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Your Digital Marketing Priorities, According to 17,000 Ticket Buyers
Episode 106

Your Digital Marketing Priorities, According to 17,000 Ticket Buyers

CI to Eye Interview with Johnna Fellows Gluth & MP

This episode is hosted by Priya Iyer.

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In this episode

In this episode, Priya sits down with Johnna Fellows Gluth and MP to dive into the 2021 Performing Arts Ticket Buyer Media Usage Study. They talk about what it means to be a loyal ticket-buyer two years into the pandemic and explore where those audiences spend their time online, how much time they spend on their devices, and what influences them to purchase a ticket. They also reflect on what these findings mean in the context of sweeping privacy changes to the digital landscape and how to adapt your digital strategy to meet the moment.

Priya Iyer: MP, Johnna, it’s so wonderful to be sitting down with you today to talk about our Ticket Buyer Study. Thank you so much for being here.

MP: Thank you.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Thank you, Priya.

Priya Iyer: Yeah. so I will say, having personally witnessed the study in all of its iterations and all of the work that’s gone into it along the way, it is just so exciting to be able to dig into its inner workings today for our listeners. So, to get started tell us what the Ticket Buyer Study is and all that goes into it.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Sure. So Capacity Interactive has conducted two studies in alternating years in partnership with arts organizations across north America. And our goal really has always been to provide new data for the field. And so one of the studies, the Benchmark Study, which you may have seen before, it looks inward at the marketing practices of arts organizations themselves. And it’s an in-the-weeds look of what practitioners are doing right now, from marketing strategy to ticketing platforms and pretty much everything in between. So, now, this study, on the other hand, the Ticket Buyers Study, looks outward and we are looking at performing arts ticket buyers. And we try to get at the answers that we can’t access from our in-house data, such as media consumption habits and device preferences and influences on purchasing. So, this is actually the third iteration of the Ticket Buyer Study. We started it back in 2017 and it has always tried to provide a snapshot of what is going on right now with recent performing arts ticket buyers. So, this year we partnered with 48 organizations and they sent surveys to their ticket buyers. And in total, we received over 17,000 responses. And so, one thing, just to note, is that because the ticket buyers and the organizations themselves are opting into this study, it’s not necessarily representative in a statistical sense, but it really does provide the most definitive picture of the field available to arts marketers.

Priya Iyer: That’s incredible. Now you mentioned that this is the third iteration of the study. So, can you talk a little bit more about how this study has evolved over the years, over the iterations?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Sure. Yeah, we, you know, our biggest goal in the evolution of the study has to create, has been to create a stable methodology where we can really address the timely questions that come up each time we do this study. You know, with two years in between things change. But then also, to be able to compare year-over-year data to keep track of those longer term trends for the field, um in terms of changes in consumer behave year in media consumption. And our hope with this study is to combine those key findings of the in-depth data, but then also to layer in our marketing insights to help everybody take the data and actually apply it to their everyday work.

Priya Iyer: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So shifting our conversation here to the sample itself. So you mentioned that the study provides a snapshot of behavior of recent ticket buyers. So I’m curious, what does it mean to be a recent ticket buyer in this study? Of course, there hadn’t been there hadn’t been in person tickets to purchase for a significant amount of time before the study itself was conducted in August of 2021, since the pandemic had hit in March of 2020. So, what does it mean in this sample, in this study, to be a recent ticket buyer?

