Why you should focus on getting people to NOT see your show.

There are no absolutes in marketing.

Except this one:

No show is for “everyone.”

One of the most common mistakes that new Producers/Writers make is thinking that their show appeals to every demographic.  Look, even West Side Story isn’t for everyone.  I know some people who hate Les Miz.  And don’t even get me started on Cats.

Obviously those shows appeal to an enormous amount of people, and I can only wish one of those to happen to you in your producing/writing future.

But most likely, you’re dealing with a much thinner slice of demographic pie.

When choosing a title, writing a marketing blurb, or choosing a logo, your first concern should be how to get people to buy a ticket to your show.  You are attempting to communicate a message that will heighten the buying senses in a consumer and get them excited about spending time and money on your product (ironically, the two things that most people want out of products and services is to save time and money – so you’re working against the grain a bit already).  Maybe they buy right away, but more likely, you’ve teased them into learning more about the show, so when they get their next impression (via another ad, or more likely, word-of-mouth), they well whip out their credit card and buy a ticket.

Of course, the above is what you should focus on first when putting together all of your marketing materials.

But, if we remember that no show is for everyone, and that word-of-mouth is the primary driver of ticket sales, then when developing these materials, we must also consider this question, “Who do we NOT want to see this show?”

Too many folks try to develop materials that cater to everyone.  And what happens?  Well, if it’s successful, you may have a group of people in your audience that you know are most likely not going to enjoy your show.  And then what happens?  They spread negative word-of-mouth.  Not because your show wasn’t any good, but because it just wasn’t for them.  And you’ve just counteracted all that time and money you spent on that advertising campaign.

No one likes to think that someone may not enjoy their show.  But checking your ego at the stage door may be the most important thing a Producer can do.


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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.