Monday, November 19, 2007

TBPAC: Get a weekly schedule on your cell phone!

This is a more of a plain-speak entry on the new SMS (text-messaging) service we're offering to people. I'd previously posted at the launch and how you could enter to win tickets to Avenue Q, but I wanted to appeal a bit more directly as to why exactly I think this is a cool thing.

We're an industry leader in a lot of ways when it comes to new technology. We've been one of the first or the very first in so many online endeavors and endeavors that just generally use technology. I very clearly remember when I was told the web was a fad, and when I was told no one would ever buy tickets online and so on and so forth. We're also talking about an industry that didn't believe radio or TV would last, either.

First thing's first - we don't want to bug you with a bazillion text messages about every single little thing going on here, we're not going to sell/share your number and by and large the whole idea here is to just send you want YOU ask for.

When I brainstormed on how exactly this whole SMS thing could really benefit a general customer, I of course put myself into a consumer's shoes. The first two ideas I had are now in place.

INFO is the first command we agreed on. If you text INFO to the phone number 82722 (It's a short code which spells TBPAC - sweet!), you will get back a text message that gives you the most critical information people are usually looking for. Where we are off the interstate, our Ticket Office and admin phone numbers, the hours of the ticket windows, our web address, all the critical info for the Patel Conservatory. This is a handy thing to actually save on your phone if you make a habit of coming here. It's a handy quick-reference.

The second idea was for essentially an events line. Just like you might check a website or phone line for what's going on, you can also text EVENTS to the phone number 82722 and you will get back a listing of the shows going on that week. I think this is another super-handy tool. Say you're sitting around right after work on a Friday night with a few friends having drinks looking for something to do. Viola!

We don't charge you to use any of these services, though your phone provider might - depending on how your plan is set up (for instance, I don't have a texting package on my phone, so I pay a few cents for every message I send and receive). Hey, and don't forget you'll be entered to win a pair of tickets to the opening night of Avenue Q for every time you use the service between now and Dec. 28.

Down the line, we hope to be able to use this service to offer last-minute deals, possibly for promotions in the lobby before a show where we may offer a backstage pass or a meet and greet or something. There really is a lot of potential here. Now the trick is to get people using it and make sure it's something useful and not a nuisance.

In today's world, even the arts has to stay on the cutting-edge and make an effort to get information to people in the way they want it.

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