Audience of a long-term relationship. A vast variety

Development is a particular type of marketing that requires something beyond
the authority of conventional marketing techniques, for example, direct mail,
series subscription drives, membership drives or advertising and press media.
Audience Development is the converging of marketing strategies with
relationship-building abilities, in light of the fact that keeping in mind the
end goal to lastingly impact your targeted audience, the relationship must be
both individual and institutional. The main goal is to make an association with
your audience hearts by exhibiting the value of fusing arts into their lives.
Once that connection is made, the idea of experiencing and supporting the arts and
culture ends up noticeably organic, empowering the foundation of a long-term

A vast variety of
activities is needed to develop audiences such as:

community demographics to develop lists of community leaders;

interviews and concentrate on groups from different communities to debate their
interests in the arts and access points and barriers;

connections with different communities through relationships with community
leaders and organizations;

out partners and work with them. Partners include arts organizations in different

commitments to a short, medium and long-term approach to creating audiences
from different communities by putting the proper financial and human resources
into place;

artists/staff/audiences about different communities and effective strategies to
build audiences among them;

periodic reviews and critical analysis on activities and put into practice
follow-up based on the results;

group sales within different communities and provide discounts to help building
interest among them;

insights from community leaders, organizations and artists about
community-based initiatives that have worked in other areas;

an audience development committee with internal/ external stakeholders working

outreach to collect data on communities and potential audiences. Examples of
valuable data: the size and functions of communities, places members of
community frequent, organizations that gather community’s members.   

the characteristics of different communities regarding geographic residence, period
that community’s members live there, disposal income and educational level.

audiences in the work of the arts organization, e.g., as volunteers, board
members, staff;


general, nation’s arts community is strong and successful. However, donors and
funders provide grants while they re-access their priorities. Furthermore,
entertainment consumption is limited by time since people are more cautious
with their commitments. Non-profit arts groups also have to face fierce
competition, as for-profit arts companies flood the market. Marketing
initiatives play a crucial role to overcome these challenges. One big challenge
that marketing teams face is to create a new point-of-view a new attitude to
enhance audience development. The new concept to bear in mind is that the
customer is a partner, a member of a huge family rather than a passive
spectator. Relationship is the key word here, because new audience development requires
a shift in the way arts organizations think about their consumers. Developing
these kinds of relationships requires arts groups to be far more sophisticated
in their marketing efforts. Probably harder still, it requires arts
organizations to undergo a systemic change to permit them to be responsive to
audience needs and wants without compromising their intrinsic artistic mission.
Marketers are challenged to provide arts organizations with effective tools to
attract and engage new audiences, develop genuine ways to increase the
frequency of attendance, develop loyalty among patrons, approach and create
services and messages, so that target audiences will respond enthusiastically
and effective ways for arts organizations make their performance and services
an intrinsic part of people’s lives. 
Furthermore, arts organizations count on marketers to develop long-term
strategic plans in a complex and rapidly changing environment making sure that
these plans satisfy the interests of target audiences and thereby increase
audience size and engagement.        

In order to enhance arts and
entertainment properties’ value proposition and grow audiences, arts organizations
should understand and implement vital strategies in a high competitive market.   


Know audiences at a
granular level – this
means that organizations need to establish an all-encompassing definition of
their customers. Organizations should build on this foundation by developing
actionable segmentation that draws from a variety of sources, including
customer behavior and psychographics. By cultivating deep customer insights,
including future needs, organizations can develop targeted offers with
differentiated value propositions.

Link organization’s
customer strategy to its overall identity –  A clearly defined
value proposition goes far beyond differentiating organizations’ offerings in
the market; it helps them shift their customer’s perception of what is
valuable. This is how organizations may create a sustainable advantage.
Developing a clear value proposition is an ongoing process that should be
undertaken for each of organizations’ customer segments. This requires a
balancing act that outline how value will be created for customers in these
segments while delivering profit to the bottom line. In other words, they need
to determine optimal pricing for long-term value creation.     

Target Customers with whom
organizations have the right to win
– Organizations should recognize their capabilities and use them to compete for
audiences they are confident of winning against competitors in a profit way.
The first step to implementing this strategy is identifying profit pools in
each customer segment and how those profit pools are evolving. Then, target
segments based on both segments attractiveness and organizations’ strengths
avoiding to expand into segments where they do not have the right to win and
wind up investing time and resources on indifferent customers.

Treat customers as assets
that grow in value
-Organizations should cultivate long-term relationships with customers in a way
that keeps adding value. It starts with quantifying the lifetime cost of a
customer relationship at either the individual or the segment level. Then,
organizations should layer on an analysis of their customers’ path to purchase.
Therefore, it gives organizations the insight needed to monetize the value of
these relationships by expanding and tailoring services offerings to meet the
needs of their customers. Developing customers as assets requires a holistic
approach to build customer relationship and intimacy and driving customer
engagement. Moreover, tracking customer engagement and understanding the link
between engagement and sales growth is critical. The point is not simply to
expand offerings, but also organizations should be able to offer services that
are the most relevant to their customers and the most profitable for them while
also quickly responding to customer problems.

