Posts

A Fad or The Future: BroadwayHD

Imagine arriving home from a grueling day’s work after fighting through an equally exhausting commute. Top it off with a cold, sopping drizzle falling precariously from the sky. The only energy you can muster is that to order dinner in and flop on the couch with a remote in hand, and nothing more.

If you had theatre tickets on a night like this, they might – okay, they’ll probably go to waste. No, this is definitely a Netflix binge-watching night, right?

Well, it no longer needs to be the case. You can still look forward to some high-quality theatrical entertainment, and right in the comfortable informality of your own home. And, no, there’s no need to invite any live performers to view you in your casual state.

With BroadwayHD, a pair of producers is hoping to cash in on the streaming trend by bringing shows from Broadway and various other high-quality outlets directly to you, the consumer. The service’s shows are currently relatively limited, but the potential for “big box office” is palpable.

But, it begs the question: Is this just another nail in the coffin of the traditional theatre-going experience? And does it dull the enjoyable  “spark” of actually seeing a performance, live and in-person (much like many shows-turned-films fall flat)?

Maybe. It’s the age old question: By attempting to reach a larger audience, are we watering-down the theatre-going experience? Is it a mere case of over-reach? Or is the passion towards new arts and experiences simply spreading in this new medium, causing home viewers to become true theatergoers?

Some naysayers poo-poo the new trend, arguing that the shows you’ll see on the list are sub-par and limited, and you won’t have access to the current hits (much as how Netflix Streaming first started). But, considering that this is a brand-new method of pushing access to shows out to the masses, many Broadway producers and teams simply haven’t had the discussion when creating their business and marketing plans to include the possible income generated by streaming the production.

Perhaps, if nothing else, it will begin the dialogue on the Great White Way of accessibility and its effect on the art.

Take the Arts & Analytics Survey on Performing Arts Interests

Calling all performing arts goers and lovers – we want to hear from you! At Arts & Analytics we are always looking for additional insight into the performing arts industry so our predictive analytics software, PartronLink360, can continue to meet the needs of our customers. To this end, we will regularly be conducting industry surveys on some of the most pressing topics in the performing arts.

Our first survey will focus on consumers’ performing arts interests – including how many times you attend performances, or if you are more likely to see a performance if you saw it on the Tony Awards. Your feedback is important!

The survey can be found here.

Stay tuned to this space as we will be unveiling the survey results in November.

The Tony’s Effect

Tony-2015-Logo-Horiz-White-300DPI

The American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards are arguably the most magical, high-quality television viewing experience every year. For those already in the know, they get to enjoy the satisfaction of seeing incredible productions shared with all the world and cheer for their favorites, celebrating victories or arguing unjust losses. For those who don’t partake in the arts very often, it’s an eye-opening view into an entirely new, wonderful entertainment experience, often sparking a lifetime interest. It’s kind of like the Super Bowl for Broadway lovers.

Beyond the night itself are the memories that viewers take with them. Months and years later, people remember a high-energy or heart-wrenching performance they saw unwind on the Tony’s stage. Many of us still remember a song we saw performed when we were quite young, amazed at the caliber of talent being displayed. It’s not just one night of entertainment; it sticks with you.

So, just for fun, we’re taking a look to see if the Broadway Box Office shows any signs of a connection to that magical night each year. Similar to the Oscars, one would expect the winners to see a rise in popularity, but what about the losers?

This year’s ceremony was on June 7th. In the weeks prior, attendance could be seen building for several high-buzz contenders. As a matter of fact, thirteen of 31 shows grossed $1 million or more, including An American in Paris, Something Rotten!, The King and I, and The Audience. Even smaller venue contenders saw a bump, like Fun Home and Hand to God (which saw an 89% filling of the seats for the week). As buzz rises, so does attendance, so it seems.