MP: Yeah, that was one of the first challenges we had to sort of face when we were figuring out, what does the study look like this year? So as you mentioned, the study, the survey itself was conducted in August, 2021. And so we asked study partners to send the survey to a random sample of single-ticket buyers and subscribers from the two years just prior to the pandemic. So the, they would’ve purchased tickets between March, 2018, and March, 2020. And that’s because those were the last two years when they would’ve been able to purchase tickets for in-person events in those places in the country. And the questions that they answered talked about some of their purchasing year and interactions with the organization from before the pandemic, as well as talking about some other behavior and media consumption right now, or in August at the time of taking the survey. So, this year compared to previous years, they were older than they have been in the past. We also saw that across almost all of the age cohorts, they were more highly bonded with the organization than they were in previous years. And that’s something that comes up every year with the study. There is a loyalty bias because the people who are willing to donate their time to taking this kind of survey are probably people who already support your organization and want to support the work that you do. This year, they were even more highly bonded than in the past—66% of them said they were highly bonded with the organization compared to 61% in 2019. And they were also more likely to be donors, subscribers and frequent attenders to the organization, too. So this is really a sample of your core loyalists and the people who feel most closely bonded to you. It may not be totally representative of some of your more casual ticket buyers, but we can infer a lot from this.

Priya Iyer: So now in terms of the sample, of course, this was an online survey that we were offering. So was there any concern as we were, as we were starting this process that this theme of device or digital burnout that we keep hearing about would be any sort of issue in getting those responses, given that, again, we were online, we were hearing about this burnout theme in the world?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: We did have that question and, you know, both the response to the survey and the data itself bears out that no, we’re not seeing that screen burnout. And in fact, we’re seeing increases in screen time. So first of all, we had an incredibly robust response to the surveys—as I mentioned, over 17,000 responses—and then diving into the actual data, what the ticket buyers themselves reported about their screen time use was that there were increases. And I think what was most notable to us was that there was a 30% increase in respondents using their smartphones at least two hours a day. . And, you know, we do ask this question exclusive of work time. And so this really is pertaining to their, their leisure time. So, you know, that, in and of itself, is a big uptick, but what was really interesting to us was that this was not isolated to just one group. We even saw an uptick of those who we would consider in some of the older cohorts. So say 65 years old or older, we saw a, a significant increase amongst them as well. So, all in all, I think it’s fair to say that yes, over the course of this time, people actually were using their screens more. And it, it wasn’t isolated just to smartphones. We also saw an increase in ticket buyers reporting an increase in desktop use. So, you know, given the amount of time that everyone was spending at home during the pademic you know, that makes a lot of sense. And you know, all of this data, really, if you drill into it, the key takeaway to us is that it’s more important than ever to have that unpromised experience from desktop to mobile because people are spending the time there.

Priya Iyer: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Now, MP, I wanna go back to something you mentioned earlier that greater percentage of loyal patrons being engaged with the survey this time around. Can you speak more to just this idea of patron loyalty and why that’s something that’s, that’s so important?

MP: Definitely. So in the survey, one of the questions we ask is asking ticket buyers to rate their bond with the organization on a scale from one to seven, seven being the greatest and those who respond five or higher on that scale, we term highly bonded with the organization, which we at CI interpret as an indicator of loyalty to the organization. As I mentioned, there’s always a loyalty bias in those who just respond to this kind of survey. But we do weight the data to balance this out a little bit, and it’s just an expectation that that is true. But this year, even the, the folks who responded who weren’t subscribers, weren’t frequent attenders, weren’t donors also reported being more highly bonded to the organization than those casual ticket buyers in previous years have which just shows these are the people who have stuck with you, regardless of how they’ve engaged with you in the past. They are the people who support you and want to engage with your organization.

Priya Iyer: Yeah.

MP: And so it’s really important to understand and identify who your loyal ticket buyers are, what makes them tick, where you can reach them. Cause they’re, they’re really an extension of your marketing department, as we say a lot here at CI,

Priya Iyer: Right.

MP: And you know, it might be different than what you think. So, for example, like a lot of organizations, I know segment by subscribers and single-ticket buyers as two categories of subscribers, probably being the more loyal of those two groups. But interestingly, we find that frequency of attendance is a better indicator of loyalty than whether someone buys those frequent tickets as a subscription package or as single tickets. So 86% of frequent attenders who had attended four or more performances a year at the organization before the pandemic 86% were highly loyal to the organization compared to 80% of subscribers. So it’s a better indicator of loyalty. It’s also something that is more consistent across age cohorts because younger folks, even if they like attending your organization frequently, just might not be drawn to the subscription model. That’s a conversation for another day, but we definitely just recommend taking a look in your CRM at who is attending your organization frequently. Who’s engaging with you in ways that you maybe haven’t really thought about tracking, but you could be overlooking potential donors or folks who could be even more deeply involved with your organization if you reach out to them.

