Marketing

Eight flexible marketing tricks from Cirque du Soleil

Cara Waters /

Cirque du Soleil has transformed the idea of what a circus can be with its spectacular high-risk visual acrobatics. 

But Jordan Fiksenbaum, vice president of marketing and public relations at Cirque du Soleil, wants the Canadian company to be known for its flexible marketing as well.

He’s responsible for the day-to-day marketing, sales and public relations activities for nine shows, which accounted for 6.5 million tickets and $650 million in revenue this past year.

Fiksenbaum shared eight tricks for flexible marketing with SmartCompany:

1. Use old fashioned word of mouth

Cirque du Soleil is a company that has been built on word of mouth in terms of its audiences.

“Word of mouth spread in the old days from water cooler talk and now it has taken on a whole different voice of its own with social media,” Fiksenbaum says.

Cirque du Soleil now has 628,000 Twitter followers and 2.3 million Facebook fans.

“We try to create an environment where it is more dialogue than monologue,” Fiksenbaum says.

“We answer questions when they are asked and help the conversation in a positive way, allowing people to share the experiences they enjoyed with us.”

Fiksenbaum advocates answering every query that comes through on social media and doing things in a “real time setting”.

2. Make people evangelists for your business

Businesses need to ask how they deal with the increasing emphasis on social media and use it in a positive way to make people evangelists for them. 

“Use them at the right time at the right place,” Fiksenbaum says.

“We have lots of great fans who are also vocal fans. We know who they are, because they speak to us on a regular basis so we make them insiders as much as we possibly can and we share information with them.”

3. Be spontaneous

Spontaneity and responding in a “real time setting” are key for Cirque du Soleil.

To celebrate the four-millionth “Cirque Club” fan, Cirque du Soleil brought the fan to Montreal to see the latest show.

“It was very spontaneous and it was very organic in the way it was done,” Fiksenbaum says.

4. Be relevant and have fun

“Keeping things relevant is important,” Fiksenbaum says.

After Hillary Clinton had a shoe thrown at her in Las Vegas she said, “Was that Cirque du Soleil?”

Straight away the brand started taking photos of shoes all lined up and said, “It wasn’t us”.

“It’s about having a personality and having fun with who we are and at the end of the day we are trying to entertain people,” he says.

“At the end of the day you have to be yourself.”

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is a former SmartCompany editor. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter for the Financial Times' website and worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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