That’s not to say that all shows saw great numbers. Gigi, The Visit, Wolf Hall Parts 1 & 2, and even On the Town all had quite low percentages of potential. With the exception of Best Costume Design for Wolf Hall, perhaps we can look to the box office takes when making our own Tony predictions.

But, what about after the awards were handed out? Let’s just say that June saw tons and tons of sold out shows, particularly for The Audience, which ended its run on an ever-present high note. The numbers grew steadily (but not for all Broadway shows; many nominees and all winners saw increases) and seemed to feed off of the pre-Tony’s buzz. Around July 4th, most shows took a dive in ticket sales, but otherwise the winners saw steady numbers.

It’s important to remember that while many of the regular theatregoers were filling seats after the awards, many look to the Tony’s to plan more long-term trips to NYC. Hence, many shows will continue to see financial success months after at-home viewers got their first glimpse. Many people will plan an entire trip based on when their show is running (to catch it before it closes) and when their budgets and schedule will allow a trip. Especially with summer vacations (and, yes, even holiday trips) being planned, it’s clear that the “Tony’s effect” will ebb and flow, but definitely show itself in individual box office showings in the coming months.

The Spark of the Art – Do you know how to ignite?

What is it that fills the velvet cushioned seats of a theater with eager bodies? What draws people to travel hours to peer at a collection of paintings? What causes people to devote endless hour upon hour to repetitive, rote practice, sacrificing personal joys and free time with loved ones? Both complex and simple all at once, the answer is the art spark.

Shared by artist and audience member alike, the art spark is one of those wondrous things that make man unique from other earthly creatures. It’s the innate urge to express oneself and equally to observe such expression literally sparks an inward need for more. Once a patron of the arts, always a patron of the arts.

The spark is experienced in all walks of life. From the largest, most renowned stage to the barn-turned-community theater; from a high school poetry slam to a gallery of the highest ilk – they all have sprung from the passion of creation. For any performer – be they dancer, actor, artist, poet, writer, or athlete – the rush of anxious excitement that comes with displaying the proof of one’s dedicated practice is like no other. While the quality of one’s work may not (and possibly should not) be measured by its popularity, the great purpose of art is for it to be ultimately shared and enjoyed.

In this way, the audience holds an integral role in the artistic process. Their own art spark allows them to share in the artist’s excitement. They revel in the artist’s successes; cushion the blow of failure. Be it through admiration, sheer enjoyment, or empathy, they form a trust-based relationship with the artist. At times, a twinge of jealousy – the “I wish I could do that” feeling – leads the spark to turn audience member into full-fledged performer. After all, what great artist didn’t start as admiring fan at one time?

And so it goes. Shakespeare to Oscar Wilde to Noel Coward. Bach to Verdi to Copland. DaVinci to Van Gogh to Picasso. Artistic endeavors beget appreciation which beget further new endeavors, which allow the arts as a whole to live on. The simple nervous energy of an opening night is single-handedly continuing the lengthy tradition begun centuries before.

All because of that little spark.

megan

How a Young Family Prepares for the Theatre

A night of theater is a simple formula: dinner, theater, maybe coffee and dessert later over a lengthy chat about the interesting points of the show. It’s an exciting yet relaxing change from the norm, perfect for recharging and enlivening playgoers.

For some audience members, the evening is more of a process, though. Far more effort is put into the enjoyment of a night of theater, and that variation from the norm is sharper for several reasons.

Take a recent example right out of my planner. There was a time that a date night of theater meant next to no planning, and occurred about once every month or two. My husband and I would meet up after work, grab a lovely dinner beforehand (he never made reservations), and off to the theater we went. Intermission and after-show coffee would bring about chats of personal connections with themes and characters, comparisons to other shows, and analyses of whether we could get away with such a show at our own community theater group. We’d leisurely head home and keep chatting, still buzzing on caffeine and inspiration.

