Crunch time. With opening night less than a week away I can feel the pressure to make sure the show runs smoothly. Being behind the scenes gives me a pressure that is different from the pressures the cast must feel. I don’t have to worry about memorizing lines or learning songs and dances. The pressure I experience as a marketing director is making sure as many people both at Duke and outside of Duke know about the show and come see it.

The biggest question I’ve been grappling with lately is how exactly can I know if my efforts are successful? How do I know if my efforts are effective? It’s one thing to tell people about it but being successful and effective in marketing has to go beyond simply telling. What matters is how well the marketing gets people excited about the show and gets them to attend. The way the show is marketed—the language, the cast promotional pictures, the concepts behind the slogans—is the most crucial element.

How do we make someone who may have never heard of Ragtime to say “Wow, I definitely need to see that show.” One strategy I think that has been particularly effective is the marketing team’s ability to showcase the fun and the energy of the show in our flyers, emails, and other promotional items. And not only do the promotional photos evoke the feeling of the show being a good time, but the familiar Duke locations and song quotes used in the flyers allow the viewer to connect to the show and hopefully stick in their minds better.

Ragtime is more than just a musical. It’s an experience and getting that message across to the general population is important in getting people to come see it, especially in this final week before opening night. I guess I can’t really know exactly how effective the marketing was until the nights of the show but the desire to see that success is what drives me to push myself and prioritize Ragtime during this week.