On a regular basis, we at Shubert do research into our customers. This research can be simple surveys on their experience buying tickets, finding ticket buyers at the box office and getting their input on a new website feature, or one-on-one user interviews about Broadway and ticket-buying in general.
Recently, we completed additional research on how Broadway theatergoers learn about shows and purchase tickets. We talked to tourists and New Yorkers, young and old (and in between). We learned a great deal in our research (more to come in future blog posts), but in particular we found that theatergoers fall into three main patterns of research and buying, each with a different number of touch-points in their process:
1. Time to go to Broadway! (3-Touch)
2. I want to see this show! (2-Touch)
3. I have time for a show! (1-Touch)
These three types of customers have different research and buying habits, as you can imagine, and respond differently to marketing, pricing and availability.
Time to go to Broadway!
These theatergoers plan relatively far in advance, on average 1-4 months. They may be coming from out of town or from the tri-state area. They are focused on the general concept of seeing a Broadway show, rather than having one particular show they know they want to see. In their first “touch” with our industry, they learn more about the content and style of shows, and use this information to build their short list. In their second touch, they learn about prices and availability, with particular attention paid to the value relationship between price and seat value. These customers don’t necessarily mind paying more for a great seat location). The process culminates in their third touch -making a purchase.
I want to see this show!
These theatergoers have a very specific show in mind when they start their research. They can be flexible on their dates, although they generally have a date in mind (a weekend in January, for instance). Therefore, they focus their research immediately on pricing and availability - their first touch. Then they figure out how the prices and availability fit with their budget and schedule (and the schedules of their friends), and return (in a second touch) to make their purchase.
I have time for a show!
These are opportunistic theater lovers. They often buy tickets within the week, or even day-of. They want to buy tickets as quickly and easily as possible, so they go to trusted sources where they know they can find the best prices and availability. They only touch us once, because they are ready to buy.
Coming up with the right marketing and pricing strategies for each of these buying groups is key. In upcoming weeks we’ll dig further into the ways these customers research and buy tickets, looking at various sales channels and research tools.