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Understanding Media Habits of Ticket Buyers
Episode 28

Understanding Media Habits of Ticket Buyers

CI to Eye with Johnna Fellows Gluth

This episode is hosted by Erik Gensler.

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Erik and Johnna discuss the survey methodology, review key takeaways from the data, and explore how arts organizations can use this information to guide strategic thinking.

Erik Gensler: Thank you so much for chatting with me today… I’m really excited to dive into this.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: My pleasure.

Erik Gensler: So, let’s first talk about, what the Performing Arts Ticket Buyer Media Usage Study is.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Sure. So, this past summer, so August of 2017, in partnership with WolfBrown, we collaborated with 58 different performing arts organizations, to conduct a big survey of recent attendees, of those organizations Our hope was to collect information about media consumption habits, communication preferences, and digital behavior patterns, in general. Working hand-in-hand with arts organizations every day, and having worked with them ourselves, you know, in different organizations… We really appreciate at Capacity, that organizations have a lot on their plates… And, we know that it can be difficult for marketers to prioritize and try to make the smart decisions they need to, that are backed up with data. So, with that in mind, the genesis of the survey was really a sort of shared need to create that new data set. We’ve long felt that there’s a gap about the different topics that I just mentioned, and how they relate to arts audiences in particular. while on the one hand, there’s a lot of great data out there, about the market at large… I’m thinking about the different studies that are done by Neilson, or Forrester, or Ipsos, and the like… But we know that when it comes to arts attenders… they can be a particular bunch. and whether that’s real or perceived just within organizations, that’s the, the mind set out there. So, that really necessitated more focused research., we’re certainly not the first to do this, but, you know, but even back in 2014, Google, in partnership with Ipsos, provided a really great resource that we have used very heavily… And it looked at media consumption, all the way up through the point of purchase. But that was 2014, so that data set was getting a little but dated. And it was also very heavily focused on Broadway.

Erik Gensler: Mm.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: we know (laughing) firsthand that many organizations have limited access or resources to get reliable audience data… And, I mean, good data shouldn’t be a luxury item.

Erik Gensler: Absolutely. the point you’re saying is to understand how specifically performing arts ticket buyers use media… could you talk a little bit about how we put together the data set… Who are the people that answer this and how do we go about getting their responses?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Sure, we started the process by reaching out to clients of Capacity Interactive, and WolfBrown. And, in total, that was about 160 organizations that we invited to participate in this project. And, at the end of the day, 58 ended up participating… Which was a fantastic response, and, and exceeded our expectations. And, through those study partners, as well called them… we did as WolfBrown has informed me, it’s a decentralized survey, of performing arts attenders. And really what that means is, the study partners were our conduits to different performing arts attenders out there. And what they did was, they agreed to solicit participation in an online survey, from no less than 2,000 recent ticket buyers… And for our purposes here, we define that as within the last two years. And while 2,000 was the minimum, some organizations solicited as many as 10,000 in their data base. And they, what was interesting, was they had control over the mix of audience members that they solicited. provided that they hit that minimum of having bought a ticket within the last two years. so that means we have a mix of single ticket buyers, subscribers, or some other combination, or subset.

Erik Gensler: Great. So how, how long was the, the, survey… Did you, were you concerned about survey length, did you see a lot of people were completing it… how did you come up with the, the questions that were included?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Absolutely, that was a big concern on my part. Coming to, making a survey, I had never really (laughing) done this before, so my biggest concern was, I want to make sure we get as many people to participate as possible, and that this isn’t an undue burden. We want them to take it, but we don’t want this to take up their entire day. So, in the end, where we landed, it was a 32-question survey. Of course, some had slightly less than that, depending on their responses, in different typed questions… But 32 was the, was the max. And I think that ended up being a good point… because this ended up yielding 27,000 responses, or just under that. Which to our knowledge, is one of the largest multi-site patron surveys ever conducted. One thing that is really interesting to note about that is… The 58 study partner organizations… They are from across the US and Canada isn’t just looking at major cities. we feel this gave a nice cross-section and isn’t just focused, say, on New York organizations.

