Sadly, this is the last blog I will ever write.

Now check the calendar.

Did I getcha?

April Fool’s it is.

Nope, I’m sorry to say, you’re stuck with me.  Now matter how many times a DAY some of the . . . uh . . . indiosyncracies . . . . of our industry make me think about chucking it in and sending off an application to law school . . . I’m going to keep at it.  Blogging, producing, pi**ing people off, whatever.

And you should to.

Happy April Fool’s Day!

 

– – – – –

FUN STUFF:

– Enter The Sunday Giveaway!  Win two tickets to Mamma Mia! on Broadway!  Enter today.

– The next Get Your Show Off The Ground seminar is Saturday, April 2nd sold out!!!  Register for the June 25th seminar now.

– Join the Broadway version of Groupon.  Sign up for MyBroadwayDeal.com  today!

 

Institutions can have personalities, too.

I recently got an email from a non-profit here in the city asking me for money.  The message said, “Please give me money.  Signed, Institution.”

Then I got an email from the Scott Elliot, the Artistic Director of the outstanding New Group, asking me to subscribe.  In addition to a much more personal letter (it was signed simply, “Scott”), the email also featured a nice photo of Scott.

Obviously, you know which one I was more inclined to support.

But it goes beyond that.

In addition to this appeal being much more likely to succeed because of the personal nature of the communication, the strategy of attaching a person (with a face) to a institution has many more long term benefits.

Subscribers, donors, etc. are much more likely to support people . . . not buildings and not companies.  That’s why it’s essential for every non-profit, every building, and every company to have a face, or a personality, that represents the human component of what they do.

When I was in London recently, I went to see Deathtrap at the Noel Coward Theatre. When I opened my program, guess who greeted me with a letter?  Cameron Mackintosh! (Cameron owns the Noel Coward).  And the letter wasn’t just a “welcome to my theater” letter, but rather a letter that talked about the show, the actors, and more.

There are many companies around the country and in this city that are already using this strategy, but there is more that we can all do . . . and more rewards to reap from it.

Think you’ve got this covered?  Try my test to see if your company is successfully using personalization properly:  Ask 10 people who are casual visitors to your space what name comes to mind when you say the name of your venue. If they all don’t say the name of your Artistic Director, CEO, or whomever you want them to say within 3 seconds, you fail.  🙂

If you failed, or if you haven’t started yet, here are five things that person can do to expand his or her presence:

1.  BLOG IT UP!

I think every Artistic Director should blog, and it should be available right on the home page. Describe your daily successes as well as the challenges you face.  Give insider scoop on upcoming shows (photos and more), etc.  In blog form, these entries might seem more journal-like, and less solicitation-like, and you might find yourself raising money passively throughout the year.

2.  SIGNED, YOU.

Every letter, ticket confirmation, and donation request should come from one voice . . . yours.  And include photos.

3.  GREET THE PEEPS.

As often as you can, park yourself in front of the ticket takers and shake hands, get recognized, and meet as many of your customers as possible.  And don’t just talk to the Richie Riches.  Today’s single ticket buyer could be tomorrow’s subscriber.

And if you can be there at the end of the show to listen to people’s thoughts, complaints, feedback, etc., even better.

4.  SHOW FACE.

Take advice from Scott and insert your photos into your correspondence. I’d also put photos of you and your team by the box office, and other key places.  You want people to recognize you when you’re at the Duane Reade.

5.  ANSWER EVERY EMAIL

Your email should be plastered all over your site.  Let your subscribers, patrons, and more have direct access to you.  And respond. It’ll mean a lot to them . . . which will no doubt mean a lot to you.

Are these things that difficult to do?  No.  Do these things take time?  Yes.

But I have a feeling you think your institution or your company is worth it.

I have to do something that I haven’t done in three years . . .

Due to the unbelievable response from yesterday’s announcement, I . . . uh . . . I just don’t have anything for you today.  But I promise I’ll be back tomorrow.

Thanks for understanding . . . now I’ve gotta get back to my call list.

I’ve got some “People” to talk to.

– – – – –

Oh, I am speaking today at Patron Technology’s E-Marketing E-Mersion E-vent. The topic?  Whatever you want it to be.  For the first time, I’m trying something totally different at this conference – no specific topic for my presentation. Instead, I’m going to lead a town hall open forum where, as a group, we try to solve specific issues facing people attending the conference.