Priya Iyer: Yeah, that’s a great distilled definition of frequent, frequent attender. I like that. I like that idea of really thinking of it that way, as opposed to putting a subscriber or the type of ticket on top of it. That’s, it’s really clean. I like that. So, in terms of behavior curious to hear more on just the ways that those we’re considering to be these loyal patrons behave differently than others who engage with our organization. So, when we’re looking at loyal patron behavior, in what ways would you say that that behavior is different?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: So first to give broader context, one of the questions we asked was what are your plans to attend arts events after the pandemic? And in general, in the general sample, what we saw is that people are, without a doubt, eager to return in person. Ninety-Six percent of respondents in total reported, they planned to do so. And that 96% is the sum of two subgroups. And so, 70% that want to attend only in person and 26% who want to attend in person and virtually. So, that’s sort of just to set the broader stage. So, to answer your specific question about some patterns we see with these loyal ticket buyers, they are the ones who are most likely to indicate that they want multiple ways of interacting with your artistic content. Specifically, they want to come back to attend performances in person, but also to attend virtual performances. And so, we saw 30% of those with a strong bond indicated they wanted to approach your programming in this hybrid manner versus 19% of those that are not strongly bonded. So, that’s a huge opportunity, you know? Think about way, ways to connect them with your mission in artistic programming. They’re hungry for it. Without a doubt full-scale, virtual performances require a very committed investment in the infrastructure and that just may not be the right fit for your organization, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the spirit of that finding and find other ways to deliver some really great authentic digital content.

Priya Iyer: That’s great. That 96% number is one of the most heartening things about this study for me, this 96% wanting to return in person. That’s great. Just gives me a lot of hope and excitement for, for what’s next.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Likewise.

Priya Iyer: Um, so I love this idea that you, you mentioned a really of going back to the core and allowing the mission of the organization to be the driving force. And I think one thing that can often feel conflicting is this, is just reconciling this idea of caring for your loyalists, really caring for those evangelists of your organization, while also making space for developing connections with broader audiences. So I’d love if we could just take a moment now to speak more to how, how we can reconcile that, reconcile this idea of caring for our loyalists and also making space for developing connections with broader audiences.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Yeah, that’s a really important consideration. And, you know, as arts administrators, I think our viewpoint is that reaching broader, more diverse audiences, it really can’t simply be labeled a marketing issue. This, it really comes down to honing into institutional priorities to foster real, authentic change. So, as we move ahead as a field, it’s important to reflect on values and goals as an organization to intentionally engage and build your audience moving forward from those new and casual ticket buyers, all the way to the ones that are most loyal. And, you know, a way we frame it here at CI is to focus on what’s called your minimum viable audience. So, rather than fearing attrition focus on delighting those audiences that will actually allow you to double down on your purpose, goals, and all those changes you do wanna make such as prioritizing inclusion or, you know, whatever is authentic to you and your mission. As Seth Godin puts it, it’s about stopping the compromising and start excelling as an organization.

Priya Iyer: Hmm. I love that framing and I, you know, it’s so important in these conversations to consider the bigger picture when we talk about broadening our audiences, I think it’s easy to hone in on one piece or another piece and not stopping to zoom out. And so I really love that framing. I think it, it really forces us to zoom out. So thank you.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Sure.

Priya Iyer: So I want to pivot our conversation a little bit here and talk more about this idea of media consumption. So, let’s start with the basics in our study. So, did we see any changes in how ticket buyers are consuming traditional media in this year’s study?

