The Rochester Civic Theatre Company is a nonprofit organization in Rochester, MN that educates and enriches the lives of adults and children through the production of live theater, music, and dance. Established in 1951, the theatre has been an integral source of arts and culture for Rochester and southeast Minnesota. Since their founding, the Rochester Civic Theatre (RCT) has evolved into an award-winning, multidisciplinary theater and has recently acquired a fresh and energized leadership and board.

To funnel the ambition of the theater’s new leadership, RCT looked to partner with an experienced digital marketing agency. CWS and RCT teamed up to develop and execute an event marketing strategy focused on

  • delighting current loyal audiences,
  • attracting new guests,
  • and generating increased brand recognition.

Additionally, RCT was looking to reach out to and cultivate relationships with a younger audience. They intended to do this through new partnerships and expanding the theater’s entertainment options.


Discovery Phase

The CWS team got to work establishing a strong understanding of the theater’s market and the scope of the project. The SMART goals that our team and RCT decided on were

  1. Promote brand awareness of the Rochester Civic Theatre by increasing social media engagement by 30 percent in the first quarter.
  2. Increase the amount of ticket sales coming through the website by 20 percent in the first quarter.

Once the first quarter goals were set, CWS dove into the theater’s current social media, ticket sales, and website performance data. Due to the recent change in leadership, RCT was looking for strategy on all fronts.

Music at the Rochester Civic Theatre

Building Phase

A savvy combination of organic and paid inbound marketing was implemented to get RCT on the track to sold-out shows.

Organic Marketing

Firstly, CWS focused on building the theater’s brand recognition through the RCT Facebook page and event promotion. Facebook was the first social medium to be reworked because of its ability to target all spectrums of RCT’s desired audience. Quality content was regularly posted to RCT’s page throughout quarter one, including event promotions and behind-the-scenes material. Posts were largely scheduled to appear at key times in the audience’s decision-making process.

Similarly, the CWS team developed and scheduled a weekly e-newsletter. The newsletter would give subscribers “first dibs” at special offers and exciting announcements in order to create more buzz around the theater and its events.

To encourage brand consistency, the social media and newsletter content perfectly intertwined. Facebook posts were created in advance of major events to generate engagement. Then, similar content was included in the newsletter that week to reiterate the details.


RCT’s email marketing was not limited to only the weekly newsletter. Personal announcements from the theater’s leadership gave a special touch to the organic marketing mix.

Personable communication included feature articles and interviews with the guest directors and cast members of the productions. These stories served as blog posts, social media content, and soft news releases.

Paid Marketing

Digital ads made it possible for RCT to target the desired audience with the most effective messaging for them. These carefully crafted PPC ads were implemented to move leads through the ticket-buying process.

Anne Frank Ads

Sponsored Facebook content such as performance recap videos and “almost sold-out” posts helped to generate excitement for RCT’s fresh new feeling and event schedule. Moreover, shows advertised as sold-out resulted in exceptional social proof of the quality of productions.



of Annie the Musical tickets sold


increase in website sessions


increase in tickets sold online


increase in tickets sold for season opener (2017 compared to 2018)

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