Erik Gensler: one of things I learned from Al and, and working on this was that credible statisticians need to outline, the sample biases… So, any survey’s biased, but you have to say what the biases are, so… Can you talk a bit about how (laughing) our survey is biased?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: (Laughs) Sure. This, yeah… This is funny because during this process what was lovely was learning so much from WolfBrown about the ins and outs of research and, and just identifying the biases in such an incredibly important part. I’m sure there’s a lot of nuances, to the different biases that might exist here, but the two major biases, we paid particular attention to… Was first of all, that this was an online survey, so, there’s inherently a digital bias… people are taking it, are by definition, online., so that was something we kept in mind. And the second was that, given our method of sampling, patrons who responded, are likely to be those that are quite loyal the study partner organizations. such as subscribers, or single ticket buyers who are attentive to the organization. So that’s what contributes to what WolfBrown describes as a loyalty bias. But fortunately, their expertise came in very handy, because there’s ways to work around that. And, we were able to look at the data set and mitigate the loyalty bias, for example, by adjusting for the percentage of subscribers that responded from a given organization with different weighting., and that process of weighting responses was also done for, to accommodate something else, which was, you know, if a larger organization… Let’s say they had significantly more respondents compared to a smaller organization… We didn’t want that larger organization’s responses to drown out the smaller number of responses from a smaller one. So, they also weighted, for that factor as well.

Erik Gensler: So, let’s jump in to the key findings. So, with that many question-(Laughs)

Johnna Fellows Gluth: (Laughs)

Erik Gensler: -and that many respondents, there was a ton of data…And, I’m curious to hear how you began to organize the, the massive data set, and, and pull out the key findings.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: It was, yeah, it was a really interesting and fun process, for me… I think that the, the very first thing was just getting really familiar with what we had to work with… And being very systematic in the way we combed through it… First looking at the aggregate data, then looking at those sub-aggregates, and then using different filters that were available to us such as age, or subscriber status, or frequency of attendance, just to name a few… To see what the story was, that the data wanted to tell. In any kind of research, I’ve ever done, I find that there’s this initial space where you’re just observing and organizing. And then suddenly, almost as though miraculously, patterns just sort of emerge., and that was certainly the case here. And we saw some very strong patterns.

Erik Gensler: The first big finding I know, was around, generations, and how generations are consuming media differently. Can you talk a little about what you learned here?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: I’d say this was perhaps the greatest overarching theme, in terms of patterns, for what we saw, out of respondents. And it emerged as a foundation to a lot of the other key findings in this study. And, what we saw was that generational splits are driving differences in a wide range of ticket buyer behaviors. And, this is from subscribing to arts organizations, we saw generational differences… questions about media consumptions, say for example, watching broadcast television, we saw patterns… And even things like smartphone use. And, as you would probably intuitively expect, in a nutshell younger ticket buyer use digital media more heavily and are more mobile-centric. But, I think it’s interesting to note, it’s not an all-or-nothing phenomenon, it’s very graduated. So, if you think about it, in the way the graphs look, starting at 75 and older, and then working down in decade segments to 18 and 24… Each successively younger age segment is more digitally and mobile-centric.

Erik Gensler: I thought some of the findings around the consumption of television were really, eye-opening.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: I agree. I thought that was really interesting. And, what we saw there was, there was a dramatic age-driven difference in terms of consuming and watching broadcast is safe to say that broadcast TV is something that older generations tend to do much more than younger generations.

Erik Gensler: Mm-hmm (affirmative). The next major area was trying to understand how people find out about arts events. And so, what are some of the key takeaways from, from that piece of the research?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: This question in particular, if nothing else, it sort of was a resounding battle cry for email, that stood out as the number one source across all generations. And so, this was one area where, contrary to the generational differences we see and the patterns we see elsewhere, email was consistent across all, age cohorts as the number one source. And, we’re talking in the 80 percent range.

