A successful band needs more than just killer vocals and fine-tuned instruments. They need to sell themselves—and Jill Haverkamp knows just how to do that. Owner and co-founder of the local marketing consulting firm On Pitch, Haverkamp makes her living marketing for a good chunk of the Des Moines Music scene. A few of her bigger clients: Nitefall on the River, the Des Moines Social Club, Vaudeville Mews, and the 80/35 music festival. She’s also worked with local acts like Max Wellman, The Envy Corps and MAIDS. As a speaker for this year’s Music University, Haverkamp will bring her practical and effective business experience to those wanting to reach that larger crowd.
Q. What kind of marketing work does On Pitch focus on?
A. We work with mostly art and entertainment clients. We’ll come in and help with the planning and strategy that lays the foundation for the marketing efforts – developing a plan, timeline, and a budget – what’s going to be effective for the goals they want to reach. Do they have a website yet? Have they developed any grounding for what they are going to do to market themselves? How are they going to build up their social media followers? We help with really building up their presence and making sure its effective.
Q. Can you describe the scope of your involvement with Music University?
A. I’ve been working with Music University since around 2009. This is the second year we’ve done a full-day conference (On Pitch is Music University’s marketing partner), but previous to that we’ve panels about three to four times a year since 2009. It’s awesome that the DMMC has grown to a level that we can execute a two-day long conference. With this year’s conference, On Pitch is assisting with the marketing efforts and participating in a couple panels.
Q. What’s On Pitch bringing to the table for these panels?
A. For “Social Media Advertising: Why It Pays to Play with Social Ads” we’re going to focus on how you can best utilize ad dollars on social media. Just because you post something to your Facebook page does not mean that all the people who follow you are going to see it. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter both allow for extremely targeted advertising that isn’t expensive. Bands that utilize this can get more responsive posts and increase their followers. There are a lot of different pieces that go into all of that, and a lot of bands are currently exploring it, so it’s a good topic to go over.
As for the panel “Marketing on a Shoestring: Promote Like a Pro with an Indie Budget,” we’ll touch on a lot of different marketing techniques. There are a lot of good efforts you can execute that build awareness to grow your fan base without spending a lot of money. Alyssa with Riot Act Media will have a lot of really good insight to share.
Q. What makes Music University valuable to the Des Moines music scene?
A. Music University is really beneficial in a few ways: first it helps educate bands on the industry side of the music business. If you want to make music your career, you have to obviously craft your talent, but you also need to understand the business and how it works — how you’re going to make money, how you’re going to tour, how your going to raise funds to do all these different things you want to do, and to try and make music full-time job.
Second is the networking. We’re bringing in a lot of industry professionals from across the country that gives the opportunity to talk with that person and establish a relationship. That’s one of the biggest elements of success in the music industry – it’s all about who you know.
Third, the draw of people coming here and seeing what we have to offer puts Des Moines on the radar of companies who are in the industry.