Friday, October 23, 2009

This is All True

Nice post about "attracting young audiences" here (Hat Tip: Jack Tamburri). Everything he says is also true, of course, of any demographic group. The biggest marketing decision your company makes is what shows it produces, everything after that is advertising. There's a difference.


Eric Z. said...

I'd say a company's "sauce" is the most important thing--whatever distinguishes it. Lookingglass, Writers' Theater, and The Hypocrites have all staged "Our Town" in the past few years, but each production was wholly distinct because of the company producing it.

Benedict Nelson said...

Sure, but for our purposes here that's the same as what show you're producing, i.e. THE show you're producing. The show you produce is the amalgam of the work of the writer, the actors, the director etc. A production of Our Town cast exclusively with the Jonas brothers would attract a young audience. That's the show. So when the Steppenwolf sits down and decides to do Fake they ask themselves what does this show mean for them, for their subscribers, for audience development, for grant purposes. Then they can sell their show, but they can't sell it at Kuma's Corner, they can't sell it at Lem's, they need to sell it at Morton's. If you want a target market in your seats, that starts with programming.

You make a great point though, Eric. And that's that the nature of some of the niche theater companies in Chicago means that no matter what their show is they have a brand about them that sells their shows and pitches their audience. Remy Bumppo attracts - without any particular effort, I imagine, and perhaps even despite some considerable effort - an older, more literate crowd than a Plagiarist show (I happen to love both companies, and think you should see A.S.S. and Heroes). If this were a real cause for concern they could change their mission or their shows. Sad maybe, but true. All that the cost of advertising can promise is ensuring that everyone who wants to see your show knows it exists. If you want to change who wants to see your show you need to change shows.