Leverage ecosystem -The availability of data and digital
networks means that organizations’ existing and potential network of partners
and customers is much more powerful nowadays. Therefore, Organizations should
make the most of this opportunity by building a broad and diverse ecosystem
that can help them create value for their customers and support the execution
of customers’ strategy. It is equally important that Organizations manage this
network for everything from inherent financial and brand risks to new market

Ensure a seamless
omnichannel experience –
Organizations should deliver a consistent experience across all their
customers’ touch points and analyze the costs and benefits of their
multichannel networks. Organizations should select channels based on customer
expectations, brand positioning, customer value, and cost-to-serve. Then,
Organizations should take their analysis further and assess the full cost and
the full benefits across every channel to track the performance of those
channels. Nowadays, customers take the multichannel experience for granted, so
it is crucial that Organizations have technologically adept talent and
processes in place to keep improving channel experience. Organizations should
deploy their process and technology capabilities, and talent to ensure a
seamless omnichannel experience.   

Reorganize around the
customer –
Organizations should understand the importance of building and maintaining a
vibrant, healthy culture. To achieve this, Organizations need to explicitly
factor culture into their strategy and differentiating capabilities. Cultivate
culture as an accelerator and differentiator. Nowadays, it is common for
customer expectations to evolve so quickly that Organizations must work hard to
keep up. Organizations should create policies, so they can explicitly address
cultural inhibitors. A culture must evolve. For instance, having employees lead
the charge in solving customer problems proactively, and rewarding employees
who demonstrate these behaviors, certainly help organizations’ culture develop
in a valuable way.

Outreach and accessibility – For instance, Europe upholds
principles of equal opportunity for everyone in society, including people with
special needs. The arts sector and the community are very supportive.

Education – More education in culture
Organization, more culture in education system

Partnerships – Cooperation with different sectors
and groups (Science, modern technologies, business, tourism, ecology, etc.).
For instance, a culture Organizations for a certain city should create a common
proposal for the audience.

Audience engagement – Organizations should motivate young
critics to provide feedback on their services, concerts, operas, etc.


An actual case example of a current arts
and entertainment property’s successful audience development initiative(s),
supported by data.  


California Symphony

The problems in
the orchestra world of declining audiences, aging audiences, and audience
turnover have been well articulated. In response to these problems, this market
often talks a lot about incremental gains and successes. For instance, an
orchestra that may sell 5% more tickets than the year before or trimmed
expenses enough to balance the budget is often celebrated among this specific
market experts. Under the current model, this example is a great achievement.
However, experts in orchestra industry know that fixed costs continue to rise
and outpace the operational tweaks and incremental revenue gains the industry
can achieve. That is why the California Symphony reexamined the current model
and has changed the approach to audience development strategy.

organizations have a lot to offer to their patrons, which is why when a first-time
attendee come to a concert, what ensues is essentially a marketing and
development free-for-all: that person goes right into all campaign mailings for
subscription, right to the phone room for telefunding, into all the single
ticket marketing efforts like email and on-line ads, and into almost every
direct mail solicitation for single tickets or for donation appeals. At some
point around the time someone becomes a renewing donor or major donor, the
market sort of get their act together and have a clear path of next steps for
cultivation and stewardship.

To a certain
degree, the current model works. Organizations make money this way. However, when
90% of first time buyers do not come back it turns to be a giant pipeline
problem to solve since first year subscribers are known to be the number one
indicator of future donation proclivity but the hardest segment to renew.

In short, The
California Symphony decided it would do everything it could to create a flowing
pipeline which meant for them that calculated changes to the approach described
above were made, shifting to a strategy focused on patron retention. Through
the new initiative/approach no matter the attendees are, whether a first-time
attendee, or repeat attendee, or new subscriber, or long-time donor, the
Organization has a specific plan for each one. A personalized approach.

initiative was that the Organization decided not to solicit a donation before a
patron is a second-year subscriber. The innovative approach is a long-term,
disciplined strategy, and one that has proven lucrative for the Organization.
The Organization’s new model offer one step (and only one) to every audience
segment such as Fist-time attendee, Multi/repeat-buyer, season ticket holder,
renewing subscriber, new donor, renewing donor. This has been proved for the
organization that they could maximize revenue over time. Differently, most arts
organizations state they would like to see this type of logical progression,
but almost none deliberately limit the next step offered to each customer
segment following the traditional audience development model.

The successful
initiative to change to an innovative model has boosted California Symphony’s
results which turned to be profoundly different from the national trends for