MP: Yeah. And let’s just define traditional media too. So we’re talking about you know, advertising channels beyond digital, so print, television, outdoor direct mail. Those are all traditional and it’s probably no surprise to anyone that prints is in decline. That knows for all ages even older ticket buyers. And it’s also really important to note that almost all of those folks who are still reading any kind of print news, they’re also consuming their news online. So we’ve been saying this for years, but it’s really time to cut those expensive print ads cause you can reach those same users more cheaply, more efficiently, more targetedly (laughs) on digital channels. So print is, is still going the way we expected. But also just because of the nature of the last couple of years, we do see that regardless of how people are getting their news, they’re getting it more frequently. We are in the age of doomscrolling (laughs). It’s not a surprise. But, but we’re spending more time- News happens so fast and there are too many giant new stories to follow. So, we’re definitely seeing more frequent consumption of news. And then in terms of TV we’re seeing declines in viewership of traditional broadcast or cable TV. So, streaming services are going up, including the adoption of streaming by older age cohorts who previously weren’t using those quite as much as younger folks and the vast majority of respondents either always skip commercials when they can or don’t watch programming that includes commercials. So TV, regardless of the medium of consumption, is also probably not your best bet for reaching folks through advertising.

Priya Iyer: Yeah. Lots of, lots of really good nuggets there. So how, how would we then zoom out and sort of connect that to our bigger picture marketing strategy? How can we take that and sort of apply it?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: You know, I think, as MP was alluding to, at any given time, there are so many factors that influence how people are gonna be engaging with media and there’s so much you can’t control for. So, with all the shifts we see and that, inevitably, we will always see, I think a key takeaway is to hone into what is gonna be consistent, and I think what we’re seeing is the availability of eyes online makes digital advertising rather than print extremely cost-effective and reliable, right? Both for the targeting and also the reporting on the outcomes and you know, with streaming content on the rise and so many viewers skipping commercials, I, I think that rather than investing in very costly TV ads, again, looking at those digital advertising routes is the best bet. So really, I mean, to boil it down, our guidance is that, focus on those paid media strategies that have consistent results, even in the midst of all these changes.

Priya Iyer: Always back to that. I love it. So in terms of, of media consumption, I’m curious, are there any patterns worth mentioning around younger ticket buyers based on the study?

MP: Yeah, it’s a great question. And for the purposes of this study, let’s define young people as 45 and under, because 45 is young. So, we already talked about print news declining. We’re seeing that especially among younger folks. Fifty-Eight percent of people 45 and under don’t read any print news at all. They also don’t consume online news quite as frequently as older of folks. I did mention the frequency went up for everyone, but it’s still less for younger folks than for older folks. And they’re more likely to use different multiple online news channels to get their news. So they might be looking at national or international news websites, news articles and their social media feeds, news aggregation sites, news organizations’ apps. There’s so many different ways to consume news online these days and those under 45 are more likely to be bouncing around all of those different sources. In terms of TV, younger ticket buyer are, as I mentioned, using streaming the most. 76% watch streaming services that don’t have commercials, like Netflix, 93% watch streaming services that do have commercials sometimes or always. Only about half of them ever watch broadcast or cable TV, and across all of these platforms, they’re skipping commercials most of the time even to a greater extent than those older cohorts. And so all of this leads us to like they’re are in lots of different places and lots from devices. So social media content, organic content, advertising, and programmatic advertising that reaches them across all of these platforms and devices is really the key because you don’t know where someone will be, but you do know there’s a lot of information you can get using their behavior. And so that also depends on creating great, segmented content for each of the channels that you’re hoping to reach folks on.