Erik Gensler: the next category was, I thought that you did some interesting slicing and dicing of the data here, so looking at, outdoor and direct mail, I thought there was some interesting findings around that.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: when we look at other sources, say, social media posts, or, outdoor posters and billboards and marquees, those skewed much younger. The younger age cohorts identified those as sources of information. On the other hand of the spectrum what we saw was as in printed newspapers, or magazines, and direct-mail, such as postcards, or brochures… Those were sources that were more heavily replied upon by older age cohorts. And, while we don’t know exactly the ‘why’ behind all of that, you know, we can speculate. Perhaps the younger age segments are more urban-dwelling and so they have exposure to more outdoor advertising, say, posters in subways, or marquees and things like that.

Erik Gensler: Hm. I was surprised by the outdoor and direct-mail piece and how they’re sort of inversely correlated, where young, younger people listed outdoors as more influential, and older people, mentioned direct-mail… And then, I guess it makes sense though, because young people certainly aren’t running home to get their mail. (Laughs)

Johnna Fellows Gluth: (Laughs) That’s true. (Laughs) That’s true. (Laughs)

Erik Gensler: So, that was specifically about, how people find out about arts events, but then we also looked at media consumption in general. And, one of the drivers for me for this study was really to understand the role of print… So, could you talk a bit about what we learned from looking at, in to the research around print?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: What was really interesting about the print media readership is that we saw an absolute relationship between age and print consumption… And as you might expect, older generations, older age segments, more heavily reported using local newspapers as a news source, or a media consumption pattern. what we see in the younger age segments, is that it drops off dramatically, and that even when looking at those under 35 years old… Fully 50 percent said they never, never, not once, read print news in an average month. Um so, so that gives you a picture of print in general. It definitely skews towards the older group. But, when looking at that older group, among the survey participants, say, over 65 years of age, what we see is that 89 percent also access news online. So, while 77 percent say they access local newspapers at least once a month, 89 percent also access news online. 90 percent purchase performing arts tickets online in the past twelve months, at least. And, 53 percent are on Facebook.

Erik Gensler: So it really goes to that question, that, you know, who is reading the paper and if you really need to spend the money on print ads in the newspaper to connect with those people.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: It comes as a surprise, I think, to some people, that we at Capacity are not saying, okay, burn your ships-

Erik Gensler: (Laughs)

Johnna Fellows Gluth: It’s time to abandon print. And, you know, there’s no going back. We, we don’t say that. Print is absolutely a channel out there, and there are times where it makes a lot of sense. The times when it makes sense, though, is when you know for sure the eyes that you want… So, specific audience segments, are going to be reading the print newspapers…And, for example, What is an example of that? You know, I can think if there’s a fall arts preview, and you know people are going to be reading that… Well, then maybe that does make sense for your audience. But, in general, I don’t know a single marketing team that is just, has money to spare, and is just willing to be frivolous with their decisions. I think every single marketer wants to make the smartest decision to get the most bang out of their buck. And, if I’m looking at the data and I see that, even amongst the group that is most likely to be a print reader, say, so 65 and a-above. What you see there, is 77 percent are reading local newspapers at least once a month. But 89 percent are also saying they also access news online. So, it sure seems to me that there could be a smarter way, a more targeted way to be accessing these same people, than in print advertising.

Erik Gensler: Yeah. And probably with, with more frequency.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: For sure.

Erik Gensler: So, of the channels you looked at… We talked about print, we talked about a number of other channels… Just, collectively, where are most arts buyers spending their media time?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Without a doubt, Facebook is still king. With all the different questions we asked, and we looked at everything from print to other forms of non-digital media… So, think of broadcast radio, you know, anything along those lines… you know, thinking about online news sources, thinking about digital media, and social media… What we see is that with the exception of broadcast TV, Face-Facebook is the number one leader in terms of media consumption.

