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Marketing

Sometimes It Takes the Dead to See the Future …

Not zombies, just hippies. Specifically, the Grateful Dead. Scott McDowell wrote a great piece on 99U recently reminding me of what I’ve long believed. The Grateful Dead were decades ahead of the rest of the live entertainment business in a number of ways.You should read the whole article, so I won’t distract too much from that, but I want to point out a couple things that I think are of particular interest across all genres. He highlights “building a...

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Marketing

Turn It Off If …

We talked recently about how you should be willing to turn off programs that don’t work.So let’s get more specific about ticket-selling programs and when you should turn them off. It’s actually quite simple.If they're not improving your Revenue Per Seat, turn them off. Not average ticket price sold. That’s a sucker’s metric. Revenue Per Seat.Count all the dollars you bring in and divide it by all the seats you could potentially sell.Let’s use a simple example. Say you...

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Marketing

The Glossy Brochure Needs to Die

Like print advertising, the glossy season brochure has just about come to the end. It’s one of those things kept alive by a belief that “you have to make a glossy season brochure.” One day the spell will be broken and that belief will fall to the floor like a dropped glove.I don’t know anything about the work of the theater who made the video below, but in just 54 seconds it makes me want to know more about...

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Marketing

Pro Tip: Cancel Campaigns Without Pity

Most marketing and sales managers are mediocre. Of course, that’s true by definition, unless you’re in Lake Wobegon. But in the case of marketing management, it means the marketing programs they run are usually only either slightly better than if they’d done nothing at all, and frequently worse.Just about any professional marketing manager, even these mediocre ones I’m talking about, has skills. They can develop marketing materials; they know how media buying works; they negotiate effectively; they deliver campaigns...

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Marketing

My Dear Aunt Sally

I don’t have an Aunt Sally.That was just my way to get you to start reading this before I tell you that I’m going to talk about math …But before you click "back" or shriek in Wicked Witch-like horror when doused with water, know that I majored in English in college! I wrote a thesis about Frankenstein. I like T. S. Eliot.I’ve got non-math-person cred.So stick with me. If you’re a live entertainment marketer and you’re math-phobic, I’m going...

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Marketing

If You Can’t See It, It’s Not There

I went to business school with a rocket scientist.I mean that literally. One of my classmates, and somebody that I found myself working with frequently, was an actual NASA rocket scientist, and just as you’d expect, he was wicked smart.One time, we were working on a project where we were evaluating the marketing programs that a company in this case study had done to figure out whether they should continue them, cut them or add to them. We graphed...

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Marketing

Take Your Organization From Scrappy to Successful

Here’s an inspiring success story about Patrick Dooley, the artistic director of Shotgun Players in Berkeley, Calif. In 1992, the theater company called the basement of La Val's pizzeria home. Twenty-two years later, they operate out of a hip 120-seat converted church called the Ashby Stage. And they’re about to open Tom Stoppard's epic trilogy The Coast of Utopia.Two of Dooley’s quotes in Karen D’Souza’s San Jose Mercury News article caught my eye. The first shows he’s really paying...

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Marketing

Extinction Math

How do you feel about playing God? As a hobby, I mean. Not full time.If you do, spend a few minutes playing an ancient computer “game” called Life. I remember stumbling across this as a very young computer user and probably wasting a lot of hours on it.The idea is this: Put dots on the screen wherever you want, as many as you want. If a dot is by itself or next to just one other dot, it dies...

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Marketing

The Single Best Guarantee of Ongoing Sales Success

I don’t like to be negative on this site, but there’s something I occasionally encounter in the world of live entertainment that really bugs me. It’s the idea that the process of actually marketing and selling an event is too crass for words. This usually comes from people from the very old school, who believe that if you are a true artist, if you’re pure of heart, and you believe in the Great Pumpkin more sincerely than all the...

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Marketing

How to Resolve the Battle Between the New and the Familiar

What do you call something, even if it’s good, that you’ve seen over and over again? Boring.What do you call something so new and different that it doesn’t make any sense to you? Weird.Most live entertainment content falls in between those poles, of course, but as a creator, curator or marketer of stuff in your venue, which is better? Which should you go for if what you’re trying to do is build your audience?Here’s the formula that works best:...

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