What Whole Foods and Broadway have in common

I just got back from a three-day Digital Marketing conference where I learned about the latest and greatest tools in e-technology, what AI is going to do to e-commerce, and why email is STILL the best form of marketing on the planet.

Oh, and if only I had a dollar every time someone said that Amazon was the devil, I’d never have to raise money for a show ever again. (Ironically, that devil has a lot of worshippers, since everyone at the conference shopped on Amazon, and half of the attendees sold something on Amazon . . . including me!)

In one of the many conversations we had about Amazon, we got around to how they owned Whole Foods.  It was odd . . . here was a big digital company, that owned a big Brick and Mortar.  Why?

Because they are more similar than you think.

They both are in the middle of the customer and the creator.

The #1 frustration that Sellers who distribute their products to Whole Foods or Amazon have was that they couldn’t communicate with their customer.  Since their customers mostly purchased through WF, or through Amazon directly, the Sellers never had access to their address, email address, buying habits, etc.

Sound familiar?

Broadway sells tickets through third parties as well (although none of them are as good as Amazon or Whole Foods in servicing the needs of the customers – and that isn’t a knock on our ticketing companies, by the way – it’s just that Amazon and Whole Foods are that good).

So what do we do?

Well, it’s a problem.  And a big one.

Because ironically, as everyone talked about Amazon taking over the world at this conference, the theme of the conference was also . . . BE CUSTOMER-CENTRIC.

How can we be customer-centric if we can’t talk to them?

I Instagrammed last week a favorite quote from Jimmy Nederlander who said . . .

If they don’t let you in the front door, go down the chimney.

And this is what you’re going to have to do to survive in any industry going forward, but especially if you sell tickets, board games, or jalapeno milkshakes through a third party seller like Amazon, Whole Foods or Ticketmaster.

Here are three questions to ask yourself to help you down your customer’s chimney:

  1. What are you doing to capture your customer’s information on your website?
  2. What are you doing to capture your customer’s information at your venue?
  3. What are you doing to capture your customer’s information on your social channels?

The key to efficient marketing is not having to pay to message your most qualified leads.  Third parties make it hard.

But not impossible.

Consider yourself challenged.

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Want more marketing tips from three of my favorite marketing gurus?  Join us at our conference and hear from Broadway and Off Broadway Marketing Directors Sara Fitzpatrick, Amanda Pekoe and Amanda Bohan, and many more.  Click here and sign up now!

Have an idea for a show? Here’s the First and SECOND thing you should do.

One of my most read blogs is something I threw down way back in 2009, entitled, “Got an idea for a show?  Here’s the first thing you should do.”

You can read that blog here.  And you should, because my advice holds true today.

The simple synopsis of that blog is that if you’ve got an idea for a show you want to write, produce, create, etc., then you should grab the domain name tout suite (aka NOW!).

The blog was written in response to a bunch of cyber-squatters I had run into on a couple of big Broadway shows, who held my domains ransom until I shelled out some serious cash.  See, as soon as they heard the show was in development (not even production), they threw down the $12 or so and waited until someone like me came along and wanted it.  Their ROI was well over 1000%.

The good news is that since that blog in 2009, Google has futzed with their algorithm enough times and consumer search behavior has changed so much that cyber-squatters don’t have the business they once did. But buying the domain for a musical or play that you’ve written as soon as you’ve got an idea is still an important first step for anyone trying to build a brand.

Because if you don’t buy it, someone else will.

But getting the right domain name isn’t enough anymore, especially if you want the holy grail of all things marketing…organic search traffic.  Imagine…free traffic, that others pay mucho dinero for, just coming to your site, learning about you and your shows, instead of someone else’s.

See, when Google futzed with that algorithm, they stopped rewarding people who just owned a domain that matched what the consumer wanted to find.  Now, Google takes a real hard look at the quality of the website that the domain points to.

