Subj: Inter Office Mail – Customer Commitment – How Do You Look at Things?

Editor’s Note: Our own Jim McCarthy shared some thoughts about Customer Commitment with the Goldstar team, and, well, we thought you might get something out of it, too.

From: Jim McCarthy
Sent: Fri 8/2/2019 2:00 PM

There’s a famous psych experiment that you may have read about, that you can actually play along with if you’d like. People were asked to close their eyes and, with their finger, draw an imaginary capital letter B on their forehead. (Actually, the original study used L, but that was before the Smash Mouth song and Glee translated that into the sign for “loser.” But I digress.)

So, if you’d like, take a minute and do that: Close your eyes and draw a capital B on your forehead. If you know this experiment, don’t do spoilers for your neighbors!

Here’s the question: How did you write it? The majority of people write it such that if you really were using ink, it would appear backward to someone else. In other words, most people in the experiment write the B as if it’s to be read from their perspective.

Now this isn’t wrong or anything. Nobody specified that you should “write a B on your forehead such that if it were really there, other people could read it.” And obviously, there’s something very natural about doing it that way, or the majority of people wouldn’t do it, right? You probably did this, and you probably didn’t think a thing about it, just like me. But if you were watching somebody do this, you’d notice instantly! They’re writing it backward! It would be screamingly obvious they were completing the given task from their point of view.

Part of the reason we talk about Customer Commitment so much is just that. It’s not natural or obvious to look at things from the point of view of others.

It takes a certain amount of effort — even when we think we are and indeed even when we are being considerate of others — to truly move around to the other perspective and see things the way they do. Even the Golden Rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” as though others would like to be treated the same way. That’s how deep-baked this is.

So Customer Commitment is about the constant attempt to see things the way our ticket-buying customers see them, and one thing I’d like to mention in this regard is the first part of the Customer Commitment: having the world’s best collection of events. Are you a theater fan? Are you a music fan? Are you a sports fan? You may have just said “yes, yes and yes.” If so, you might be confusing to certain kinds of live entertainment marketers. I sometimes hear, and I bet some of you do too, people in our industry talk about “theater fans” and “sports fans,” for example, as though they are two different species of human being. Almost like it would show up in your 23andMe report.

But this is malarkey, of course. People are super complex. They have different tastes and needs and wants at different times. One of the things that Goldstar has always stood for and done very well with is the concept that we should serve a very broad set of needs when it comes to the events we offer. Our events cross genres like crazy, and we’ve led the industry in defining certain things INTO live entertainment: Food events and dating events, for example, are things that appeared on Goldstar before any other major live entertainment platform, right alongside music and theater and so forth. We’ve always played a role in expanding what live entertainment meant based on a customer’s eye view of what seemed like fun, what seemed like a good way to enrich your life, have a good time and so forth.

That’s something you should be proud of, but also remember where it comes from: staying tuned into what it means to be on the buying side of our business. See, that’s the funny thing. If you take those people inside the live entertainment industry that I mentioned before — the ones that think that nobody who walks into the Metropolitan Opera would ever go on a Heavy Metal Booze Cruise — if you take a person like that, send them home from work and ask them what they want to do, they transform instantly into a buyer, not a seller. And as a buyer, they understand instantly that their own tastes are complicated and varied and yes, they want to be Rockin’ with Dokken on a sailboat on the East River one night and sipping champagne and watching La Boheme  in a crush red velvet seat the next night. Of course! Why not?

So remember: It’s easier to get it right as a seller of tickets if you can tap into your understanding of what it’s like to be a buyer of tickets.

That’s always been part of our editorial voice: Talk like a ticket buyer, not a ticket seller, but it applies everywhere.

It’s not easy or natural. Most of you, like me, wrote a backward B on your foreheads because we do, as it turns out, look at the world through our own eyes, from our literal perspective. But now that you’ve heard this, you know what to do: Stop and think about the customer’s perspective often and do that by tapping into your own intimate knowledge of what it’s like to be a customer of events!


BTW, I usually share some very goofy video to go along with the point I’m making on these emails, but the goofiness level of the videos I found related to this were so incredibly high that even I found it impossible to share them. Instead, I’m going the other direction and sharing a very entertaining and fun, but also substantial and thoughtful talk about customer perspective from Rory Sutherland, an advertising genius, from a few years ago at TED.

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