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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sometimes more isn't better

I've always loved that line from the Sabrina movie (the remake, thank you, not the original, oddly enough). "Sometimes it's just more." 

Problem: we don't have enough audience to fill our shows. 
Problem: we need to run three weeks because the first weekend is just for marketing, we won't sell out.
Problem: the local paper(s) is cutting theater coverage. how are people going to find out about us now?
Problem: we post it on social media but the only people who see that are people who already know about the shows we do.
Problem: there are so many different calendars/event listings/blogs. we don't need/can't afford another one. (Yogi Berra, anyone?)

The REAL problem: we haven't a clue who our audience is or who we want our audience to be

Those other things aren't problems. At best, they are marketing tactics that aren't being done correctly or efficiently. The first one listed is a metric, a data point that doesn't have any relevance because most theater companies aren't sure what "enough" means anyway, or how to correctly price their product. 

You can have audience churn, in which case the solution is advertising saturation. 

Or you can have raving fans, in which case the solution is to hone your art and message and service. 

But unless you have gobs of money or time, you can't have both. 


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Who are you serving?

Do you know who your theater's customers are?

No, seriously.

Your customers are anyone and everyone who comes into contact with your theater.

So:
-patrons
-actors
-crew
-designers
-directors
-vendors
-mail carriers
-media critics
-staff
-independent contractors
-volunteers
-board members
-anyone who calls your phone number
-people on your social media channels
-people who drive/walk/run by your venue

Make sure ALL your customers are being served.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Playing a different theater game

"Change isn't made by asking permission. We have an obligation to change the rules, to raise the bar, to play a different game, and to play it better than anyone has any right to believe is possible." --Seth Godin

I am going to change the way people think about theater. From outside and from inside. When the nonprofit theater movement started, all it did was replace the business model. While this was genuinely revolutionary sixty+ years ago, it isn't any longer.

We all know the days of "if you build it, they will come" are over. Even leaving out all other forms of entertainment, there is simply too much noise in the theater industry, too much spectacle in our own backyards to hear or see everything.

But that's no reason to quit creating.

Artists make art. If they are equally good at marketing, or have someone willing to help, they find the tribe willing to support the art.

Let's change the rules about theater. Let's find our tribe.