I learned something valuable this week. When you have brand new ideas that you need to flush out, only run it past people who have known you a while and are already aware of your background and are a part of your tribe. If they only know you from what they read about you on the internet, ie actress, non profit fund raiser, teacher they may not be aware of the many contacts, networks or experience you have in business. :)
As we create a new template, I find it's easy to get folks excited about this. You can't fault people who don't know you for reverting to their own "world view" of how marketing or producing should be though when they hear your new ideas. But you don't have to listen to them if they really don't know how you operate in the world.
Apply that to whatever your own mission is.
Our internet marketing company did something 20 years ago when they started that was really smart. They surveyed people to find out what kinds of products they were spending millions of dollars on and then they had the best people in those industries make a product branded for them. It was a safe bet because our corporate team had all the info they needed to justify the creation of that product. They continue surverying and tracking today. Must be why we sit at #54 on the top Internet Retailers list...above Disney.
Applying this to our theatre, I decided to follow Joe Meyers (of the CT Post) advice this week and will be going to Stamford on a Thursday night (a very populated night) to see the tons of folks who have come out to the restaurants and outdoor cafes. But I am adding something. I will be taking a few interns (somehow branded with our logo) to do some polling about why those folks are there, what brought them out, if they see live theatre, what would bring them out to see theatre, would they like to see stars, would they go to restaurants where they knew the stars would be eating etc.
That way we will be doing what Seth Godin suggests as well: "Traditional media is all about interrupting strangers. Modern media (including modern bookselling) is focused on building a tribe, earning permission and then creating products and services for that audience".
Why don't more theatres find out what people want that aren't already at their theatres? Shouldn't we all start smart like that? Not: "If you build it they will come". Instead :"How can we best serve you in this community?" and then build your theatre around listening to what they say they need, guaranteeing you an audience.