We don’t know much about the research and decision process followed by customers in deciding what shows to see. If we did every show would be a success.
In the dark ages of the pre-internet era most of the available information in advance of a show’s opening was the ad in the newspaper, hopefully some press, and other advertising. In the 1990s there was the direct mail piece. Today shows have websites rich with information plus there are websites devoted to Broadway as well as websites with other sources of information such as customer reviews (TripAdvisor, Yelp, NYT customer reviews) and the newspaper sites with reviews from critics. With all the information available now it is a wonder we sold tickets at all before the internet.
In our recent survey of Telecharge customers we asked how much research customers do. As one might expect customers do a fair amount of research before making a ticket purchase and much of it is on the web.
What percentage of customers research a show before making the final decision? Two-thirds! (So I guess word of mouth is not the be-all and end-all driver of ticket sales; maybe it is the introduction). Interestingly enough the responses varied by geography: 62% of New Yorkers did research while 72% of out of town customers did (and they are always the largest group).
How much research do they do?
More than two thirds said they visited two or more websites (only 52% of New York City residents looked at that many but perhaps they do not as their level of exposure to what is playing is greater). 21% of customers do not visit any websites before making a purchase (there is your word of mouth: 25% of locals, 20% of out of town customers. Some customers visit three or more websites, 24% (13% said 4 or more). Again the out of town customers did more research than New Yorkers.
Shows focus on their own website as they should but clearly their one website is not the only source of information used by Broadway customers. We know from Telecharge about 50% of our visits come from show websites; the rest direct select Telecharge or link to us from other sites.
To borrow from Situation Interactive’s latest session, what story is in these numbers? What if anything do we do with this information?
In part 2 we report on which sites they visit.