One of my favorite theater reporters wrote an article for the Associated Press recently and with the headline alone, he nailed something that I had been thinking for years:
If I had the insight to write that article, I would have headlined it, “Why the @#$% do more people not know about the awesome thing that is Audience Rewards, for @#$%’s sake?”
And that is one of the many reasons I don’t write for the Associated Press!
If you don’t know about Audience Rewards, click here, learn more and join. It’s the “Official Loyalty Program for Broadway” that was started years ago, in a tri-partisan partnership between the major theater chains (which ain’t such an easy thing to broker, by the way).
As a member of Audience Rewards, you earn points, you save money, you get freebies. Bingo, bango, bongo . . . who doesn’t want that?
Don’t misunderstand, AR is a vibrant program with a ton of members. But why doesn’t it feel like an Airline or Hotel loyalty program, which has entire websites dedicated to how to earn more points, hacking VIP status, and more?
In other words, why aren’t YOU a member?
It didn’t take me too long to realize one of the answers. You see, AR is an “industry” loyalty program, not a brand-specific loyalty program.
You’re probably a member of a whole bunch of loyalty programs: American Airlines, Marriot, Hertz, Chili’s, your nail salon, poke bowl place, etc, etc.
You’re probably NOT a member of these loyalty programs: Travel, Hotels, American Chain Restaurants, Beauty Salons, Fast Food Fads, etc.
See what I mean? Industry vs. Specific Brand.
In fact, our loyalty program is probably one of the FEW industry-wide loyalty programs out there (again, a testament to the power brokers who negotiated this deal – because it’s somewhat unprecedented).
I’m so thankful for Audience Rewards, because it gives our fans something to hang their loyalty on, and for us Producers, it puts butts in seats.
But what I’d like to see is more show-specific loyalty programs.
What punch card can you offer your most loyal fans for coming back more than once . . . or even better, recommending your show to others? What type of upgrades can you offer to the audience members who pay full price rather than discount? What non-advertised secret clubs can you create that people can aspire to get an invite to (see American Airlines Concierge Key program).
If you’re not rewarding your customers for their loyalty to you and your brand, then you are missing out on one of the most important parts of your marketing campaigns. Because keeping the customers you have happy is so much easier than acquiring new ones.
So just because our industry has a terrific loyalty program, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one too.
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