One of the most compelling examples today of a brand knowing what its customers want and how to give it to them is the mega Broadway hit Hamilton.
The Tony-award winning musical that sets the story of Alexander Hamilton to rap and hip-hop has the problem every brand would love to have: demand for the show is far outpacing the number of tickets it can supply. Performances are sold out for months, putting ticket prices at a premium. In most cases, this would leave massive numbers of customers — in this case fans — feeling left out and disgruntled. Instead, show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and the entire cast and crew have found ingenious and original ways to satisfy their audience well beyond the bounds of the Rogers & Hammerstein theatre.
Here are some of the ways they’ve found to keep the fans’ emotional connection to their show alive despite limited availability:
Respecting their customers’ time and rewarding their devotion: Each afternoon, crowds line up outside the theatre to participate in a last-minute lottery ticket line. Knowing that many won’t end up with a ticket and instead of sending them away empty handed, the cast members stage something called “Ham4Ham” or impromptu performances conducted right outside the theatre. Then they tweet out a video of those one-off performances to their fans on Twitter. We call this delivering for the customer at “the moment of truth.” Those fans are coming to the theatre with expectations, and the Hamilton cast is responding in kind with unique, one-of-a-kind customer experiences that delivers.
Giving customers more of what they want: Understanding that the talent of their performers is their product, the show creators bend over backwards to find ways to provide greater access to that talent, keeping their larger audience continually engaged through appearances on late night television, viral videos on YouTube or selfies with fans backstage on Instagram. They aren’t stingy when it comes to sharing the best they have to offer, driving engagement through the roof.
Experimenting to the customers’ delight: One of the ways the cast has kept fans tuned in and wanting more has been by changing up their approach to connecting with their audience. Take a quick turn through Miranda’s Tumblr and you’ll see they’re experimenting with virtually every mode of communication – from gamification to social media to live, broadcast performances at places like the White House — to keep their fans feeling included, considered and part of the fun.
With every satisfying engagement, they secure more CD and ticket sales through the end of the year, next year and for the extended national tour of the show.
Granted not every brand can be as entertaining all the time as an award-winning Broadway cast, but there are principles here that can work for virtually every organization. In a study Stellar Loyalty recently co-sponsored with Loyalty360, one senior marketing executive with a major NFL team was quoted saying, “Sometimes marketing is as simple as knowing what your customers want and giving it to them.”
To borrow a line from Hamilton, when it comes to customer engagement and loyalty, don’t “throw away your shot!”