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Promoter Job Description

"Promoter" is a broad term used to describe anyone who organizes entertainment events. These could be concerts, nightclub parties or sporting events in any type of venue. Their responsibilities require skills in several areas–advertising, public relations, finance, entertainment business sense, innovation and intuition–and for promoters who excel in these areas, the payoff can be enormous.

General Responsibilities

Generally, a promoter's job is to conceive an event, hire the personnel needed to make it happen, choose an appropriate venue, choose a date, advertise the event, plan its logistics (every event requires a detailed itinerary of when things are supposed to happen) and then ensure those events happen as planned.

Employment

Promoters can work through their own companies, as part of a bigger promoter's company or as the resident promoter for a certain venue.

Innovation and Intuition

Successful promoters are creative, and they recognize the needs and desires of the people they are trying to serve. People have plenty of entertainment options, and anything to set an event apart from the others is a competitive edge. When conceiving events, they can answer the questions, "What do people want, and how do I bring it to them?"

Forward-thinking promoters can also answer the question: "What are people going to want that hasn't caught on yet, and how do I get that to catch on?" A good example of a forward-thinking promoter is pro-wrestling magnate Vince McMahon Jr. Through the recruitment of top talent, the incorporation of celebrities from other areas of entertainment, creative merchandising, opportunistic use of television and many other techniques, he took his father's small east coast wrestling company and developed it into World Wrestling Entertainment–an international success and multi-billion dollar business.

Entertainment Business Sense

To excel in their fields, promoters must be knowledgeable about the types of entertainment they are promoting. Music promoters, for example, must know the kinds of music that are currently successful, and must be able to predict what types of music will be popular in the near future.

They must also have a good network of entertainment-industry contacts, and a good rapport with all of them. Independent music promoters, for example, limit themselves to one geographical area. They work with booking agents, who are responsible for planning the concert dates of touring rock bands. Those agents will ask the promoters to work with their smaller shows in exchange for a bigger, more successful and more lucrative show at a later date. This give-and-take is essential to success in promoting.

Promoters also must have a good rapport with the performers they hire to draw people to their events. This requires detailed communication prior to the event, to let the performer know about any new developments, and a reasonable command of negotiation, to make sure the performer is paid well (but not so well as to cut deeply into the promoter's profit margin.

Finance

Promotion is a business, and business is about making money. Promoters must keep finances in mind throughout the process of planning and carrying out an event. They must take into account their expenses–advertising, the hiring of performers and crew, the rental of the venue, security, insurance, etc.–and use that information to set ticket prices. A small-time promoter who spends $1,000 on an event would need to sell 100 tickets at $10 apiece to break even (assuming the promoter and performers have agreed that the promoter will keep all proceeds from ticket sales.)

Small-time promoters generally work on handshake deals. The terms are agreed upon and sometimes put in writing, but not sealed in a formal contract. Promoters who work with larger performers or booking agencies do business by contract. Contracts require lawyers, and lawyers charge money.

Advertising and Public Relations

Successful promoters come up with an event, decide what is most attractive about it and base their advertising and public-relations campaign around that factor. With some events, the talent performing is enough to draw a crowd. With others, it could be a special deal (clubs in particular like to push inexpensive early-evening drink deals to get the crowd there early). And with others, there's a gimmick. Many clubs promote "one-minute dating," an organized event where singles sign up for a fee and and have timed conversations with one another to see if they are interested in going on a proper date.

Regularly occurring events, such as weekly theme nights in clubs, have some of their most effective advertising by word-of-mouth. A club that has a particularly good promotion running on Thursday nights, for example, begins to attract a regular crowd. The regulars start telling their friends, they make their weekly plans around the event, and that event is full every time.

Local Promoters vs. National Promoters

Some promotion companies work strictly in one region, while large promotion companies have representatives all over the country (or the world). An example of a regional promotion company is Chicago's JAM Productions, which stages major acts in the area. An example of a large promotion company is Live Nation, which presents rock concerts all around the country.



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