Erik Gensler: I mean that’s, that’s really remarkable for a platform that is, is (laughs) so young in the world, that-

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Absolutely.

Erik Gensler: Yeah. Besides broadcast TV which is, you know, we learned is really consumed by older folks, and they’re also, you know, using the DVR… There were some, there was some data on DVR use, and I don’t want to state the, the number incorrectly, but we did ask the people… I think it was like, if you have a DVR, do you use it to skip commercials? And do you remember what that number was?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Okay. So, one of the questions we asked when we were drilling into different media types that are consumed… We were interested in broadcast TV, and we were also interested in people who were watching TV, were they watching it via recorded programs on their DVR. And so, looking across the aggregate, what we saw was that, It’s broken down into different frequencies… So daily, a few times per week, all the way up through less than once a month, or never. and what we see is that 53 percent of people out there, who are watching TV, are doing so via recorded programming on their DVRs. So, that’s, that’s a pretty strong number. Of those, 16 percent are doing that on daily basis.

Erik Gensler: I mean, that makes sense., the big takeaway here is looking cross-channel, cross-everything… Facebook and broadcast were the, you know the, had the, most, reach… Or say, the, uh… Where most arts buyers are spending their time more than public radio, more than print, more than, you know, anywhere else. and then, it just raises the question of, okay, they are on broadcast, but we also have this data about DVR usage. Which isn’t to say that everyone’s who’s on Facebook is fully attentive all the time, either.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Sure. That’s a very fair point. Yeah.

Erik Gensler: Yeah. I just thought it was absolutely remarkable that, Facebook has just asserted itself with such incredible, just, reach in such a short amount of time.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: I agree. Absolutely.

Erik Gensler: So, let’s look a little deeper into, some of the findings around social media usage. What did you learn about how ticket buyers use social media?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: What we saw with social media is that, although all forms of social media use decrease with age, Facebook is still used extensively across all age groups. This was a really interesting layer. so, on one hand, social media like so many of the areas we looked at in this study… It very much has that foundational theme of generational differences. But Facebook was the outlier. It really has saturated across all different generations, in such a rapid period of time.

Erik Gensler: Definitely. And what about the, the other platforms… Instagram, Snapchat, etc.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Okay. Looking at social media platforms across age cohorts… What we see is that Facebook is, without a doubt, the leader., coming in second is YouTube. When you’re looking at the younger age cohorts, Instagram is a close third, coming right neck-in-neck behind YouTube. with the younger cohorts, you do see Snapchat does have a hold. Especially in that youngest segment of 18 to 24., but across the board, we see that… If you’re looking top to bottom, 18 to 75-year olds, it’s Facebook, then YouTube, and then Instagram.

Erik Gensler: Mm. It was really remarkable to me the, the drop-off in Snapchat usage after a certain age, after like 20s, was it?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Right. So, 18 to 24-year olds have a reported 62 percent usage rate., that’s, we were asking based on at least once per week. that drops dramatically even to the next age bracket. So, from 25 to 34-year olds, it’s 28 percent. So, from 62 down to 28 percent. And then, the next, group, 35 to 44-year olds, it’s down to nine percent. And that holds steady for the next group., and then it’s down to three percent for 55 to 64-year olds. And then, nearly nonexistent after that.

Erik Gensler: What, what about Twitter?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Twitter did not fall into the top four. interestingly enough. I think that, different organizations use it and have all, sometimes a lot of success, especially with very first-hand customer service type issues… But in terms of looking at audience behavior and what they are spending their time on, Twitter was a distant fifth to the others.

Erik Gensler: I think it was like 19 percent of the audiences were using Twitter, across, across the board? Which I thought was surprisingly small.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Okay, so looking across the aggregates of, usage in a typical week… What we see is, for Facebook it’s 65 percent. And again, this is aggregated across all different age cohorts. What you see as second, is YouTube at 46 percent. Then you get into some similar numbers where you have, Instagram at 27 percent, and then Twitter is actually only at 19 percent across the aggregate.

