Marketing Ideas Not from the Arts

Ken Davenport, a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer and all-around creative thinker in the theatre community recently wrote a blog post about his main takeaways from a marketing conference he attended a few weeks ago in San Diego. It wasn’t an arts marketing conference which is why his insights were so interesting. Here’s the link to his post titled “5 Takeaways from a Non Broadway Marketing Conference.”

There was one main bullet point that really caught my attention. Quoting from the article: 

When I’m at a Broadway ad meeting, and a debate breaks out about something as simple as the size of a logo on a Post-It pad, I often wonder, “When was the last time anyone at this table actually purchased a theater ticket?” At the conference, we were challenged to not only put ourselves in the minds of our consumers but to find a way to spend more time with them.

Many of us who work in the arts enjoy the benefit of not having to purchase tickets for events at our own organizations. Because of this, our experiences can often be vastly different than those of our customers. How many of us have recently taken a walk in the shoes of a patron, purchasing tickets in the way they do, or perhaps sitting in the way back of the orchestra or high up in the balcony? Often times when I’m in line for a soda at intermission that’s 20 people deep with 5 minutes to go before the start of the second act, I wonder how many front-of-house managers in that theatre have had that experience.

Try becoming a customer at your own organization, or set up a “secret shopper” program to get some honest feedback. Once you understand all aspects of your patron’s experience, you’ll be able to tailor it in a way that keeps them coming back again and again. This was just one of the five points Ken drives home in his post, I think you’ll find the other four takeaways are equally compelling.

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