Fast-forward to now. Theater experiences are few and far between since our son came along. When we do take in a show, we weigh heavily which show is worth our time and effort, sifting through every local theater’s season options. We hardly ever select a repeat show anymore, whereas we used to enjoy comparing the variations between different productions. We definitely take less risks, mostly because our free time has become a more precious commodity.

After selecting (weeks or months in advance) the show that we’re interested in, we analyze the best babysitting option and exactly how the evening will go. We plan, discuss, organize, and plan some more. From the fastest route to the closest restaurant to the exact minute we need to leave to find a prime parking spot, it’s almost laughable.

Once inside the theater, though, we’re home. Joining the din of the crowd, we enjoy the laughter, gasps, and boisterous applause that accompany live theater. We read our programs voraciously, socialize unexpectedly with old friends in the aisle, and share knowing smirks when the audience reacts conservatively to a bawdy joke. We leave on bouncing feet, reenergized with the same old feeling. Only, this time, we rush off to relieve the babysitter and drag an over-tired toddler home. We all pass out and feel exhausted for days, calling it a totally worth it “theater hangover.”

We know that, one day, we’ll miss these days of childhood innocence, so we don’t wish them away. However, we find encouragement in the fact that we’ll be bringing up our son in a theater-loving family and will be able to share theater-going experiences together as he grows up. Before we know it, our house will be sadly empty and we’ll have the luxury to frequent more and more productions like the old days. It brings me to wonder if any of our over-planning practices will spill into those calmer, quieter times.

Megan

Denver Center For The Performing Arts – 500% ROI

 

Today, many performing arts venues are confronting a new set challenges, which require innovation to attract and retain their most valuable asset—the patron. In the past, many organizations could rely upon traditional marketing channels to sell individual tickets, seasonal subscriptions, and to raise funds. Today traditional marketing channels are no longer effective and now, the arts must innovate to activate.
Precision Marketing is the ultimate customer-centric approach to marketing and is driven by data-based customer insight and metrics, that clearly measure marketing effectiveness. Precision Marketing considers historic transactions to predict future outcomes. This insight enables the creation of relevant campaigns, meaningful patron segments and personas, and quantifiable ROI.
As an industry thought leader, DCPA has maintained an active transactional database but had not leveraged the data to create actionable insight or to influence campaign outcomes.
DCPA’s ongoing commitment to excellence, led them to initiate a Precision Marketing pilot to test its efficacy.
[lab_subscriber_download_form download_id=1]

Email vs. Direct Mail

Marketers have often asked me whether it is better to use email or direct mail for a marketing campaign. From much research and many case studies, I have found that the answer is not an “either/or” choice. A sound integrated marketing strategy is like an orchestra, with all the different parts coming together at the right moment to create the patron experience. To develop a “Boston Pops” approach to your campaign, I recommend a model based score based on good data, a communications matrix to understand where your potential patrons are in the buying cycle, and personalized, relevant messaging to a potential buyer.

Good, clean data and modeling are necessary for strategic decision-making. Data does not lie. “Tried-and-true” gut decisions may mislead and misdirect strategic actions and funds. Through data-driven insight, a venue can achieve a deeper understanding of a customer’s actual value and propensities to purchase. This insight, in turn, drives the strategy and determines the campaign, delivery channels, tactics and offers.

With good data in hand, take the next step in a disciplined, precision marketing approach. Use a communications matrix to chart what channel, message, or offer should go to which segment of your potential patrons. A matrix can help avoid over-communicating and redundancy, which can be costly both from a financial and from a patron-relations standpoint. By mapping messages to specific segments, the tool can help you organize a prescriptive, customer-centric approach across all product lines of your company.
If you are part of a large venus, over-communicating may be a greater problem than you realize. At a bank in Asia, I found more than 1,080 requests for names out of their database were requested by ten different product departments within six months. One potential customer received 10 product offers in one day!

