Marketing a ‘Hole In One’!

Theatre is a niche form of entertainment. Sure, it attracts quite a healthy 12 or 13 million people a year on Broadway alone and countless other millions across the world. But compared to rock concerts, television shows, sporting events and movies, it is a rather niche area of the entertainment industry. So how does this entertainment form become more mainstream? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you can borrow from someone who has already gone through the same thing!

Kirsten Sabia

Theatre isn’t the only niche form of entertainment. There are vinyl collectors. Cult television shows. And independent movies. But let’s not forget the sporting world. Comprising an enormous amount of entertainment spend and audience, sport also has its niche sports . . . one of which is golf.

Kirsten Sabia, Vice President of Marketing Services for the PGA Tour, recently delivered a TED talk on the idea of changing your product from a dedicated niche to attract a more mainstream audience. Entitled ‘Booze and Bathrooms: Making Live Experiences Fit Modern Taste’, there are a couple of important learnings that should be applied across every industry.

  1. Allowing fans to bring their devices to a tournament

If the PGA is going to expect fans to skip commitments on a Friday to come and attend a tournament for between 3.5 and 7 hours, then they need to allow them to stay connected. Essentially this is giving them the best of both worlds. They can have the entertainment experiences they want without the guilty feeling of leaving their lives behind or fear that they will miss something important.

  1. Allowing fans to ‘drink the hard stuff’

If your aim is to get people away from televised versions of your entertainment and experiencing it first hand, then any disadvantages need to be removed. Watching golf at home on the couch or in a sports bar allows the audience to drink alcohol, so why shouldn’t the real thing?

  1. Get fans closer to the stars

Just like other sports and entertainment, the golf industry is building celebrities. These notable players are slowly building their pull as audiences rock up just to see them perform. Carrying on the benefits from the first learning, if you can get the fans closer to their heroes then they will create more meaningful connections and also more meaningful promotion for their friends who probably have a similar set of interests. They will get excited and they will create more viral content.

It is easy to look at the golf audience and think it is completely different from the theatre. But they have the same die-hard traditionalists as the theatre. The success comes from implementing strategies which satisfy these existing fans but bring in new audiences.

Due to these clever initiatives, the PGA has created partnerships pulling fans from other genres into golf with end of play rock concerts, received unexpected promotion for golf tournaments in Arts and Food sections of the paper while also enhancing the consumer experience so that the current audience return and bring new people with them.

Check out the full TEDx talk below:

Sure, it may not be the theatre, but there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Why not take what the PGA did and add its own theatrical twist to enhance the audience experience in the theatre?