Why I love In-N-Out Burger . . . and it’s not the fries.

ken davenport, broadway, off broadway, theatre, theater, producer The fries are good, and the burgers are better.  But the real reason I love In-N-Out is the secret sauce.

And I'm not talking about the stuff they put on their meat.

I'm talking about the "secret" stuff that isn't on the menu.

For years, In-N-Out has had a secret menu that gets passed around like a note in a 8th grade algebra class.  Did you know you could get a Grilled Cheese?  Or a 3×3?  Or everyone's favorite . . . an Animal Style burger?  (The secret menu is now online on their official site here, but look at the type of response it got before then on sites like this one.)

You wouldn't know any of these items existed if you just looked at the menu that hangs above the 17 year old's head at any of their 250+ locations.  To know about these "special" items, you'd have to be in-the-know, you'd have to be a "real" fan . . . you'd have to be cool.

And that's what it comes down to. Information is not only power, but information you have that your friend doesn't makes you look just a little bit smarter.  And who doesn't like to look smarter?  

Know what else it  does?  Well, just like the 8th grader in Alegbra, knowing a secret also makes you want to share it because it shows off that extra knowledge in the process.  "Did you hear who likes Jenny?  Well, I'm not supposed to tell, but . . . "

Consumers love to discover things that make them feel part of an exclusive club.  Whether that's a new restaurant, a new show, or a new menu.  (The video game market has done this for years – with hidden worlds, cheat codes that give you unlimited weapons and more.)

Can you bury hidden treasure into your marketing plan that your audiences could discover, and then spread?

Can you build in secrets to your marketing strategies that could get your faithful fans talking and sharing?  A hidden page on a web site . . . something hidden under a seat in your theater . . . where your actors party after the show.

We've come up with a few cool ideas on Godspell already.  But I'm not going to tell you what they are.

They're secret.


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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.