, , , , ,

3 Smart Audience Engagement Tactics

Monday, March 15, 2010 Leave a Comment

I'm increasingly interested in tactics - tangible actions - that we can use to make our audiences feel welcomed into the process of building our creative home. 3 smart tactics that I stumbled across recently:

- Theatre As Community Newspaper: I know, having a theatre publish a newspaper sounds like Stegosaurus grabbing onto Triceratops as they both sink deeper. But according to ARTSblog, the Northern Lakes Center for the Arts is finding success as a publisher of a community newspaper in Clayton, WI. In both cases, the Center is serving as a conduit for the community's stories, and generating additional revenue, to boot. This probably wouldn't work in media-saturated NYC, but the philosophy of serving your community through an innovative, mission-based, revenue generating service is smart.

- Theatre As Story Telling Hub: David J. Loehr, one of the folks behind the impressive 2AM Theatre blog, and one of the best theatre Tweeps out there, has a great idea for hosting informal story sessions called 360 Storytelling. The money quote? "They didn't get a look at the process. They were the process."

- The Monkey Says Thank You: I left the kinetic joy that was Piper McKenzie's Craven Monkey and The Mountain of Fury not quite ready to leave that crazy, warm-hearted world. So imagine my happiness when I was tagged by Piper McKenzie in a photo of a monkey on Facebook with the phrase "The Monkey Wants To Thank You". I went to their Fanpage and saw they'd done the same for everyone who was already a fan. And now, I'm off to vote for them for the NYITAwards, and not just because they deserve it, but because that funny little tag of gratitude makes me want to take that extra step for them.

Any other smart audience-loving tactics out there in our land of monkeys and newsies?


  • Matt A said:  

    I love the 2nd AET, the Storytelling Hub. The Moth has taken off (well-deserved), and I've seen several small storytelling shows at little venues around the city. I'd love to hear stories from Audience-of-, Circle-of-, Friends-of-, and Fluxers themselves. A killer idea...just needs to be thought out in a way to integrate into the season/current show/etc.

    Perhaps another 'trick' (and this ain't thought out) could be to ask audiences directly for what's on their mind. I'm reminded of the countless stories I see about the customer service at Harrah's Casino & Hotel, what may be the pinnacle of responding directly to customer needs to bring them back (or, keep them 'engaged').

    The focus of the Harrah's story is often the technology used to track cutsomers...but there's something to responding to the behavior & actions of a customer.

    What if, for instance, part of an at-show survey included open-ended questions: 'What issues have been on your mind lately?' 'What's one thing New York City residents need more of?' 'What's something you've never seen on a stage, but would love to?'

    I don't know...maybe there'd be some cool ideas...but at least you'd be learning a little about the audience. And what if 75% of a production's audience has been thinking about the Congo? There might be a way to respond to that with some reasonable dexterity...

    I love brainstorming!

  • Matt A said:  

    I love the second idea, the Storytelling Hub. The Moth is so big now, and I've seen a few other storytelling organizations at little venues around the city. People really respond to events like these. And I for one would love to see audience-of-, circle-of-, friends-of-, and Fluxers themselves telling stories. The trick would be to keep it relevant to the season/current production/etc.

    Here's a little idea I've brainstormed. Flux can't track folks with the same technology as Harrah's Hotel & Casino (renown for their state of the art customer satisfaction programs), but there may be ways to respond directly to the audience.

    What if an at-show survey included some open-ended (but brief) questions: 'What issue has been on your mind a lot lately?' 'What's something New Yorkers need more of right now?' 'What's something you've never seen on a stage and would love to?' That kind of stuff.

    Who knows...maybe 75% of a production's audience will claim they've been thinking of library fees. Or the Congo. Or that song...how does it go?

    At the very least, it'd be an interesting way to see what's on the mind of the Flux audience...wouldn't be bad to have an informal guide or sorts...