Erik Gensler: Oh. it just really got usurped by some of those, you know, Instagram, which came later. because really, back in the day it was about Facebook and Twitter. And then, I think what happened was, just my hypothesis, which is Face…Twitter didn’t become visual quickly enough. And so, the visual platform sort of came in.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Yeah, that, I bet you’re right.

Erik Gensler: That’s my theory at least.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: (Laughs)

Erik Gensler: So what about video? What did you learn about where people are watching videos?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: This was an interesting wrinkle to the social media data that we, that we have we asked… First of all, about just social media usage and frequency in a typical week. But then, what we asked in a second question was about where are you viewing videos on social media? And we asked it based on different frequencies. And what was surprising to me, was that while, on the one hand, we know Facebook and then YouTube are number one and two in terms of social media platform use… What we see when we asked about video, was that Instagram jumped up and beat out YouTube, in terms of frequency when asking about daily, or a few times per week, or at least once a week. It was higher than YouTube. And, at first, we crunched on this for a little bit. And what I think this is telling us is that while most people reliably and routinely go to YouTube, every week, or every month… When it comes to actually watching videos, more frequently it’s on Instagram, that they’re actually seeing and watching videos. And that’s pretty profound given that YouTube is a video medium.

Erik Gensler: Definitely I think of my own usage, if you’re sent a video, you’re going to watch it on YouTube or if you’re specifically looking for a video, you’re going to go to YouTube. But, I think the habit is you’re on your phone, and you’re bored, and so you open, Instagram, and then, you’re served (laughs) lots of videos.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Absolutely. And usually they’re quick and short, and both on Facebook and Instagram, and so you’re more likely to be able to watch and consume that, as opposed to perhaps a longer format on YouTube.

Erik Gensler: Definitely. Let’s talk about, arts websites and particularly, ticket buying online. One of the big surprises for me, was that 95 percent of all respondents to the survey had bought a ticket online in the past year across all age cohorts.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: That was a surprising number for me as well. And, I think that’s an interesting wrinkle on another data point we had. Which is that 79 percent of respondents say they’re most likely to purchase tickets online. And, at first, you and I even talked about it, we thought to ourselves… Wait a minute, if 79 are saying they’re most likely to do that, but 95 percent did…, what does that say? And I think what it means is that, while on the one hand, there might be times when I would prefer to call someone in the box office and, and get some answers clarified, or get some help with something… There are just so many times when I’m in a rush, or the convenience aspect of being able to go online and take care of it on my own… That is going to take precedence. So, I think that, that really raises the importance of having a great purchase path and the ability for audience members to go and complete their transaction on your site in a seamless way.

Erik Gensler: What did the survey tell us about mobile?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: We can see from this data that mobile is absolutely front and center in terms of how audiences are operating on the web., without a doubt, people use desktop a lot., what we saw, we asked about devices that were used to access study partners’ websites in the past twelve months, and so… Amongst the respondents who visited the website in the past twelve months, we saw that 88 percent did so on desktop or laptop, 40 percent did it on smartphone, and 24 percent did on tablet. And this is aggregated across all ages. So, 18 to 75 and older. So, while 88 seems like, Wow, that’s, there’s the majority, the fact that 40 percent did, that’s, that’s a pretty big number, in terms of mobile visitation. and what’s more, when you drill down one step further and you look at… Okay, look at the people who did visit on a desktop or laptop, how many also said they went via a smartphone? And that number is 38 percent. So, what that tells us is that there’s a lot of cross-device usage. People are using the device that’s at their fingertips or that serves the purpose they have at that moment. So, you can’t just take that 88 percent using desktop as a model, and say… Well, see, so we’re safe just with a desktop experience. No, people are on mobile and so the experience there needs to be front and center, for sure.