Wait…you have an idea for a show…or worse…you’ve written a show…and you don’t have a website yet?  Or you have a website, but Google isn’t finding you first?  Or you’re a writer or director or actor or ANYTHING and you don’t have a website yet?

Sound the alarm.

Because the 2nd thing you have to do as soon as you have an idea for the show, or want a career in any business is…get a website.

Unfortunately, getting a website isn’t as easy as getting a domain (which is why Google started rewarding those with quality websites and not just clever domains).  But it’s so much more important.

Establishing your web presence early can easily save you thousands of dollars in advertising when your show is ready for production.  And it can help so many people discover you and your talent even before you have a show!  I know, because I’ve built about 50 in my career, including one of the first ever sites for an Off Broadway show.

Having a quality website is so important, we’re holding an online workshop entitled:  Websites:  Why You Need One and What It Should Look Like.

During this hour-long workshop, you’ll learn:

  • How to build a website (and your brand) without breaking the bank.
  • The one mistake even big-time ad agencies make when building a website.
  • How to use “The Secrets of SEO” to get people you don’t even know to visit your website.
  • A simple trick that I reserve for my consulting clients that can double and triple the traffic to their site.
  • What most web designers will leave out if you don’t ask for it.

And lots more, including a Q&A on all things web related that you might be curious about.

The Online Workshop is next Wed, July 12th at 7 PM EDT.  But if you can’t make that time, register anyway and we’ll send you the complete files the very next day.

The Workshop is $179, or free for ProducersPerspectivePRO members for only $97.  And you get all the other benefits that come along with a PRO membership.

This Workshop, like our others, is 101% guaranteed.  If we can’t save you $179 or make you a lot more than that over the lifetime of your show’s site, then just email us after you take the Workshop, and we’ll gladly give you a refund.

Sign up for the Workshop here or for PRO here.

When the bloom goes off the . . . Apple.

It was a helluva ride.

After a decade of crushing it, three days ago, Apple admitted that some of its fruit may be spoiling.

In their quarterly earnings announcement, one of the largest companies in the world disappointed the street when they missed their forecasts by an orchard sized amount.

It was their first quarterly sales drop in 13 years.

The stock dropped 5% immediately.

One of the primary reasons behind the fall?  For the first time . . . the very first time since the launch of the iPhone . . . they sold less of them than the year before.

And right about now you’re wondering, “Uh, am I on the right website?  What the heck is Ken doing talking about tech companies?”

Well, first, rest assured, Gremlins didn’t take over your browser.  You’re on the right website.

Second, Apple isn’t really a tech company.  I consider them just as much of an entertainment company as any major studio.

And lastly, well, here’s why this announcement got my attention.

When you’ve got a hit product . . . or a hit show . . . it’s easy to sit back, get a little complacent, and just think it’s going to be gravy train time forever.

And it just ain’t.

What this announcement reminded me is that all things, even the iPhone . . . one of the, if not the, most influential products of the 21st century . . . eventually cool down.

Do you remember those launches?  The hype.  The lines.  The price tags (that no one had problems paying).  And what about the cool commercial that featured a Broadway Producer/Blogger that you might know?

They’ll never have that again with the iPhone.  That means Apple can’t sit back on that success if they want to continue to grow.

And you can’t either.

Or, to put it in the words that a plain-speakin’ mentor once told me, “You’re only as good as your next show.”

When you have a hit, use the resources and attention that comes along with it to double down on your research and development to find your next one.

(Side note:  I’m not sure Apple will ever get to where it once was without Mr. Jobs, the ultimate Creative Producer, at the helm.  It would be like me taking over David Merrick or Cameron Mackintosh’s company and expecting to have the same success.  They can expect different success.  But not the same.)

 

(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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FUN STUFF:

– Get everything you need to help get your show off the ground when you join TheProducersPerspectivePro for free.  Join the club today.

– Listen to Podcast Episode #69 with the President of the Booking Group, Meredith Blair!  Click here.

