If you haven’t noticed by now the recession has changed the buying habits of our customers. They have become a late buying crowd. As all of us in the business call it “promoter’s nightmare”.
This new trend is especially strong with the family show business. In the “old” days you would put a family show on sale four weeks out. You would break the show with a newspaper ad, start running promotional TV spots, and kick in the cash portion two weeks out. You knew how and when your customer purchased tickets. You had it down to a science. Today, if you go on sale four weeks out, you will see a small bump and then a stall. You sit, wait, and ask what day will they start buying again? Blood pressure meds for all of us.
Everyone I talk to in the family show industry tells me this is the trend. Tickets are being sold last minute. Families are waiting. They are hanging on to the money until they have no choice. Shows are seeing the jump in sales a week before and week of a show. They are even seeing decent walk-ups.
So the question now is how do we market our shows? If most of the business is being done the week before and week of a show then marketing wisdom might suggest putting your marketing budget there. But can you sell a show with multiple performances in just two weeks? What about your competition? In larger cities you will most likely have this. If they are marketing their show in front of you will they take your dollars? If the customer doesn’t know you are coming then how can they hold money for you?
Marketing today is a balancing act. You need to market ahead to put the show on your customers radar screen. Then you need to know when to hit them hard so they will decide to buy a ticket to your show. Is this trend here to stay? I hope not because I have no hair left on my head to pull.