What we need are Broadway sentries.

Marketing has a lot of similarities to warfare, believe it not . . . but instead of trying to kill, you’re trying to capture.

If you were reading Sun Tzu’s Art of War, or any book about battle strategy, you’d probably run across a section where they talked about protecting your city’s points of entry. You’d put troops at the ports, the bridges, the tunnels . . . and anywhere there was easy access to your castle.

Marketing something like theater is different, because we want people getting in to our city when they arrive at our entry points . . . we just want them coming in with the right message . . . your show’s message.

That’s why if you’re catering to a tourist market, I’d strongly suggest advertising at airports, bus stations, train stations, billboards near tunnels (like the Lincoln where there is a big ol’ Godspell billboard), etc.

But I think Broadway needs to go one further.  I was at an airport recently that caters heavily to a tourist market and as I passed through the arrivals gate, a woman handed me a gift bag . . . filled with information about my destination, and a whole bunch of coupons as well.  She got me thinking about my purchase decisions before I even got to the car rental desk . . . and she did it with a smile (and no billboard can do that).

The Fear Factor bullet point of my holiday week blog from yesterday got me thinking about all sorts of ways to make consumers feel more “at home” when they’re away from home.   And while I know we’ve got our points of entry covered with high-priced advertising options, I wondered if we could put real, live, bodies (Broadway sentries, if you will) at some of these high traffic areas to help talk/walk people through what Broadway has to offer.

Imagine a manned (or womanned) Broadway desk near the baggage claim area, near the bank of hotel phones or the airport transfers.  Expensive and logistically difficult, I know . . .  so maybe it’s even something Broadway.com should do?  Or what if we just reached out to all those folks working in those areas to be more Broadway savvy?  Or what about Broadway volunteers at the bus and train stations?  Free tickets to Broadway shows in exchange for a few hours of Broadway community outreach?  I know a bajillion students/seniors that would take us up on that (and that’s how many cities staff some of their public interest facilities).

We know how our primary ticket buyers are getting in to the city.  That’s half our battle.  The second half is making sure that we don’t have to fight to get them to buy a ticket.  And I’m convinced that if we arm them with the right information, they’ll be the ones fighting over the tickets.


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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.