How to keep your marketing fresh using today’s topics.

The marketing gold star of the week goes to Theaterworks in Hartford, CT for reminding us that one way to get attention for your show is to look at what else your audience is paying attention to.

Check out this link.

Rather then sending their email subscribers the typicial, “Hey, we’re doing A Steady Rain right now – you should come and see it – and oh, here’s a discount because that’s the most creative thing we can come up with right now,” the marketing folks sent out a WikiLeaks email spoof called TheaterLeaks.

As you’ll see when you click the link, it’s a “cable” in the form of a Stage Management report that doubles as a marketing message about the fun, the laughs, the standing ovations, and that tickets are going fast.

I know, a whole lot of you are thinking, “smaarrrrrt.”

It is smart.  And it’s smart for the following two reasons:

  • It’s different from all the other email messages you get about shows.
  • It’s topical, which makes their product seem topical, current, and fresh.

Cameron Mackintosh used to dress up his Cosette logos in Santa Claus hats at Christmas to try and keep his show seem current (and because the contrast of serious frenchie Cosette in “costumes” was just fun).

I’ve seen Tony congrats ads from shows, and most recently, even an email about The Royal Wedding (which I even blogged about on Monday).

Broadway shows can run for years.  Keep saying the same things over and over and your audience will tune their attention to one of the many new shows that open each year.

But watching what else is capturing your audience’s interest in the world outside of ours may just be the way to capture a few more ticket sales.

See the smaarrrrrt Theaterworks email here.

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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Surprise, surprise! A show recoups sans star!

Here’s something that you probably didn’t expect to hear (I know I didn’t) . . .

Next to Normal recouped its investment.

Crushing current conventional Broadway wisdom, this non-spectacle, non-star-driven musical about a woman suffering from bipolar disorder fought through a steady rain of a season and made it into profit.  Oh, and it did it in a pretty timely fashion (the recoupment was announced exactly one year from the show’s first preview).

Super kudos to everyone involved in this production who fought the biggest of uphill battles getting into the black.

How did they do it?

IMHO, there are three reasons why N2N recouped:

1.  A killer score

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, when the root word of musical is ‘music,’ there’s a lot riding on that score.  Normal‘s score is so fantastic and fresh, it took down the mighty Elton John and won a Tony.  Nothing spreads word of mouth faster than great tunes.

2. A “committed” team of Producers and Creatives.

Does anyone remember that in addition to trying out at the NYMF in ’05 under the title Feeling Electric, the show came into New York to soft response at Second Stage, then left New York for DC, then came back to NY?  That’s like showing up at a party underdressed, leaving, and coming back a few hours later in a new outfit like nothing happened.  But something did happen, alright.  The team worked their tails off.  It took faith and a giant set of grapes to do what they did.

3.  A low capitalization and even lower running costs.

A Broadway musical for $4 million bucks, even with all that development?  That’s the way to do it.  To tell its intimate story, N2N didn’t need a chandelier and a helicopter.  More importantly, everyone on the team obviously knew that this one wasn’t going to be easy, so they structured it to make economic sense given the material, and now everyone is making a lot more dollars and cents.
The recoupment of Normal on Broadway in this environment is a major event.  It demonstrates that smart material and smart producing can yield positive results, despite what we think is our audience’s appetite.

So when everyone is telling you that your show won’t work, you should remind them that a trend is a trend . . . until one show changes it.

And that show might as well be yours.

You can read all about the recoupment in Patrick Healy’s New York Times article here.