Priya Iyer: Yeah. So let’s dig in a little bit more to social media hot topic of the news—speaking of the news—lately has been Facebook losing some of its users which I know has been, you know, a little stressful for us over here in digital marketing. So curious what does the study have to say just about the relevance of Facebook and Instagram in general? Let’s start there.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Sure. Yeah, they are still relevant. And I mean, as you just alluded to, a lot has unfolded over the last few years, and I think people know that, as you mentioned, just from watching the news and also frankly from their personal experiences about just concerns and even some distrust around those platforms. But, you know, our data tells us that YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, in that order, continue to lead social media use among ticket buyers. And, you know, there is a “but” here. We do see some shifts in use for Facebook and Instagram. Both overall usership declined very slightly. And, but there was also a decrease in frequency of use. And that was particularly notable among younger cohorts, but it’s not a moment to abandon ship. Sixty-Six percent of respondents indicate they use Facebook and 43% use Instagram. So, but I think what we do see, and we should be paying attention to as a field and as marketers, is that there is this trend going back to our ability to track the year-over-year data, you know, we started to see it in 2019 and that’s that younger ticket buyers are slowly moving away from Facebook and that’s continuing, and we’re actually starting to see a very similar trend with Instagram. It’s not as pronounced. And we do see some growth in older cohorts on Instagram, but it’s suggestive that maybe Instagram is going the way of Facebook, in terms of that adoption by older cohorts and abandonment by younger cohorts. But, you know, the key takeaway, even with all of that is Facebook and Instagram are still two of the most reliable platforms to reach across your audience base, so, you know, just to put that in numbers, looking at those who use those platforms, at least weekly, 62% use one or both, and that’s a, that’s a really big chunk of your audience. So, I think the onus is on us, as arts marketers, to segment and curate content that’s gonna match the needs and the evolving preferences we’re seeing and, and making your content incredibly relevant to the people, the eyes on those platforms.

Priya Iyer: Yeah. It’s, it’s so helpful to have clarity around this. I think there’s so much noise around social platforms right now, and it’s so, so helpful to have the clarity and the data that the study offers in that. Speaking of noise, can we talk a little bit about TikTok (laughs)?

MP: (Laughs) Yes! Um so overall only 11% of the people who responded to this study used TikTok. Now, we mentioned the study skews old, we know TikTok is a young platform.

Priya Iyer: Sure.

MP: Um and you’re probably not gonna be surprised to hear that most of those who do use TikTok who responded are 18 to 24. And there’s a steep drop-off from that to the next age cohort of 25 to 34. And we found that our numbers did sort of closely match the national usership numbers. We were able to find for TikTok. Although it is a fast-growing platform, of course. Yeah. But the, the biggest thing to note out of, out of this, even if we look at those 18-to-24-year-olds, 85% of them are also on Facebook or Instagram, or only on Facebook or Instagram. So regardless of if they’re also on TikTok, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram. And however you feel about those platforms, as Johnna just said, that’s where you can most reliably reach people right now. So, the other thing is, we know creating content for TikTok, it’s a whole different ballgame. It’s something that you need to be able to do well in the format of you know, the TikTok voice.

Priya Iyer: Yeah.

MP: And it’s a different tone than your organization might use across other social media platforms. It’s different content creation skills. And so, if you’re an organization that primarily serves people under 35, which I think most people listening probably aren’t, but still it could be, or if you’re really trying to reach some people under 35, it could be a really important platform to explore.

Priya Iyer: Yeah.

MP: But, it’s, as with any social media platform, you should only do it if you really have the resources to develop your organization’s identity and reach there and if it’s actually gonna serve your strategy to reach people there. And so, for most organizations right now, we’re thinking that it’s probably not the best investment of your time and resources. Instagram just got rid of, IGTV; go for Reels, if you wanna try a new content format that could later translate to TikTok, but we’re really not recommending spending much dedicated time there if you’re already under-resourced or, or spread too thin.

