What do you want to become?
CONCERT HALL MARKETING DIRECTOR
Alternate Career Titles:
Director of Marketing, Marketing Manager
Career Overview: Concert Hall Marketing Directors work to promote live events by sending email blasts, creating posters, advertising in local media, and overseeing the venue’s social media.
Career Salary Range: $25,000 to $100,000+
Become a Concert Hall Marketing Director
Concert Hall Marketing Director Chris Peimann handles marketing and publicity for the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries in St. Louis, MO. “The great thing about my job is that I never have a typical day,” she tells us, “but most days I begin by checking email and phone messages and responding to any customers, vendors (such as printers, designers, etc.) or [to] coworkers’ needs. The rest of the day could entail designing an email blast, posters or fliers to advertise upcoming concerts and gallery exhibits; writing a press release or information for our website to let the press (radio stations and newspapers, etc.) know about events we have coming up; posting interesting photos, videos or fun facts on our Facebook and Twitter pages; meeting with other Marketing Directors in town to talk about how we can cross-promote each other’s performances; turning in bills and tracking expenses to make sure we are staying within our budgets; setting up interview with musicians and artists to talk with Reporters; and coordinating the printing of brochures and advertisements. My day rarely ends at 5 p.m. but the jobs are so interesting and diverse, I never watch the clock. Time flies by!”
Concert Hall Marketing Directors spend most of their time working with members of their own department, although they often partner with Marketing Directors at other community organizations to coordinate exciting events and promotions. They also work with Concert Hall Managers, Talent Buyers, and other behind-the-scenes professionals who set up events at the venue.
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“Most Marketing Directors start out in entry-level positions such as Marketing Coordinators, Marketing Assistants or other similar jobs, and work their way up from there,” Peimann says. “I started at The Sheldon as Marketing Assistant and after about five years was promoted to Marketing Coordinator. Three years later, our Marketing Director left, and I was promoted to her position, and have served in that capacity ever since.”
Education & Training
A college degree is a necessity for high-level marketing positions like Marketing Director. “Of course, a degree in Communications, Marketing or Public Relations is ideal, but English, Music or other ‘creative’ majors in college are very useful as well,” Peimann says. “The most valuable thing I think a student can do is get experience working at an arts venue while in school. I think doing one (or more) internships at arts organizations, or in other marketing settings, are particularly helpful, but working part time at a box office or concession stand, or even volunteering as a Ticket Taker or Usher can be a great introduction to how a theatre works. Most arts organizations are nonprofit, so you never know what hat you’ll be asked to wear. Having that front of the house experience is a real asset that could set someone apart when an arts organization is hiring.”
Experience & Skills
“To become a Marketing Director, most people have started out in an entry-level position in a marketing or ticketing department,” Peimann says. In this way, they learn the necessary skills to one day oversee the department. She adds, “Marketing departments in the arts are often very small, so starting out as a Marketing Assistant or Marketing Coordinator is often a crash course in arts marketing. Great skills to have when coming in are excellent writing and editing abilities, great oral and face-to-face communication skills, social media savviness, familiarity with budgeting and spreadsheets, some experience in graphic design, the ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment, great customer service skills, a good sense of humor, flexibility and the willingness to constantly learn something new! Active knowledge of the local arts scene and what other arts organizations are doing is also a plus.”
“Marketing positions in the arts are best suited to those who love to interact with people, solve problems, have a good sense of humor and can remain flexible – all in a fast-paced, multi-tasking environment,” Peimann advises.
“The work-life balance is definitely a challenge when working in the arts, especially in marketing,” says Peimann. “About 80% of my week is spent in the office, and about 20% at the performances. Though most days don’t start too early (usually around 9 a.m.), there are often pre-work meetings or interviews that I have to attend. With such a small staff, it is hard to get everything done in a typical eight-hour day, so working past 5:00 most nights is the norm. Working many nights and weekends is a given – but, the great part is, many of those nights and weekends are spent in the performance hall, or at least in the lobby, managing the box office, welcoming customers, and making sure everyone gets where they need to go. I often get to enjoy the performance once my official duties are done (usually around 9:30 p.m. a night or two per week), which is a great reward. That being said, being able to work for a place I am passionate about, with coworkers and customers who also love music and art, make it feel more like an extension of my ‘real’ life, and less like work.”
“Most Marketing Directors start out in entry-level positions such as Marketing Coordinators, Marketing Assistants or other similar jobs, and work their way up from there,” Peimann says. “I started at The Sheldon as Marketing Assistant (in 1998!) and after about five years, was promoted to Marketing Coordinator. Three years later, our Marketing Director left and I was promoted to her position and have served in that capacity ever since.”
Peimann explains, “Most Marketing Directors in the arts are on a salary, with benefits. Though the hours are long, there is also a lot of flexibility during the work week if we need to adjust our hours and often a generous amount of vacation time to make up for the extra hours during the concert season.”
Unions, Groups, Social Media, and Associations
No specific unions or professional organizations exist solely for Marketing Directors in the music/arts world, however, Peimann suggests that “national groups such as Americans for the Arts and Arts Reach are great places to go for information and job listings.”
- “The number one thing I can recommend is to do as many internships as possible.
- Also, diversifying their education with classes in English, Journalism, Writing, Graphic Design and other related fields will help make students more prepared for all the different demands a Marketing Director’s job requires.”
What is the single biggest suggestion you would give to someone wanting to get into this career?
“Again, internships! Experience in and understanding of how arts marketing departments work is often more valuable than classroom work.”
What’s the #1 mistake people make when trying to get into this career?
“I think sometimes people coming into the arts are too focused on their experience or interest (for example, just social media, or just public relations). Arts marketing jobs, in particular, require a wide range of expertise or at least a passable, working knowledge of a lot of different areas. So, having a broad set of skills and abilities is important.”
What is the question people should ask about this career but rarely do?
“Luckily you already asked it! Most people don’t ask about the hours and workload, which, as I mentioned, can be surprising. It’s important to know going in.”
If you could describe in one word what makes you successful, what would it be?
Chris Peimann is the Director of Marketing and Publicity at the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries in St. Louis, MO.