We recently talked with Peter Yagecic, Director of Technology for Blue Man Productions, about how this unusual small business uses technology to connect and communicate – both internally and with customers.
What lessons has Blue Man Productions learned that you can share with other businesses? Even though Blue Man Group is quite famous, and not a “typical” small business – have there been ‘Ah-Ha!’ moments along the way?
We really had our ‘Ah-Ha!’ moment when we started opening shows overseas. Before then our model had been to transplant a good portion of the company to whichever North American city we were opening up in next and setting up for several months. Once we started going abroad, we were opening many more shows and at a faster rate. We needed our designers, directors, marketers, and creative team to be able to work from whichever city they might end up in.
What are one or two things that your company has done using technology that have been very successful?
We’ve used CitrixOnline’s GoToMyPC to hold creative design meetings in real time, where we can use the advanced lighting design software on a particular machine and share that with a roomful of directors connected to a basic laptop. The reliability of the product has allowed us to support our team members in various time zones much more painlessly than using a VPN. Our IT staff doesn’t have to deal with panicked travelers who can’t figure out how to log in remotely; GoToMyPC just works.
Is there any [non-proprietary] information you’d care to share about how Blue Man Productions does marketing? For example, do you use an e-mail newsletter, or other ways of managing customer relationships?
Customer relationships are very important to Blue Man Group. We want to continue the theatre experience with our customers wherever we encounter them, whether via email, on their mobile phone, or on the web. Word of mouth has always been one of our best marketing tools and we use our main website, as well as our fan site, roofdwellers.com, to foster a sense of creativity among our fans.
How do you decide what to put on your website?
Our web presence is constantly evolving, in part as a response to what our fans want from us. Of course we always want to make it easy for them to come see one of our shows, but we also want to allow our fans to engage in other creative experiences online and share those with their friends.
I see that Blue Man Group has an online store. Any tips or lessons learned that you’d like to pass along to other small businesses about Web-based retail?
The best advice I can give in terms of online retail is find a solid partner that shares your creative vision and will help you deliver an excellent experience to your customers. Our web site is a 24/7/365 operation and our online fulfillment partner, MusicToday, delivers outstanding customer service and has a genuine interest in the merchandise we offer our customers.