Erik Gensler: Absolutely. And I think it’s just validating to have those black and white numbers, this is obviously something that we know, and we’ve been saying for years, but having data to back it up I would say for almost all of these findings, was really…why we did this, right?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Absolutely.

Erik Gensler: Like, okay, no. These are ticket buyers are telling us this stuff.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Absolutely.

Erik Gensler: We now have it very clearly.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: smartphone usage, while going to the website took 40 percent, for purchasing online it was 37 percent. So, it was slightly lower. For desktop and laptop, it matched 88 percent., I think that, that’s also important to know because, people are wanting to purchase tickets on their phone. That it’s not just, you know, for initial research. There, there is a use case all the way through the purchase path.

Erik Gensler: , the way you slice this in terms of genre, I believe there were four different genres in how you ended up looking at the, the data… And I’m curious, were there any major differences around people, who answered from, say, dance versus theater versus music versus performing arts centers?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: There were of, of the 58 organizations, there were several different sub-aggregates, or genres, as you mentioned, we had dance, music, theater and presenters, and… What was interesting about that was, as we cut the data, you know, there might be a percentage point difference here or there, but overall, what seems to drive any real differences between the different genres has to do with the generational makeup of the respondents. So, for example, you know if we look at if dance, if the results based on dance were slightly different from the overall aggregate when we drill in what we see as well… That’s because of the dance respondents, they tended to be a little bit younger., so I think any differences we do see actually can be explained more by generational, elements. and those differences just in general were not very profound.

Erik Gensler: Interesting.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Well, you know, and that brings up a really great point. And I think that links in to our overall sampling methodology. in general, I think, between this study and then also working on our benchmark study, what you realize very quickly is just even defining our field, as a whole, is quite a project., and, there are so many different ways to, to kind of round it out and, and set the boundaries. So, when trying to understand is this sample representative, we know that we can’t say that, as a whole across, you know, the field. and even looking at dance in particular since we included organizations that range from modern dance to ballet, you know, very new organizations to very old, established organizations… They’re going to have very different audience makeups. And, you know, this isn’t, the data set while robust, it certainly isn’t so large that the sub-aggregates can be thought of as representative of the genre in general. So, I think at this point we really can’t speculate as to, you know, how representative it is. But I do think that it’s reassuring to know that, when looking at the genre breakdowns, you don’t see any major variations. and so I… Certainly not enough that would dramatically change your approach to different channel choices for paid media.

Erik Gensler: That’s a really great point. I also that the one thing that Allen Brown said was that this sample is representative of all arts buyers in as much as these 58 arts organizations represent arts organizations in the United States, right?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: These 58 organizations do come from across the US and four provinces in Canada. So, you know, we aren’t looking at just major city organizations., these were organizations and subsequently their audiences come from across the US, and North America, and so I do think that they provide a nice cross-section.

Erik Gensler: This is obviously a ton of data, and there’s, you know, even a lot more than we talked about today, and people can definitely download the, the whitepaper and look at it… But, if you were to boil down some key takeaways for arts marketers of how they can use this information, what would those be?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: I think that what is so interesting about this data… While, on the one hand, it drills down and gives you a lot of specific information about different media channels, about different digital behavior, and communication preferences… A central through-line is that, even if, you know, you’re looking at cases where, you know, you’re seeing where respondents are still sensitive to print and they’re using as a media source… What you’re also seeing is that, those folks are also going online… And so, very quickly what you recognize is that central to all of this, and central to all of our marketing operations, is our website., it is sort of the central the epicenter, if you will, of marketing operations. Because no matter what channel it is, all roads are leading online, and are leading to the website. And that’s where you have the opportunity to collect leads and then harness the power of email, and you know, we saw from this data how powerful email really is, in terms of being a source for information for upcoming events. So, I think a key takeaway is just really recognizing that the website is at the heart of every single thing we do as marketers… And, starting to examine how can we maximize that? going there to buy tickets., but the number one reason, why people go to arts websites, is to get content, and to learn about upcoming productions, or programs, or exhibitions. And, so that tells me that people are seeking content, they’re seeking information… And, you know, as marketers we have the power to make that a fantastic experience and drive them to take that next step.

