In thinking through some of the challenges facing selling tickets in today’s market, I’ve landed on the belief that the biggest challenge facing teams, acts, shows, and other forms of live entertainment is one of marketing.
We have seen data back up visible insight that consumers are more willing to buy experiences than ever before.
But we still struggle to capture a more significant share of people’s attention and experiential buy because we aren’t marketing properly.
When I wrote a piece on challenges facing the performing arts a few years back, one of the top challenges was marketing and another one was expressing value.
In the time since I first published that post, the challenge has only accelerated.
With the idea that we need to express value more effectively and market more efficiently, here are some tips that could help you.
1. Focus on the emotional:
People buy with emotion and justify with logic.
Yet, the world is littered with tons of examples of people that still market a show as something akin to checking some boxes.
“Our seats are expansive and comfortable.”
“You have access to private bathrooms.”
These are all great!
But they aren’t going to be the reason someone purchases.
Ask any fan that has stood in the pit for a Pearl Jam show what they went for and it won’t be the bathrooms, the comfortable seating, or anything else.
It will be for the experience of being close to the stage and being right there with the band.
That’s emotional, not logical.
2. Focus on what is valuable to the person you aim to serve:
Maybe the most pertinent rule in marketing is that you aren’t your market.
This means that you can’t make decisions on how you are marketing based on your wants and desires, they don’t matter.
Instead, you have to focus on what the wants and desires of your market are.
What will have an impact on the person you aim to serve?
3. Don’t focus just on winning/hot:
It is easy to sell Hamilton.
Until it isn’t.
The same goes for winning.
The Washington Nationals have been winning at a fantastic rate for the last few years and they don’t draw really well at all.
You can’t market hot or winning because that might be important, but it isn’t that important.
What is more important is a lot of other things: experience, connection, community. Market those.
4. Focus on the holistic customer lifecycle:
Somewhere along the line, the season ticket died in sports and the subscription went on life-support in the arts.
There isn’t one simple answer.
There are a number of issues here, but one of the big ones would have to be a loss of focus on the customer as a part of the journey of the team.
Instead, we have just fallen into the trap of looking at customers as numbers on a spreadsheet.
Over the weekend, Hatti Simpson and Martin Gammeltoft had an exchange on Twitter about something Hattie learned at Martin’s session at INTIX and how she implemented it.
Putting into practice @MGammeltoft and @TennisShawn‘s #INTIX2019 session on customer moments today with a hand written note in a complimentary programme for an access customer revisiting us after a while away! #themagicbehindthebutton
— Hatti ? (@HattiSimpson) February 9, 2019
Which led me to comment: “What is the ROI of being nice?”
The thing is that insights like Martin shared and Hattie put into practice aren’t smart in the short term, they might require you to take time away from squeezing people through the door like cattle or finding a way to charge an extrea $1 for a beer, but in the long-term the ROI on these things is way more impressive because instead of gaining one extra dollar or two, this person is likely to spend $100s or $1,000s more.
Focus on the lifecycle of the customer.
5. Use Design Thinking To Think Through Everything:
Seth Godin describes Design Thinking with two questions:
Who is it for?
What is it for?
That seems like a good jumping off point to me.
We should be paying more attention to using the principles of Design Thinking to help us create experiences that will have people coming back.
At the heart of Design Thinking is a simple concept, empathy.
We care about the people we are working to serve. They are the reason that we have a job to do and they are the reason we get to deliver the value that we love as well.
To treat people like they aren’t on a journey or can’t be converted to be a part of the journey with us is a missed opportunity because the live experience is about people and the more people we can enlist in our cause, the better.
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