So Close and Yet So Far

When I left the theatre in search of coffee this morning I turned right where I normally turn left and found myself at the Fire Station Cafe, one block down the road from where I work.


The woman who served me noticed the lanyard around my neck and the tag that said “Theatre Crew.” She asked which theatre I worked at.


I explained that I was a musician at the musical at the Capitol Theatre down the road.


She asked which show, and I when I told her Kinky Boots she looked at me as though she’d never heard of it.


As I walked back to the theatre with my coffee, I looked around at all the signage promoting the show. The name ‘Kinky Boots’, the iconic sparkly red logo and the massive images of cast members that surround the exterior walls of the theatre.


Interesting how this can all be happening just a few doors down from the cafe and at least one of their staff members don’t know anything about it.


Physically, she works so close to the place where the show happens, yet in her mind she is so far from being a person who keeps up with what happens at the theatre.


The producers of the show spend hundreds of thousands of marketing dollars on advertising their show and someone who practically works next door still didn’t know a thing about it.


Even with the broadest marketing campaigns you can’t expect to reach everyone.


What can we take away from this encounter?


As much as you think the idea you’re selling is applicable to anyone, it’s never suitable for everyone.


Don’t spread your marketing and promotion too thin, make your message bland or make your product generic just to try and appeal to everyone. Better to decide who is your customer and then devote your resources to getting your message to them first.


Ideas transmit from person to person

  • Sometimes (like at the cafe) through face to face interaction which can be very powerful and immediate.
  • Sometimes we scale the broadcast of the idea…someone might publish words on a website, develop a musical to disseminate a message, create an image that conveys meaning, record promotional content for tv or radio


Often we don’t need to reach everyone. In fact, if our message makes a strong impact with a small but vocal group of fans, they will tell their friends and colleagues, who may in turn share it again. Communicating with a small group of (Malcolm Gladwell’s title) ‘sneezers’ can domino out to enough people to bring your vision to life.
A big theatrical show aims to sell tickets to over a thousand people a night. But a lot of independent artist/producers/entrepreneurs can begin to make a really good living with a two hundred to one thousand true fans. Those sort of numbers, will actually make a substantial difference between whether you and your project fail or succeed.

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