“I’ll Meet You Halfway”

If you didn’t read Wednesday’s blog post, please scroll down and read it first.

David Cassidy ended the   “meet and greet” portion of his recent concert in Arizona with 1/3 of the VIP paid ticket holders still in line. Reason given:  so he could “warm up” to perform.

So why did he not take the stage until after 8:30 for a show that started at 7:00? Staff kept motioning for Marta, the young woman doing the warm up to continue playing.  She tried hard but it gets cold outside in the desert at night and the bar just inside the J W Marriott hotel lobby was warm.  

As a result,  a large percentage of the VIP section (front and center) of the audience was inside, staying warm, drinking and commiserating with each other over the failed “VIP Experience“.

After allowing us to stew in our own juices – some 80 proof – the same harried team member took the stage to tell us to “line up again after the show” for the rest of us who did not get our paid “meet and greet” . 

He then went on to auction off several guitars which David would personalize after the show and pose for photos.  No one expected this and the charity was unknown and not clearly explained.  Bidding started at $1,000.  The response was anything but enthusiastic.  

Sure, the majority of the audience could afford it – but many of those who would have been so inclined were still stinging from the “meet and greet” that didn’t happen before the show and others were just restless for the show to finally start.  The guitars were eventually sold – for only the opening bid amount and then it was indicated for all of us to stand up in preparation for David’s (now very late) entrance.

For business people, the moral of the story is:  Don’t ask customers to spend more money when you have unresolved issues with them – it only makes them more angry.

David Cassidy did finally take the stage.   The first number was a song we all knew, though the arrangement was a bit odd.  At the end of the first number, we applauded and cheered but  then most of the audience sat down to enjoy the rest of the show.  

David’s response, from the stage he told us “You are the most reserved – actually BORING crowd I’ve ever played for!”  Really?  You think there might be any reason for our lack luster response?  When a couple of people up front went to use the restroom, he heckled them “Way to make us feel good up here.”  Newsflash – it’s not about YOU – it’s about US!

He blamed a “power outage” on the late start and the very disorganized flow of the show.  He played several of our old favorites, but other than some lyrics , the new arrangements left us with  nothing familiar.    Sure, after 40 years he’s probably tired of those songs.   If so, don’t perform.  

I’ve seen Rod Stewart in concert about 10 times and I’ve never been disappointed.  In an interview, he was asked if he was tired of doing “Maggie May”.  His response, “In every audience, there are people who have never seen me live before.  They came to hear their favorites and it’s my job to give them what they paid for.  It wouldn’t be fair to them to NOT do it.”

The message for business people:  If you have something customers want and are willing to pay for it – don’t mess it up!  Ask Coca Cola how successful “new Coke” was

Entertainers: When we spend our dwindling discretionary dollars on you, we want to be entertained – not insulted.  Play our favorite songs the way we know them – encourage us to sing along,  Do some new material or some of what “inspired you”  but open with a big chunk of our favorites, tell us you’d like to share some of your favorites and then close with another big chunk of OUR favorites.  .We will go home happy and anxious to buy another ticket next time you are here

Some of the reviews I have read online about the David Cassidy concert suggested he was “on something”.  I’m not so sure.  There was a camera crew from the television show 20/20 filming.  I can’t imagine a veteran being so suicidal as to be substance abusing with a camera rolling. 

Rather I suspect he was so focused on the nationwide exposure opportunity that he lost sight of his loyal fans who make it possible for him to still perform after 40 years.

Message to the business people:  don’t get so focused on landing the “big account” that you neglect or underserve your existing customer.  Your core customers are what made you successful and have made the big contract possible. 

After the show, we did line up again then waited, waited and waited.  We got disrespected by the staff, treated like mooches even though this was something we paid for and eventually got our photo”meet and greet” with our teen idol.  To his credit, David was very gracious to each of us during this 30 second encounter.

The closing comment; the sentiment of the majority of the fans was “If I treated my customers this way, I’d be out of business.”   Why did we put up with it?  Mostly stubborn – we paid for this, we were going to get what we paid for but also partly to give closure to a memory.

Know your customer, know what they want, how they want it – then give it to them.  The formula for success, in entertainment or business is really that simple.

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One Response to ““I’ll Meet You Halfway””

  1. Tessa Kravitz Says:

    I am so bummed for you… you were so excited to go to this event. But as always, I love that you turn your experience into something we can all learn from. Appreciate you! and glad you got your photo 🙂

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