If you want to drive demand through the roof, there is one thing that you need to do. Make your product limited. This of course doesn’t work for everything – people aren’t really rushing out for Vegemite Chocolate – but it can be one of the most effective marketing tools when you have a popular product.
There are two types of shows on Broadway. The limited run and the unlimited run. Limited run shows crop up onto the scene for a limited number of weeks which is usually determined by the availability of the production’s leading star. Unlimited runs are quite the opposite. They are in it for the long haul. They plan to open and then wait it out until people get tired of the offer before shutting their doors and moving onto another city.
It isn’t unheard of that a limited run show changes their mind and decides to become an unlimited run. Disney’s Newsies did exactly this. This new show opened for a limited run on Broadway which was scheduled to run from March 15 – June 10, 2012 due to an immensely popular season in New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse. Disney already had the sets made, the cast were already rehearsed . . . why not move the production to another market and get a bit more money?
Well, they got a lot more than a bit of money. The production proved so popular that the limited run quickly became an unlimited run and the production closed on August 24, 2014 after 1,005 performances.
But it is also popular for a show to go the other way – from unlimited to limited – and there is nothing more powerful at driving demand than knowing that a product will disappear very soon.
This is the phenomenon that Mamma Mia! is currently navigating. It has been playing the Broadway theatre scene since 2001 and has proved to be quite a crowd favourite. It hasn’t been the highest grossing show in quite a while and while its capacity has gone through trends from between 60% and 90% of the theatre sold, the producers have decided that it is time to give the show a rest.
They made that announcement on April 9, 2014.
Since then, the ticket sales have been on a steady rise and now comfortable sit in their fifth consecutive week above 100% capacity. But in addition to their capacity, the audience members have also been willing to pay more for their tickets. A lot more.
All of a sudden, Mamma Mia! has turned around from a show that had to discount to fill out more of its theatre and into a musical that is actually able to raise its prices because the demand has increased so much to see this limited commodity.
When we make purchases, we all love to feel that we are part of an exclusive group. And while Mamma Mia! may have been much further down audiences’ lists due to distracting bright and shiny new shows and the comfort that it will be there next time, all of a sudden it has become hot property again. Audiences are queuing up just to say ‘Thank You For The Music’ one last time!