One Creative Way to Turn Audiences into Advocates

For any event or show, the million dollar question is always how to get the right people into the seats. Your presentation doesn’t matter much if no one sees it, or if the people who do, just don’t care.

So how do you get the word out, and to the kinds of people you want to reach?

There are very few places where this dilemma is more immediate than in the theatre. Where a new group of warm bodies and sharp minds in the room is key for every performance - so the theatre is a good place to start when looking for strategies.

Clubbed Thumb Theater in New York applies an innovative model for getting groups of lively and enthusiastic people into the seats for their shows. They encourage people, usually from the theatre community themselves, to become “social captains” and organize trips to see Clubbed Thumb plays.

Social captains send out emails inviting all their friends to come with them to Clubbed Thumb on a particular day. This way, instead of a generic message from the theater encouraging them to attend a play, potential audience members get a personalized invite from a friend. Social captain groups get free beer, and the theater gets a friendly and receptive group to create just the right atmosphere for the rest of the theatre-goers.

“Filling those front two rows with super-friendly people who are excited, and maybe have a bit of alcohol in them, and know someone in the show, makes a huge difference. They make the whole atmosphere a bit more social. Even five rows behind a group, they can lift the spirit of the whole evening and send energy through the house.” Clubbed Thumb’s associate producer Michael Bulger


Now, at a corporate event...

Beer may not be the most appropriate incentive, but you might entice them with front row seats to the keynote address, exclusive materials, VIP access - or, maybe it is beer!

The concept of social captains is a perfect example of turning audience members into advocates for your brand. Such a model could be effective for any type of event that relies on, or wants to cultivate, a particular community of attendees. This way, you only need to hook a few and you can be confident that they’ll spread your message to other people with similar interests. Hopefully, that type of networking will already be happening, but giving it a little boost can certainly help.

Generating buzz can be tough. General announcements on social media may not have enough personal flavor to entice people to walk out the door and into your space. Social captains allow you to get by with a little help from your friends by getting your audience to generate enthusiasm amongst themselves.

This works for Clubbed Thumb, whose mission is to produce “funny, strange and provocative new plays.” And it could be just the ticket for a company that wants to shake things up and stand out in a noisy market.

Noelle Micarelli

Marketing Apprentice / Cramer

Noelle is a self-proclaimed comic book nerd and tumblr extraordinaire, passionate about connecting with audiences in and out of the theater.

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