Got bait?

I feel a bit like the band I did a documentary on this week, because I’m in like five different cities in six days:  LA/Vegas/San Diego/LA/Portland.

The cool thing about these trips though is the tips and tricks I can pick up along the way, and share with you.

Today’s tip is sponsored by the town of Malibu (which I liked so much, I think they should change the name from Mali-boo to Mali-ohhh-yeah.)  I was driving through Mali-ohhh-yeah, and stopped at this cool, little, fancy, outdoor mall to get a bite at one of the cool, little restaurants within (I had a chicken sandwich from Mutts Grill, which was to cry for, btw).  In the middle of the shops and restaurants there was . . . a playground.

And that playground was overflowing with a bunch of Mali-ohhh-yeah kiddies.

So I don’t know if you know this, but . . . people under the age of 8 usually travel with people over the age of 25.  So if a kid says, “Mommy/Daddy, take me to the playground,” Mommy and Daddy (and their wallet full of credit cards), are really taking them to the mall.

The playground is the marketing bait that gets the fish closer to the hook.

It’s brilliant, of course, but it’s marketing without looking like marketing.  It’s a win-win.  Parents get a playground to take their kids to.  Stores get shoppers.

So what can we do, both in our theaters in NY, as well as the theaters all over the country to get more people closer, so that they might buy a ticket?

How about:

  • Free WiFi
  • Free coffee
  • Charging Stations
  • Fancy art collections
  • Local art collections
  • Theater Museums
  • Lectures
  • Classes
  • and . . . yep, a playground

The possibilities are . . . well . . . they are only limited by our own imagination.  But we should spend some time imagining.

Because sometimes the best way to expand an audience is to bait them into your building for another reason altogether, and then they’ll jump on your hook without you having to do a thing.

P.S.  If there’s something you think I should check out when I speed through one of those cities I mentioned, let me know!


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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.