Give Me a Reason

In the live entertainment industry, we face two big challenges that I’ve talked about before:

  • The convenience gap. It’s hard to buy and use our product compared to things like, for example, your iPhone.
  • The fact that live entertainment is never really a need. Sometimes people may want a ticket an awful lot, but it’s still not something with the emotional quality of something you have to have.
Photo Cedit: © 2012 digboston, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Photo Cedit: © 2012 digboston, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Let’s focus on the second problem. One approach is to try to get people to perceive a need, or something very much like a need. When a musician, for example, announces a farewell tour, the implication is that this is the last chance you have to see them, and so if you ever want to see them, you need to do it now.

This can work. You can also try to create the sense that this is the event of the century, not to be missed, that you’ll forever regret that you weren’t in the room where it happened. (Yes, that’s a Hamilton reference.) And if you can establish that this is somehow credible, that strategy can work, too.

Live entertainment marketers understand those tactics, and they use them when they can, but both of those tactics rely to some degree on there being something really unusual or special about the show or event, and by definition, most events don’t have that.

Behind those tactics, though, is an approach that anyone can apply to any show. Both of those tactics are ways of giving potential ticket buyers new reasons to go. So let’s think about that more generally.

To overcome the fact that people never need a ticket, focus on creating new reasons for them to go. Need is one kind of reason, but if we give them others, we should get them into shows and events more often.

ShowDayRecently, we at Goldstar participated in starting a new tradition that we hope catches on. We call it Show Day, and the idea is that December 26th is a day when everyone should go see some kind of show or event. It went pretty well for the first year, and we hope it builds next year.

I love the Show Day concept, but at its heart, it’s about giving people another reason to go out: Because it’s a tradition that brings you together with your family and friends and makes the Christmas holiday more fun.

But you can do this a million different ways besides just saying how great the show is. Baseball teams do this very well by creating interesting themed days at the ballpark, like Hello Kitty night. I recall a few years ago that Disneyland attracted annual pass holders to the park for a special evening by saying that they would run Space Mountain with the lights on (which no one had seen before).

At Goldstar, we remind people who have put tickets in their shopping cart and not yet bought them when those tickets are about to sell out or expire. The reason, in that case, is that you were interested before and you’re running out of time to buy.

But whatever it is, it’s a reason.

Yes, you need good show or event content at the core of your marketing, but that’s not necessarily enough. You can’t rely on it, and you shouldn’t.

Give them reasons, and once you’ve given them reasons, give them a few more.

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