Why older brothers make great marketers.

The secret of marketing an experience like theater is knowing how to tease.

Because the price of a Broadway show can be in the triple digits, your audience needs to understand what they are buying, otherwise forget it.

That’s one of the key differences between selling a movie ticket and selling a theater ticket.  If you lose 12 bucks on a bad movie, it’s not that big of a deal.  That’s why you’re more likely to take a chance on a flick you don’t know too much about or one that has been marketed only so-so.  But if you were to lose 125 smackers on a bad show, that’s 10x the movie ticket.  That means you’re going to need more information up front before you make your decision, and that info better be good.

But, and here’s where the teasin’ big brother comes in . . . you can’t give it all away.  You gotta butter the bread for the consumer, but you can’t let ’em take a bite.  You gotta tease ’em a little . . . you gotta leave them hungry enough so they want to buy that ticket right away to satisfy the craving you built up.

So when you’re looking at your marketing materials make sure you ask yourself, “Is this something my big brother would do?”

And if you didn’t have a sibling growing up . . . email me . . . I’ll tell you some stories that’ll make your wedgie curl.


(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



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  • Ian W. says:

    The interesting (and somewhat frightening) thing I’ve discovered about producing theatre is that it doesn’t take a $125 ticket to leave a disastrous impression if they dislike a show. Even if they paid just $12.50 for the ticket (something possible in my town), it’s a much bigger deal. Going to the movies has a comforting routine for many; going to the theatre is full of uncertainties. A “bad” show is somehow emotionally unsettling. If they paid 50 or 75 or 125 dollars, forget it. They’re liable to distrust theatre forever.
    I do have a question about what is the best “tease” you’ve seen lately. Not just a marketing idea/tag line/image– but what bit of info a producer provided that reassured and made them hungry?

  • Michael L. says:

    Add travel costs and aggravation, dinner, dogwalker, etc., and my brother only comes into NYC (from L.I.) to see a show – after commuting there all week – under two circumstances: for a show that he’s EXCITED about (e.g., Tommy), or when his kids are jumping up and down to see something. Once a year, maybe. And, actually, he can afford it, but … for him, the minimal pleasure potential isn’t worth the effort. And he’ll only stay in NYC after work to see a show when his kids are away at summer camp, IF his wife urges it — as she did when they went to see SLEEP NO MORE in August … but he regretted it.
    Will he make the effort to go to the US Open? Yes. Knicks and Rangers? Yes. Movies? All the time (locally). Good luck getting him into a seat! When I/we figure that out, we’ve found the magic formula.

  • janiska says:

    Seems to me that a bang up marketing program is in inverse proportion to the quality of the show. Seems to me that the least interesting shows and movies are the most heavily and expertly marketed.
    No one I know goes to any kind of show based on marketing. They go because someone told them it was great. A truly great show (“Mormon” for instance) needs little marketing because word of mouth is selling more tickets than the theater can seat.

  • mgoldsmith@mgproductions,com says:

    You never told us if you decided to buy or lease the musical equipment? WANT TO KNOW!

  • I can’t imagine how hard it is to market a new show…. apart from anything else you are mostly at the mercy of the critics and their opinions, which can make or break a show before its out of the blocks

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