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 to tell you something you need to hear, but, like the sting of a vaccine shot, it’ll only hurt for a second and then be really good for you.

My Dear Aunt Sally stands for “Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction.” And if you can multiply, divide, add and subtract, you can do 99% of the math that you need to do in order to be an effective live entertainment ticket sales marketer.

And the other 1% you can have somebody else do.

So it’s the stuff you probably learned in third to seventh grade that you need to be able to do. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so.

But more than that, you can’t see this basic kind of math as “yucky.” You should see it as a core part of your job and as a tool for understanding what you’re doing. Learn a few basics in Excel, and you can do all kinds of fun and interesting things with the data you’ve got about your show, your venue, your team, your sales, your customers and so forth.

What’s the difference between the average price you’re selling 100 level tickets for and the median price? There could be a big lesson in that about how valuable your premium programs are. What should you expect in revenue from the top 10% of your customers over the next five years? You can figure that out using nothing but a little bit of logic and My Dear Aunt Sally. If you’re hiring a consultant to figure things like that out for you or relying on an “analyst” in your organization, honestly, that’s embarrassing.

You don’t have to buy a green eyeshade or a pocket protector to be good enough with numbers to be an effective marketer. And you’ve probably already got all the “skills” you need. You learned them when you were carrying a Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox or a Game Boy. If you find yourself resisting truly digging in and understanding results and data in number form, don’t do that. You don’t need to.

Your 13-year-old self could do it, and so can you.

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