A simple mistake you must avoid when picking your media.

The choice of where to advertise is one of the most important decisions a Producer can make during a show’s run.

Because, as we pointed out yesterday, if you can get your grosses to increase from year #1 to year #2, then you’ve got potential for a long-running hit.

Of course, after opening, your box office business depends on word of mouth and what awards you’ve won, but it also hinges heavily on where you place your advertising dollars.

Think about it like fishing.  If you’re putting your pole in a hole where there isn’t any fish, it doesn’t matter how great your bait is.

But here’s the “catch” . . . you can’t just go to where there’s a lot of fish. You have to go to where there’s a lot of fish that like what you’ve thrown in the water.

One of the biggest mistakes I see Producers of all levels making left and right is choosing media (specific print publications, news channels, radio stations, websites) based on their habits and not the habits of their audience.

They think because they listen to PLJ or Howard Stern, then everyone does.  I call this the “all about me” style of producing.

Now, this can work, if the Producer IS the audience.  But I find, more than not, the Producer ISN’T the audience.  How can they be?  Especially on musicals where 65% of our audience isn’t from the tri-state area!  Immediately there’s a major difference in how the Producer and the Consumer consume media.

So how do you know where to advertise?

You ask your audience.  Simple.

I always do focus groups a few months into my run, when my audience demographics have settled a bit. The early adopters have come and gone.  The people who read the reviews have come and gone.  And now, the people that are coming are the people that like what I’ve thrown in the water.

Now, my job is just to get more of them.

So once I’ve modeled my typical audience member,  the most important questions I ask them is, “What do you read/watch/listen to?”

Then I look for similarities, and wouldn’t you know it, my media plan writes itself.

When you’re creating your media plan for your show, whether that’s a no-frills Fringe production or a big-budget Broadway show, remember, you’re not trying to get you to go.  You’re trying to get other people to go.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.