– WEBINAR ALERT: “How do I get the rights to the book, movie, music . . .” on Wednesday, May 11th at 7PM ETClick here to register. Or get it for FREE when you join Pro.

Have you cut your electronic grass lately?

Websites used to be simple.

You put them up.  Period.

But you can’t get away with just erecting a site and walking away anymore.  Oh no.  Especially when you’ve got a long-running show.

You see, if the Internet is like the information superhighway, then websites are the houses along this electronic roadway.  And as consumers race by, you want a site that stands out and makes the driver say, “Oooh, look at that beautiful/interesting/unique ‘house’ . . . let’s pull over and see what’s inside.”

That’s why it’s important your initial design be something that can attract the consumer when they’re cruising by.

But that is not where your design job ends.

Too many shows (and businesses, for that matter) think that once they launch their mega site, they can move on to something else.  But that’s the equivalent of not cutting the grass in front of your house for months, or letting the paint peel, or not raking the leaves.  Who wants to stop at a house that looks like that?  In fact, when your site looks a little run-down, “drivers” will speed up instead of pulling over, and say, “Honey, we’re in a bad neighborhood, let’s get the eff out of here and quick!”

With that, you’ve lost them forever.

That’s why it’s not only important to freshen up your site with new content as often as you can get it, but it’s essential that you comb through your site at least once a month, looking for outdated content, stale information, and anything that makes it look like you’re letting the grass grow a little too high.

What’s great about the net is that it allows you to get the latest and greatest information on anything with the click of a button.  But that means anything BUT the latest and greatest information looks like someone doesn’t care.

And if you don’t care, how do you expect a customer to?

 

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

– – – – –

FUN STUFF:

– Listen to Podcast Episode #55 with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book Writer & Director James Lapine!  Click here.

– Win one ticket to TEDxBroadway 2016!  Click here.

– Only 6 performances left of Spring Awakening.  Get your tickets today!  Click here.

Trivia Time: What’s the second largest search engine on the web?

Well?

Got an answer?

I guess we should start with the obvious . . . the #1 search engine on the web is the Google-meister.

But #2?

Yahoo?  Bing?  AOL?

Nope.  Wrong.  And BAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Oh AOL, you’re like the Lindsay Lohan of ISPs.  At one point, there was so much promise.  Now you’re just a mess.

Anyway, back to the trivia.

The #2 search engine on the web is . . . YouTube.  (And yeah, if you’re keeping track – Google owns YouTube, so they’ve got the #1 and #2 spots locked up . . . don’t think they’re going to Lohan anytime soon.)

YouTube is no longer just a place to see funny cat videos or “people falling down.”  It’s a place to hear and see music, get fashion advice, and learn about how to do anything from getting six-pack abs to making a perfect putt to rocking your audition.

You see where I’m going with this, right?

If you’re not using video to market your show or yourself, you’re late to the party . . . and you’re in a t-shirt when it was black tie.

Get this: according to recent studies and projections, in 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer Internet traffic.

So you gotta get there . . .

Your ad agency will tell you these same things . . . to justify why you need to advertise on YouTube.

But I’m talking more than that.  You don’t just want ads.  And you don’t just want clips from your show.  Anyone can do that.

You want content.  Unique content.  Content that gives people insight . . . content that gives people answers that they are looking for, because that’s why people go to search engines, right?

Why do you go to Google?  Because you need to know something.  An address, a review of a show, what the heck that rash way down below really is (sorry, that was a Lindsay Lohan searched phrase).

That’s a huge reason why people go to YouTube as well.  They just get the answers in a different form.  And they like that form . . . to the tune of that 69% of traffic.  And I expect it to grow beyond that in 2018 and beyond.

So make sure you and your show grow with it.

 

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

– – – – –

FUN STUFF:

– Listen to Podcast Episode #54 with Tony Award-winning Director Diane Paulus!  Click here.

– Win two tickets to Tappin’ Thru Life Off Broadway!  Click here.

– Only 14 performances left of Spring Awakening.  Get your tickets today!  Click here.

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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