Priya Iyer: Yeah. Yeah. And the content creation of it all, I think, is just such, such an important part of this, and often one that can be forgotten when you wanna try a new platform. And especially with TikTok you spoke to this, MP, it’s completely different voice, tone, type of content, and to be able to take something that you’re using on one platform and translate it to TikTok, I think, is much more difficult than perhaps what it’s looked like for, for social media platforms in the past. So let’s talk a little bit more about creating content. You know, creating content takes strong investment and it, isn’t always easy to make the case for that inside of organizations. So does the data of our study shed light on just the importance of content or how we should be thinking about content for all of these different social platforms that we’ve been talking about?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: One of our favorite findings this year was actually that content from your organization is the most influential source impacting ticket buyers’ decision to purchase. And that was just eye-opening to us because in 2019, word of mouth was number one, and that is still as important as ever, but it’s been slightly surpassed by this growing reliance on your organization’s content. And that was particularly true among your most loyal patrons, which is perhaps not surprising. So, actually, just a pause to say, organizations are doing a great job with their content especially over the last two years and it shows, so that is to be commended. You know, and one of the core ideas the data drives home is that content shouldn’t be the same across all your channels. I mean, you were just alluding to this. Every platform has a particular tone, voice, audience. Um and so, even in the context of the overall shifts that we’ve been seeing on social media, that we discussed, the majority of those who use Facebook and Instagram are still doing it on a daily or more-frequent basis. And so in contrast to that, on YouTube, for example, it tends to be less frequent. Users are there weekly or less often. So, you know, taking that and trying to draw a very applicable finding is that from a content perspective, you need to be sure that on Facebook and Instagram, your content is very timely and relevant for those daily users. And of course, you know, that ties into what Capacity always talks about, finding your social sweet spot, where your needs and the user interests intersect, and that that’s really how you stay relevant and welcome in their feeds and makes your content that you’re investing so much in go a really long way. Um and what’s really interesting is that the data bears up it’s very same, very much the same for video. We go into this into the report a lot, but there are a lot of different patterns of how people are watching video based the different channel or platform. And based on that, you can really hone in on, okay, should I be producing evergreen branded content for this platform? Or do I need something a little more timely? So, I think that’s a really an important finding and takeaway is that content should not be the same.

Priya Iyer: Can you just say the sentence you said at the beginning of this section, once more, I think it’s worth repeating for our listeners just about content being, how influential it is based on the study.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Absolutely, absolutely. Yes. So as I said, this was really one of our, our, our favorite findings and that’s that the content from your organization is the most influential source impacting ticket buyers when they are making that decision of whether or not to purchase a ticket.

Priya Iyer: Amazing. Thank you. I think it’s just worth repeating that and repeating that and repeating that. It is worth investing in your content. Okay. Amazing. Thank you for humoring me.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Agreed. Yeah, absolutely.

Priya Iyer: Okay. Let’s close the chapter on content.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Yeah.

Priya Iyer: Um and talk about hot topics, hot topics, hot topics. So let’s talk about privacy you know, we’ve come this far in our conversation. We all know that privacy is so top-of-mind, data privacy is so top-of-mind for us right now when we think through our digital strategy. And so I’d love to talk a little bit about that. So, what key takeaways does the study offer in light of these sweeping privacy changes that we’re seeing in the digital landscape today? What can we really take from the study related to that?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Yeah, the, well, the study, I think one of, one of the things that’s most valuable is it’s letting us know where are eyes and what is impactful in terms of where ticket buyers are learning about events and what’s influencing things, where they’re spending time in terms of media. And so, with all of the privacy changes that have rolled out and will, without a doubt, continue to evolve, the importance of first-party data is clear and the data and the study bears this out. First-party data, as opposed to third party data is the information that audiences are giving directly to you. So that would include email addresses, or when they go on your website, their activity that you can track. And what’s important about that is that you own it, so you don’t have to fear losing it. Um and so as targeting capabilities, shift access to this first party data really ensures that you can continue to reach them in the way you want while respecting the boundaries of their privacy, which is incredibly important. So with that in mind, and with, especially with email addresses being so important, a core component to being able to capitalize on this first party data is having a top-notch CRM so that you can access your audience data. And while it, that sounds like a pretty basic capability, it’s an area that many organizations really struggle with. And if can go on a, a slight tangent here from, you know, an example from just the actual administration of this study. So, we included a sub-survey this year, and what we did is we tried to collect data on new-to-file, digital-only audiences. And so while the organizations we partnered with, they worked incredibly diligently to pull lists and send the survey to those audiences, the disqualification rate was shockingly high at 69%. And so, by that, I mean, they were disqualified because they were not, in fact, new-to-file or digital-only audiences. And it ended up being a bit of an object lesson in the critical need to really invest in that foundational practice of CRM management, because the databases just weren’t clean enough to pull that data.

