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Monetizing Audience Engagement, A Love Story


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Isn’t it funny that we use the term “engagement” to describe audience interaction with our organizations? The word can mean ‘get together” -- a meeting or visit. It can also mean commitment as in promise to marry. As that range of definition implies, and two decades of arts consumer research shows, engagement has the plot lines of a love story.

Take, for instance, that first engagement with a new audience member who has never before walked into your organization’s life. Their doing so is the culmination of a flirtation –or first date -- that might end up being a one-night stand or the beginning of a long-lasting relationship that imparts value (money) by both parties. Your organization’s understanding of patrons – especially those you’ve worked hard to bring in the first time –is part of the script. You write a happy ending or tear-jerker, depending on what you do.

"Monetizing Audience Engagement, A Love Story" was presented at the Arts Reach National Arts Marketing, Development, and Ticketing Conference in San Francisco, CA, where TRG Arts’ veteran patron loyalty consultant Keri Mesropov and Director of Network Programs David Seals compared standard ways of relationship-building to the happily-ever-after best practices that are sustaining smart arts organizations.

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Monetizing Audience Engagement, A Love Story

  1. 1. Audience Engagement A Love Story October 25, 2013 Presented by Keri Mesropov Vice President Client Services TRG Arts David Seals Program Director, Network Programs TRG Arts
  2. 2. Vancouver Recital Society
  3. 3. What We Do Patron Results 1. Consulting Capacity building for sustainable growth 2. Data Services Aggregation, analysis, direct response counsel 3. Community Data Networks 35 million households
  4. 4. Get Together Commitment Engagement Holding someone’s attention
  5. 5. Audience Development Diversity Audience Engagement Special Outreach or Events Loyalty
  6. 6. Monetizing Audience Engagement: Purposeful cultivation of people’s passion for the art form that builds a relationship resulting in loyalty and revenue.
  7. 7. transactional data
  8. 8. Measuring Engagement Loyalty Metrics 1. Strong relationships = greater, lasting revenue 2. Increasing RFM (recency, frequency, $$$) 3. By tracking loyalty metrics we manage relationships
  9. 9. Donors and consummate loyalists The magic of “and” From 1st time to second or last time to NOW
  10. 10. Monetizing Engagement: A Love Story
  11. 11. 4 out of 5 new patrons leave… and never come back.
  12. 12. Chapter One: The Second Date 1. Get their digits You must be able to contact them again 2. Then, ASK Personally Directly Soon after the first date
  13. 13. 4 year retention study New buyers SRT achieved second date in same season TRIPLED retention rate Revenue kept growing. More on this case at
  14. 14. Seattle Rep Starting with the 2nd date Year 1 Offer: same-season ticket offer ONLY Nothing else. Year 2 Offer: 3 plays for $99 5 tickets that year Year 3 Offer: Subscribe! 6 tickets that year Year 4 Offer: Renew! First time renewal rate: 81%
  15. 15. Case Study: First Timer Cultivation Group: Four-Year Study
  16. 16. Case Study: First Timer Cultivation Group: Four-Year Study
  17. 17. Case Study: First Timer Cultivation Group: Four-Year Study
  18. 18. Seattle Rep Case Key Points 1. Retention is a worthy discipline Requires focus 2. Asking for the second date THE right next step 3. Growth is incremental Monetizing engagement takes time
  19. 19. Donors and consummate loyalists The magic of “and” From 1st time to second or last time to NOW
  20. 20. Chapter Two: Courting 1. Don’t ask them to marry you yet The RIGHT next step 2. Take the relationship “to the next level” Ongoing upgrade campaign
  21. 21. Next Step: Reactivate Message: “Welcome back” How? Treat them like a first timer and a valued patron. Next Step: Come back Message: “Welcome— thanks for joining us” How? Make the first time the best possible. Next Step: Come back again Message: “Thanks, and might you wish to _____?” How? Foster further engagement by making the ask
  22. 22. Chapter Three: Commitment 1. Moving in together Small package or series 2. Popping the question Ask for first subscription, membership, donation 3. Married life Renewal, “and”
  23. 23. GET MORE ENGAGED Upgrades to grow loyalty Focus: Harness the power of “AND” Include: All organizational assets • Multiple attendance AND • A range of activities • The more they buy, the more they buy • Engaged patrons stick
  24. 24. Add a donation Renew & Upgrade Renew Flex to Full
  25. 25. Chapter Four: So happy together 1. Anniversaries year after year Active donor/investors 2. Patron family matriarchs and patriarchs Leadership
  26. 26. Monetizing Engagement A performing arts example Single Ticket Buyers New Subscribers Renewing Subscribers Renewing SubscriberDonors Per Patron Yield $53.84 $156.05 $341.51 $550.42 Cost of Sale 20% 25% 3% 3% Renewal Rates 23% 46% 69% 88%
  27. 27. Monetizing Engagement: A Love Story