We get ’em while they’re going. Why not while they’re coming?

Here’s my general marketing rule of thumb:  If everyone is doing something one way, do the exact opposite.

Here’s an example . . .

Many a Broadway and Off-Broadway show choose to add value to certain performances by hosting post-show talkbacks.  If you’ve never been to one, they’re great.  They often feature the stars, or the creative team . . . or sometimes, like what we did on Oleanna, they can go beyond the people in the room and ignite fantastic conversation that can fuel word-of-mouth and piss off your author.

Talkbacks are great.

But, truth-in-ticket-sales be told, they don’t usually generate sales.  Instead they do three things:

  • They get press
  • They add value
  • They stoke the word-of-mouth fire among your biggest fans

These three things are all good.  Which is why just about everyone does them.

So . . . if everyone is doing post-show talkbacks, why not do pre-show talkbacks?

This concept would be ideal for the shows that require a little primer in the dialogue, or the plot (Shakespeare anyone?) Or, the talkback could just serve as a warm-up for an audience about to take-in a comedy (Jay Leno, Letterman, etc. all have warm-ups before they start their shows for a reason).

Or maybe the pre-show talkback takes place at a restaurant nearby.  Package a dinner, and a special appearance by a cast member to help explain a little about the show they are about to see.

Opportunities are endless of course, and the cool thing is that they all seem original . . . because everyone is doing the other thing.

Try it for yourself.  The next time someone suggests something, ask yourself if the exact opposite might work even better.  You might still end up going with the first suggestion.  But “Examining The Opposite” is a trick I use that helps encourage creativity and inspire originality.


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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.