Priya Iyer: Yeah. That’s incredibly surprising and shocking. I remember the first time I heard that, it’s just, that’s, that’s just very… It’s a high number, definitely unexpected.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Yeah.

Priya Iyer: Um so speaking of email I’d love to just shift our conversation in that direction a little bit, and just given this emphasis on first-party data and its importance in this, in this current state of privacy and the digital landscape, um what does our data say in the study about email specifically?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Yes. I kind of feel like we’re saving the best for last here with email. You know, it is probably the most important channel of all. That is what the data says. Yet again, across all our media channels that we survey in the study, email remains the most effective route to your audience. 93% of ticket buyers say they receive emails with information about upcoming performing arts events. And on top of that, it’s the number one reported source of info by a landslide. So it’s not even close. And so the other thing is it’s remarkably consistent across age cohorts. So, if you’re looking for an effective route to all of your audience, email is where it’s at. But of course, you know, you gotta do it well, it’s gotta be segmented, personalized and relevant.

Priya Iyer: You said that well, saving the best for last. Email, email, email. I think it’s such an, it’s such an easy channel to forget, and yet, such an effective channel, when we think about what’s actually influencing our ticket buyers. So I, I love that. I love that we saved that for last so it’s time to bring our conversation to a close. So I’d love to finish out with our “CI to eye moment.” So if you could share with the executive directors, leadership teams, staff, and board, thousands of arts organizations, what advice would you provide to them based on the data in this study?

Johnna Fellows Gluth: So understanding that all the evolution we’re seeing in the changes around data privacy, how important that really is, and, and combining that with all the, the findings from this study, we’ve really honed in on three areas that we would recommend you focus on for 2022.

MP: Yeah. I’ll jump into the first. So use all of these changes happening to the data privacy landscape as an opportunity to prioritize first-party data and analytics. You’re gonna hear so much from CI this year about a first-party data strategy, get hype, develop robust lead collection, cultivate your leads, take care of those leads, do great CRM management, and use your data literacy and analysis to ground all of your marketing efforts. It’s really important to, to hone in on that first-party data, because that’s all that’s really in our control right now.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Absolutely. And second, you know, harness the power of those loyal ticket buyers we spoke so much about. Our data shows they’re tuned in, and they can really amplify everything you’re doing. You likely already have the greatest amount of first-party data for them. So if you invest in stellar content to fuel word of mouth and continually engage with them, they are going to amplify all of your efforts.

MP: Yeah. And then our final recommendation is to invest in the strategies that hold steady, even when human behavior and privacy regulations are shifting. Use a constellation of touch points together so that all of your eggs aren’t in one basket. If, for example, there’s another Facebook boycott. So that means prioritizing email, SEO, and SEM, an iterative, ever-improving website user experience, and of course, social media with content that speaks to your audiences and is tailored to those platforms. But really make sure that you are, are reaching people in the ways that you can connect with them directly on platforms that stand the test of time, like email and search. And that’s where you’ll be able to find folks and, and connect with them regardless of what’s to come, because I’m sure by the time we release this episode, there’ll be some great new shifts that we can’t predict.

Priya Iyer: Oh, MP, Johnna, thank you so much for this incredibly fruitful conversation, comprehensive of our entire study. Thank you so much for both of your work on this study. It’s absolutely incredible. And thank you so, so much for being here to chat with us about it.

Johnna Fellows Gluth: Thanks, Priya. It’s been a pleasure.

MP: Thank you, Priya.

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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Industry Enrichment Content Producer

MP has been with CI since 2018. As Industry Enrichment Content Producer, they produce the CI to Eye podcast and CI to Eye Live! He also works on the Arts Industry Digital Marketing Benchmark Study, Performing Arts Ticket Buyer Media Usage Study, and is part of the team that produces Digital Marketing Boot Camp for the Arts. They received their BA in Music and Italian from Vassar College in 2016 and their MA in Arts Administration from Baruch College in 2020.

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