The College of St. Scholastica Communication Department has recently implemented a new marketing tactic for arts and lectures called Spotlight.
There is now a single name, brochure, website and box office for most of the arts events on campus as well as any lecture or music performance series.
Director of Conferences and Events for Mitchell Auditorium Sue Maki, whose department encompasses the new Spotlight, said that the motivation of the program is to combine “all of the great cultural work we’re doing at CSS.”
Spotlight has been an idea that Maki has wanted to act on for a few years. “With the relatively new setup of the Marketing department and new employees, it seemed like a good time to move on the ideas we’ve had,” Maki said, referring to the college’s new Vice President of Marketing, Jeff Rich.
Along with Mitchell performing arts events, the new program includes the CSS Theatre program, Cambiata music series, Peace and Justice series and Catholic Studies lecture series. These are all programs that have events that are planned far in advance so they can be included in the brochures and advertising.
“It’s a work in progress” Maki says, “we are still establishing communication, others [events] may be added in the future.”
The programs that are part of Spotlight now have a more streamlined system for selling tickets as well. Instead of the previous system that meant separate ticket sales for each group of events, all ticket sales go through the Spotlight box office.
According to Ruth Rutford, a senior at CSS and the Little Theater Box Office Manager, the new system should make things much easier. “I don’t know how the other departments feel but as for the theater, I think it’ll be very helpful to have the same group of people working on tickets rather that trying to train students that may only do it once or twice.”
Rutford is also satisfied that Leann Jopke, the Spotlight Box Office Manager is open to advice and ideas about ticket sales of each individual department.
Maki and Rutford both say that there may be initial issues and obstacles to overcome, but that it is a good move in the long run. “The number one benefit would be that people have a one-stop shop for programs our community is involved in,” Maki said, noting that this has been one of the main motivations behind the development of Spotlight.
One area that Spotlight doesn’t involve is Student Activities. CSS has a very strong and active Student Activities department and many of their events could easily be encompassed by Spotlight. For example, Campus Activities Board, CAB, has dozens of events every year that involve the arts.
Brady Nellis, former CAB president and current Student Senate President booked all CAB events and performers with fellow committee members in April of last year. They book so early because they annually attend NACA (National Association of Campus Activities) where they are able to see performers before booking.
Maki confirmed that the information for the brochure goes to print in early summer, meaning CAB events are, in fact, planned for enough in advance. CAB events, however, are not included because “they target students and not the general community.” This is a problem because the brochures go out to the community as well as students and faculty on campus.
There are also issues presented by the high rate of turnover in student event positions; but she hopes to begin to target students more, either through involving student events that are also targeted at the community or having a wider variety of events through the groups that are already involved in Spotlight.
For the time being, Maki says that they are going to focus on solving any issues that arise and hopefully start to add to the program in the future.