Erik Gensler: Absolutely. So, speaking of next steps…, we’re sitting on this amazing data set of, of lots of information that is slightly overwhelming., so I’m curious what are the, the plans for, future ways that we’re going to get this information out and future iterations of, the study?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: There is such a rich amount of data here, and on the one hand we published the whitepaper and that gives a really thorough look at the aggregate level of the different patterns we see and the key findings from the study. There is still so much more we can tap and drill into, and we’re continuing to look at it, and we hope to infuse that data out into the community through different blog posts. We would ideally love, in the future to, to repeat the study…and based on some of the areas that we’ve learned one of the nice things is, you’re going out and sharing this information with the field and so we’re getting some feedback about areas of interest and, and different follow-up questions… And if we could, in theory, in the future, grow the study… It would be wonderful to be able to look and drill into geographical differences, if those really do exist, for example. So that is, in particular, my thoughts on this study. At the same time, I think it’s kind of interesting to note that this is really one half of a whole. And, the other study that we do is our benchmark survey. And, while this study looks outward and is really looking at audience preferences and behaviors, the benchmark study is, is sort of the looking in the mirror, and saying… Okay, what are we as arts organizations doing internally? How are we marketing and, you know, how are we lining up with best practices? Especially as they relate to what the demand is out in the field.

Erik Gensler: Definitely. And so… Do you want to talk about where we are with that study? (Laughs)

Johnna Fellows Gluth: (Laughs) Yeah, sure! Uh, so, on the heels of the ticket buyer study, we are in the process of revamping our benchmark study. Which many people know about the, the benchmark… We’ve done it for over five years and so we wanted to kind of take a fresh look at it… And, and ask ourselves this has served us so well, it has provided rich data, but, you know, how can we take it to the next level? Apply a little more rigor and… Also, really hone in on what is the information that will help the field at large grow, and, and form better marketing. So, we are in the process of, of rebooting that and this spring we’ll be conducting the benchmark survey again. And we will have the results at our next Boot Camp, and we are very excited about it.

Erik Gensler: Definitely. you’ve been doing some really thoughtful work about we can make that information more sound, and more strategic and so I’m really excited about the, the next version of that, which will release this fall. So, we’ve come to the final question, which is your CI to Eye moment, and the question, which, I believe you know-

Johnna Fellows Gluth: (Laughs)

Erik Gensler: (Laughs) Using what you learned here, if you could broadcast to the executive directors, staff, and board, of over a thousand arts organizations, what advice would you provide to help them improve their businesses?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: I think working on this study provided such a keen reminder that this whole process of marketing… It’s a marathon, and not a sprint. And, one of the best things, and the smartest things we can do is, make sure we’re preparing well… And, to do that, you know, we need data. And, a study such as this provides such rich, audience data that it’s, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Within a given organization there is a wealth of data within website analytics campaign results, and… I think… Coming at the marketing practice as a whole, with a curios eye, and really holding ourselves to a high standard of, of having data to back up the decisions we’re making… That’s the way to make sure we’re constantly evolving and responding to how our audiences’ behaviors are changing. And they will change. we are where we are right now, but it’s going to change in the coming years. So, we want to stay nimble, and data is the way to make sure we do.

Erik Gensler: Awesome. Well, thank you so much.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: You’re welcome. Thanks, Erik.

About Our Guests
Johnna Fellows Gluth
Johnna Fellows Gluth
Senior Consultant, Capacity Interactive

Johnna Fellows Gluth, a Senior Consultant at CI, has spent over 15 years working with organizations across multiple sectors of the arts and cultural administrative field, both in-house and as a digital marketing consultant with CI. Most recently, she has developed and evolved the research efforts at CI through the Performing Arts Ticket Buyer Media Usage Study and the Arts Industry Digital Marketing Benchmark Study.

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