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Is a 6:30 Start Time the Answer to Declining Theatre Audiences?


I’ve been following the experiment Ken Davenport has going with starting times for A Beautiful Noise on Brodway.

Ken switched a Wednesday night show with a Thursday matinee performance and the results have been pretty compelling:

  • 2x Revenue
  • 80% higher gross
  • 148% more premium conversions
  • 12% more folks from out of town

Why do I bring that up today? 

Because I read two articles from ‘The Stage’ today that brought the need to really focus on your customer into clearer view:

Why does this matter?

Lyn writes about a couple of trends that have been present for decades before the return from COVID made a lot of issues more pronounced:

  • Always time to wait for a better time to do something differently.
  • Disruptions that are constant and never end. 
  • “Business as usual” having a foothold that never ceases. 

Roger hits a different tone, writing about the demographic issues of today being highlighted back in the 1990s. 

So, you know, with a little warning. 

The question Roger asks is “do we adjust our buildings and investments for the aging?” or is there something else?

Yesterday, I wrote about the ideas that drive my thinking and my business:

One of the big ones: put the customer at the heart of everything. 

The importance of the customer and the lack of attention to what’s best for the customer goes back to an early podcast conversation I had

The gist of that conversation was about on-sale times and dates, but the truth is that everything is marketing and that no customers, no business. 

Here are some things to consider:

You can go on, but you need to put the demands of attending in the context of the lives of the customers you serve. 

A couple of questions to stimulate your thinking:

  • When was the last time you talked to your customers? (I mean more than just the automated post performance survey, if you have one.) 
  • Do you know what success looks like for your organization or team? (Going beyond just driving revenue. Are you looking to target certain audiences? Certain people?) 
  • Who is your customer, really? (Is it the right one or the one that has always been your customer?)

Let me know what you are thinking? 

You can email me, DM me, post in our Slack Channel, or snail mail! I love holiday care packages. 

Let me know what you are thinking about going into 2024!

Give me the gift of sharing this with someone that you know that will benefit with thinking through their approach to customers!