takes a test. And passes just by taking it. gets a lot of money for its email blasts.  They charge shows like mine $6,200 to blast discount offers to its 325,000 members.

Each time they blast, they sell tickets.  And every time they blast, they get unsubscribes.  So, to blast when they are not getting paid is risky, because they lose some members, which could mean less tickets for the next client, which means it could be harder to justify the $6,200.

But this weekend, they sent a blast without getting paid, and without selling a thing.

They sent a survey.

They did it so they could get demographic info about their members, find out what they liked, what they didn’t like, and so on.  All information that they can use to make their members happier, and therefore grow their list, and then make even more money for their clients, justifying even higher costs.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of surveys and testing for every aspect of what we do.  Like everything else in our internet-age, it’s not that hard any more, so there is no excuse not to do it.  Great companies like Survey Monkey make it ultra-easy and ultra-economical for you to send a survey asking for opinions on your artwork, your first act, your tag line, etc.

I got into a discussion with an industry pro who thought that testing wasn’t worth it.  I couldn’t disagree more.  Testing is part our every other part of our life, why shouldn’t it be part of our business?

If you’re sick, you take your temperature.  But even if you’re not sick, you still go in for a yearly physical.

If your car is making strange rattling noises, you take it to the shop.  But even if it’s running great, you take it in for an inspection and a tune-up.

If there is the possibility that you could do something better (and that should be all of us), then you must test.  Props to Playbill for realizing that a short term loss (possible unsubscribes) could mean a long term gain.

Some testing tips:

  • Who is taking your test is even more important than the test itself.  Make sure it’s an appropriate audience.
  • If you test, you must be prepared to do something with the results, no matter what they say.  If the SATs didn’t count and you could just disregard them, they wouldn’t be worth taking.
  • Take tests yourself.  Learn what to ask from what others are asking.
  • Take the results and add them your own instincts to make your final decisions.  Colleges look at SATs yes, but they also look at personal essays.  Testing is not the only tool in your box.

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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.