Are You Afraid of Your Audience?

If you don't listen to your audience, you may find you no longer have one. Photo credit: "Audience HDR," © 2010 Justin S. Campbell, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

If you don’t listen to your audience, you may find you no longer have one. Photo Credit: “Audience HDR,” © 2010 Justin S. Campbell, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Getting feedback in almost any aspect of life is hard — what if people hate what you’re putting out there? Or what if you don’t want to make the changes that people suggest? But, of course, ignoring feedback is rarely a strategy for success.

As Jim has pointed out in his post Being Curious About Your Audience Is a Good Marketing Tool:

“When it comes to marketing anything (and certainly live arts and entertainment), it’s dangerous to keep holding on to existing assumptions. Get curious about the market and your audience, including questions about where they want to go to see your shows. This isn’t always easy to do, but it’s got to be a high priority for any marketer.”

Recently Lyn Gardner at The Guardian made a similar point. She writes that theater companies are often reluctant to ask for feedback and that audiences are treated more like a “problem that needs to be solved” than a vital part of the organization’s success. As she points out:

“Nobody has a right to an audience: they have to be wooed, looked after and cherished. Often it feels as if in theatre we want an audience, but only on our terms. Maybe we should trust them more, rather than getting anxious that all they will demand are nationwide productions of We Will Rock You. Maybe we should stop seeing them as the audience and start seeing them as collaborators.”

Do you ask for audience feedback or consider your audience’s desires when creating live entertainment? Tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.

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