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 other boys and girls, sales will take care of themselves.

And the reason this bugs me is the contempt it shows for the people who are also expected to be footing the bill. Yes, the audience.

In other words, both the POINT of the show or event (for someone to see it) and the SOURCE OF ALL SUPPORT somehow seem to be beneath certain kinds of people to talk about or engage with, unless absolutely necessary.

I don’t say this often, but I wish those people bad luck. I hope they’re not at all validated in such nasty beliefs because when they are, we all end up paying the price.

But let’s take this back in the positive direction.

The single best guarantee of ongoing sales success in live entertainment (and beyond) is to develop a permanent, loyal, happy, eager base of support and to constantly find ways to build it.

In other words, as we say at Goldstar all the time, don’t look for buyers for your shows. Make shows for your buyers. We’ve got 5,000,000 Goldstar members, and our job is to find them something great to do.

World Premiere of "Allegiance" at The Old Globe, San Diego. Photo Credit: Henry DiRocco

World Premiere of “Allegiance” at The Old Globe, San Diego. Photo Credit: Henry DiRocco

If you’re an artist, a sports team, an organization, a band or whatever, the first and best guarantee of ongoing success is a healthy and growing base of people who want what you’ve got and who support you. Our friend George Takei and his as-yet-not-on-Broadway show Allegiance understand this brilliantly, and their new program both to reward their current fans and to prove that the show will have selling strength once it does find a Broadway theater displays this very well. The idea is that you spend $5 now and that gives you the right to buy two tickets before the general public before they become available, and to download the cast recording. It’s not to make $5, either. It’s to give their nearly 500,000 Facebook fans a new way to participate and to show what will be possible once the show really goes live.

George very deliberately set out on Facebook several years ago to build the powerful asset of a social media following, and now he’s putting it to use. Without it, he’d be in a totally different place trying to get his show on stage.

By the way, this is not synonymous with a base of “subscribers” or season ticket holders. That’s a potential result of such a base of support, but it’s not the same thing. You could have a subscriber base that’s mostly about legacy, whose enthusiasm and interest is waning and not being renewed. Or you could have a huge fan base that you haven’t turned into subscribers because that’s just not the most important or best way to put their support to use.

But however you do it and whatever you do with it, you’ve got to have it! Otherwise, the marketing of every show is a totally new adventure.

And more to the point, isn’t it more fun and satisfying to play to an appreciative audience who loves you? Sure it is. Throw in that it’s more profitable, and that’s a no-brainer.

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