If any of you are going, I will see you there.

And we’ll see if it works!

At the Broadway League Conference: Day 1/Kids ‘R Theatergoers Too

One of the hippest long-term audience development initiatives the Broadway League came up with over the last few years was the establishment of a Kids Advisory Board.  The Board is made up of thirty kids, ages 11 – 16, from all over the country.  What do they have in common?  They love the Broadway!

By tapping the minds of these young avid influencers, the League is able to learn the simple answers to a host of questions that could help secure the health of the Broadway theater through Generation Z (aka The Net Generation), Generation Ai, and beyond.

At the first day of the Broadway League conference, the League put six of the members of the Advisory Board on a panel and grilled them about their theater habits, their friends’ habits, and more.

Here is a bullet point list of some things that I learned from our next generation of audiences, actors, and producers:

  • The entire panel said that it was their parents who suggested which shows to see.
  • 5 of the 6 panel members said that their #1 internet destination was Facebook.  The 6th member didn’t have a Facebook page, but she did have a blog.
  • 5 of the 6 panel members did NOT visit any theater websites (e.g. Playbill.com, BroadwaySpace.com, etc.).
  • All of the panel members said their parents paid for their tickets.  One piped up and said, “That’s what they’re for.”
  • All of the panel members preferred musicals.  Half of the panel said that music was important for keeping not only their attention, but the attention of their younger siblings who couldn’t sit still for too long without the excitement of a musical.
  • One panel member was a pretty regular playgoer, but she said she didn’t start seeing plays until she was 14.
  • All of the panel watched the Tonys, but said their friends didn’t.
  • When asked what the #1 thing they enjoyed about Broadway was, a survey of these 6 plus another 700 revealed that the “performers” were the most exciting part (translation – expect more star casting in the future).
  • One of them read reviews, but none of them let the reviews influence their decision either way.  As the only boy on the panel said, “It doesn’t matter what they [the reviewers] say.  What matters is your opinion.”

There’s a lyric in Bye Bye Birdie that goes something like, “Kids!  Who can understand anything they say?”

Well, we better start trying to understand what they say, because these kids, and the thousands of others around the country just like them, are the premium ticket buyers of tomorrow.

A giant lollipop to The League for letting us listen.

Stay tuned for Day #2 from The League Conference tomorrow!

******************************************************************************************

Only 22 days left to enter The Producer’s Perspective Tony Pool. Win an iPad!

Play today! Click here!

And don’t forget to RSVP for my Tony Party!

Play my Tony pool! Win an iPad!

Woo-woo!  Sharpen your electronic pencils and prepare to pick your winners . . . and maybe you’ll be a big winner yourself!

Tony Awards can equal big business for Producers, so being able to determine which shows will take home trophies is something all Producers should practice.

Now we can all practice with the 3rd Annual Producer’s Perspective Tony Pool!

If you’re new to the blog and didn’t play last year, here’s how it works: the person who picks the most winners wins!  As simple as an R&H melody!

What do you win?

Here are the prizes:

GRAND PRIZE:  An iPad!

FIRST PRIZE:  A Kindle

SECOND PRIZE:  A $50 Amazon Gift Certificate

This year, I’m also adding a special PERFECT SCORE Bonus of $100 CASH!  If anyone out there picks ALL of the winners, you’ll get a bonus 100 bucks.  (I’m dying to give that away so pick carefully!)

To play, click the link here and pick away!

 

The rules of the game and the restrictions are all on the ballot, but a few super important ones:

– Only one entry per reader.  Multiple entries will disqualify all of your entries.

– In order to verify entries, only email subscribers to the blog are eligible.  If you are not an email subscriber, use the box on the upper left of this page to subscribe now.

– Make sure you fill out ALL of the information on the “Verification Page” of your entry.  Incomplete entries (and there were a few last year) cannot be counted.

– When asked for your email on the “Verification Page”, make sure you enter the same email that you use to subscribe to the blog. 

Please read all of the rules carefully on the site before submitting your entry!  Don’t forget, you’re picking what you think WILL win, not what you want to win. 

The Tony Pool will officially close on Thursday, June 10th at 11:59 PM, so don’t delay, play today!

Good luck to all of you and the nominees!

CLICK HERE TO PLAY THE TONY POOL!

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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