Advice from an expert: Vol. V. Let’s search together

One on the industry’s up-and-coming marketers, Leslie Barrett, joins us today.  Leslie is on loan from her position as the Director of Integrated Marketing at one of our industry’s heavyweight advertising agencies.  As the Dir. of Integrated Marketing, Leslie insures that marketing and advertising campaigns are working well together.

Leslie and I recently got into a conversation about exactly that, “working well together”, and she shared an idea with me on how to combat one of the our biggest online marketing challenges: how do we compete with ticket brokers who can spend a lot more money on online advertising, most specifically Adwords.

Here’s Leslie’s expert opinion:

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Search has become such an important part of our everyday lives, it’s hard to imagine what we did before the world’s information was available at our fingertips.

So, I’ve been tossing around the idea of cooperative search, where all Broadway shows would bid on the generic terms as a group, ultimately sending the customer to a page that lists every Broadway show (and off-Broadway for that matter) with face-value ticket prices.  But I did some rough math, and it just seems too expensive ($3K – $5K per show per week).

Since the secondary market is so highly motivated to sell our tickets (mainly through search), why can’t we make a deal, or several deals?  The secondary market is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it’s here to stay.  Let’s figure out how to partner with these companies, keep our customers happy, and share in some of this revenue.

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Leslie’s on to something here.  I like her co-oped search idea, and would go further as to distribute the cost of the program based on its results.  Give each show in the program a specific code, and charge the shows that sell the most tickets the bulk of the costs of the program, thereby distributing the costs more fairly.

But Leslie’s most radical idea is the one we all have to remember.  Reaching across the aisle takes courage, but sometimes our biggest enemies can be our biggest allies.  Godfather fans will remember that Don Corleone brought all the members of the five families together to talk first.

Then, his son killed them all.

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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.