What Kool and the Gang have to do with marketing your show.
Sing it with me . . .
“Celebrate good times, come on!” Ba-da-da-da-da-da-da-ba-ba-da. “Woo-hoo!”
You know the song. But are you using it in your marketing?
People love a reason to party. And when that reason is to celebrate a cause they believe in . . . be it a charity, a sports team, or yes, a show, they’ll party like it’s 1999 (to quote another now archaic classic) and spend lots of money in the process.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
During this year’s Broadway League conference, we got an inside the locker room view of the marketing of the Miami Heat by their Exec. VP, Kim Stone. Of course, Kim talked a lot about what they did to sell tickets, but what was even more interesting to me was what they did after their season was over.
I should say that I’m talking about one specific season . . . one of the ones when the Heat won the NBA Championship.
You know what’s cool when you win an NBA Championship? Or a Super Bowl? They give all the players these super cool, jewel encrusted rings to wear with pride.
You know that the Heat did? They made a ring for the fans to buy as well. And, oh boy did they ever. But more important than the money the Heat made from the sales was the pride that their fans felt showing off their rings to their friends. The Heat gave their fans a chance to feel like one of the team. They allowed them to celebrate with them. (When Kinky Boots won the Tony Award, one of our cast members took it upon himself to make a Tony ring – and wouldn’t you know my investors snatched them up like crazy.)
You know what else the Heat did, and what most teams do when they win a championship? They had a parade. Yep, they walked up and down the streets where they lived hootin’ and hollerin’. And yeah, when they made that ruckus, people that weren’t basketball fans had to pay attention (I call this Ruckus Marketing – when you make so much noise people have to pay attention).
Oh, and then, they had this big trophy that the NBA gave them . . . and they actually let bigger buyers (corporate) borrow that sucker for their events!
Now do you get it?
When something awesome happens that you’ve been working your butt off for (and this can be a Tony Award, a regional theater award, a proclamation from your Mayor, etc.), capitalize on that success by celebrating along with your fans, instead of celebrating to your fans.
Can you have a parade? Or a party that your super fans get access to? What about displaying the award in your lobby? (Do you know how many people would pose for a picture next to a Tony Award if a show put it in its lobby?) Can you make rings? T-shirts?
Your ambassadors supported you through the tough times. Let them celebrate with you in the awesome times.
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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.