Just got back from the South Eastern Theatre Conference. This is a different conference for us – it’s not all high school all the time. There are quite a few participants who just aren’t in our market. College students, Theatre companies, University professors. Folks who sometimes look somewhat askance at little old us. We like to call it “the poo look.” It’s somewhat self explanatory – it’s when someone looks at the table as if there were a pile of poo in the middle.
Poo aside, it does make “the sell” at the table a bit difficult; you have to figure out who the person staring at the table is, and whether or not they care about plays for high schools (and middle schools!). Sometimes you hook into a winner, sometimes you come up empty.
Craig and I have a number of discussions as to whether it’s worth it to go to a conference like this. It can be harder work for less returns. Having said that, we meet a group of people at this conference we never would otherwise – theatre companies that have youth theatre programs. All of a sudden a group that on the surface doesn’t seem like our market, becomes our target customer. On top of that, just because someone is from a university doesn’t mean they’re not interested – we’ve met a number of professors who run Masters of education programs and have a whole classroom of drama teachers in trainning.
As opposed to a high school conferences, there’s more weeding at SETC. You have to do that wheat/chaff thing for most of the day to find the one customer. But as we often say – you never know if that one customer is the one you’ve been looking for your whole life. Not that I’ve been looking for customers my whole life. That would suggest that I’ve been at the conference table for a very very long time. But I’m sure you get the gist…