You can avoid such budget-wasting tactics. Set up a simple communications matrix in four quadrants with two key axes: current revenue and potential revenue. The quadrants identify responders in four categories: low propensity, future potential, high propensity and “best bets.”

Best Bets. This grouping refers to patrons who represent high existing revenue and high potential revenue, clearly the most attractive group –or best bets for your marketing dollars. Consider both email and direct mail for this population. Home Depot uses this successful strategy. When a family buys a new house, that homeowner becomes a best bet. Home Depot knows new owners will purchase fans, paint and wall coverings. Given this knowledge, Home Depot invests a larger percent of its marketing dollars in sending new owners slick, direct mailers with appropriate offers.
Low Propensity. This segment represents low existing revenue and low potential. Many times this segment represents patrons in which we have limited data or understanding. Consequently, it has the lowest chance of generating revenue for your company. Sending expensive direct mail would not be the best use of funds. Rather, this segment lends itself to electronic contact with lead-nurturing e-mails, surveys, or invitations to visit your booth at a tradeshow. At a minimum of 75 cents per unit, plus creative costs, direct mailers are too expensive an investment for patrons in this segment.

Future Potential. The population in this segment currently generates revenue for the company but does not have a high propensity to create significant new revenue in the future. Targeting the occasional user does not represent the best allocation of marketing budget dollars but staying engaged is key to continual nurturing and retaining this loyal customer.

High Propensity. This segment refers to prospects or patrons who represent low existing revenue but high potential revenue. The “high propensity” segment has greater potential than the other low and future potential, yet the strategy needs to consider a less costly communication engage and grow this segment. Emails with special offers could be effective with this segment. In keeping with the homebuyer example, a campaign may target renters that are considering a significant home purchase based on data and demographics.

A communications matrix helps you avoid a wasteful “spray-and-pray” or “one-size-fits-all” campaign loaded with generic messaging. Such messages are irrelevant regardless of how often they are repeated or by which means they are delivered. By understanding your audience segments, you can develop relevant, personalized messaging, which is ranked as one of the top strategies for realizing greater revenue and profitability from existing patrons. According to one study, business marketers spend an average of 30 percent of their marketing budgets on the creation and execution of content. “Content is now the engine that makes marketing go, ”said Joe Pulizzi, Junta42 founder and chief content officer.

All these factors play into any marketing strategy. In honing choices for your “marketing symphony,” keep in mind these recommendations:

  • Use good, clean data to develop a precisely targeted customer strategy.
  • Use a communications matrix to generate the highest return for marketing dollars spent.
  • Low Propensity, Future Potential, High Propensity and Best Bets describe the customer potential for revenue generation.
  • Use relevant, personalized messaging aligned to patrons in each segment of the matrix to gain the most benefit from your marketing dollars.

 

Dirty Data You Are The Talk Of The Town

Everyone is talking dirty, dirty data that is. They’re quickly realizing that without a data strategy, data becomes quickly outdated and is more of a liability vs. an asset. CMO’s can no longer hide their dirty laundry; the data must be cleaned in order to improve campaign costs and ROI.

Is my data dirty? According to Salesforce.com, YES.

• 7% of your current data is Duplicated
• 21% is Dead or considered Useless or Dead
• 74% is Outdated
• 90% is Incomplete

Instead of discussing the potential damage dirty data can cause a campaign, let’s take some action and find a data hygiene provider to help.

Vendor Selection: You will need to send a spreadsheet with First Name, Last Name, Address, City, State, Zip and Account Code to reference back to your system. Most data hygiene providers will clean your data up to 10,000 addresses for free. This will let you make an informed decision on which provider to select. Be sure to review the match rate at both the address level and then at the surname level. Match rates on address level usually are in the 90% range, while matches on the surname level usually fall into the 75% range.

What you can expect: The data hygiene provider will standardize your data in accordance with the United States Postal Office standards and usually will return your data CASS certified.

Now that your data is standardized, the next step is cleaning your data. I will cover this in my next post.