Merch madness.

I fell in love with the movie Better Off Dead (and its leading lady, Diane Franklin), when I was 14.

In addition to using my allowance to buy the movie on VHS (which cost $79.99 at the time), I also bought the poster and the soundtrack.  They didn’t have Better Off Dead t-shirts . . . so I created my own with a silk screen press I made in shop.

When a consumer is crazy about something, they want to re-experience it in any way they can.  They want to show it off.

They want to buy merch.

As marketers, we’re always looking to find our most passionate customers.  Sometimes we forget to look in the  most obvious of places.

Our most passionate people are standing in line at our merch stand.

People willing to fork over $65 for a zippered Wicked hoodie are also the ones most likely to tell their friends that they “just have to see that show!”  These are the types of people that are the keys to any successful word of mouth campaign (for Fyiero’s sake, they’re willing to pay to wear an over-priced sweatshirt probably made in a sweatshop featuring your logo!).

Like the 800# idea, reaching out to your merch buyers is another way around Ticketmaster and Telecharge, allowing us to talk to our BEST customers directly.

So, how do you take advantage of it?

Collect contact info at your merch stand.  Create partnerships with your merch company so that they give you access to the people that buy merch online (or start your own merch company).  Offer a gift certificate for tickets that they can buy for their friends.  Stuff the merch bags with flyers.  Train your sellers to sell the show as well as the shirts.

Merch stands are mines of golden customers.  And they’re there in our lobbies.

Now if only Diane were in the lobby . . .

Related Posts


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.