists and companies. The school catalogue is the single most important marketing tool to promote them to the school. 

Every year in early April, we have to hunt down, call back, launch email guerilla and cajole artists in order to get missing pieces to complete the catalogue, which goes to the printer by mid-April.

In May, we send it to thousands of schools throughout Ontario, as well as hundreds of stakeholders. It is passed along by the principals to the teachers responsible for the arts education and shared with the school council. We have even heard about students committees flipping through the catalogue to select the shows they want to bring to their school next year. 

That takes care of the early buyers of shows. In September, we send another round of catalogues to a reduced list of schools as a reminder. And we distribute more catalogues to all the events we attend throughout the year.

Is that it? No!!!
In May, we use the information gathered for the new catalogue to update our website and make changes in the contracts for the next school year.

Then, we proceed to "milk that cow for all it's worth", creating PDF versions of the catalogue to reach more people by emails, on our website (under the SCHOOL section) and in our blog (accessible from the top menu).

Every time someone calls to be sent a printed version of the catalogue, we email the PDF to them so they have look until they receive their catalogue through the mail.

Thanks to the flexibility of the PDF format, we are also able to create at no cost partial catalogues to serve specific needs or special events throughout the year. For example, for year 2014-2015:

• We created a special catalogue for our partner the TDSB, including only the performances eligible for the TDSB program of subsidized school performances.

• We prepared a special Black History Month catalogue which was emailed before February. 

• We also created themed catalogues to help the buyers easily find what they want according to their interest, including Aboriginal Education, Music performances, French shows.

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