By Tammy Moore, Marketing Manager, Spivey Hall at Clayton State University
Spivey Hall, located on the campus of Clayton State University, is a 400-seat, acoustically-superior performing arts venue that has presented the best in jazz and classical music to the metro Atlanta area since 1991. Its celebrated concert series receives regular national and international attention as one of America’s finest, and the Hall’s acoustics and design are routinely lauded by patrons, pundits and performers. Thanks to frequent appearances on American Public Media’s “Performance Today,” as heard on public radio stations across the country, the hall has earned a national reputation while also reaching an international audience through exposure in such publications as BBC Music magazine and International Arts Manager. The Hall also routinely receives superb accolades from the noted artists it annually presents.
So … we are internationally known and recognized, but what about in our own backyard?
Subscribers are the core of the audience for Spivey Hall. At least 65% of our revenue comes from our subscribers before our season even begins. We have a strong subscription base, but to realize the full potential of the venue, we would need to double the number of current subscriber accounts.
Spivey Hall had long been eager to know more about our existing patrons so we could more effectively target new patrons that “looked, acted, and smelled” like our current patrons, subscribers, and donors. The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation provided that opportunity in October 2016 with an Audience Building Grant.
Objectives Emerge from Initial Analysis of our Core Audience
In the fall of 2016, Spivey Hall contracted Cox Media to analyze our current patron database to identify the Prizm lifestyle segments of our core audience. The Prizm segments combine demographics, consumer behaviors, and geographic data to discover key insights about Spivey Hall customers. Cox Media and Spivey Hall identified three core objectives for implementation from the data analysis:
- Leverage current customer data to learn the best geographic areas to focus on in the targeting of new customers
- Use detailed demographics/psychographics in order to effectively message different products and creative executions
- Determine what media is most likely to reach different types of customers
Who is our audience?
Cox Media uses the Prizm Lifestyle Segmentation System to help marketers identify, understand, and target their customers and prospects. PRIZM defines every U.S. household in terms of 68 demographic and behavior types or segments to help marketers discern those consumers’ likes, dislikes, lifestyles, and purchasing behaviors – providing a common language for marketing in an increasingly diverse and complex marketplace.
This analysis created a template of a typical Spivey Hall patron – Affluent, Mature, Homeowners, and Highly Educated. Here are a few key insights about our patrons:
- Less likely to have children in the household: 20% have children in the household
- Highly educated: 56% have a college degree, and another 18% have a graduate degree or higher
- Mostly older: 2% are under the age of 35, 25% are age 35-50, and 42% are aged 50+
- Affluent: 21% have household incomes of $100k+, and an additional 25% have household incomes of $75k+
- Overwhelmingly homeowners: 90% own their home
- Relatively tech savvy: 43% have above-average technology usage
- Mostly management and professionals: 51% are in one of these categories
What is our market potential?
Through the analysis of our patrons, we now have a much better understanding of our audience: who they are, where they live, how they purchase, and where they consume their media. This information is then plugged into the current metro-Atlanta market data to cross reference the Actual versus Potential prospects for Spivey Hall.
This cross-referencing produced several Audience Growth recommendations, including that we implement an integrated marketing campaign targeted to high-potential metro-Atlanta zip codes where performing arts tickets buyers live.
The Marketing Campaign
The Integrated Marketing Campaign utilized a three-pronged approach based on the consumer behaviors of our target audience:
- Direct Mail Marketing
- Social Media Ads and Website Ads
- Local Print Ads
The primary approach of the campaign was direct mail - based on the Prizm recommendations for our target consumer. Our target list from Cox Media yielded approximately 15,000 potential patrons that would receive a full-color, photo-heavy, printed 12x14 postcard - large and hard to miss - in their mailboxes. The postcard was meant to introduce Spivey Hall and highlight what we do, what makes us different, and invite them to “Experience the Spivey Difference.”
We also created and bought ad space on social media platforms and on arts websites focused on the metro Atlanta region.
The final element of the campaign was a presence for Spivey Hall in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s arts section and the Fall Arts Preview Issue.
Direct Mail Still Works
At the end of our season, new revenue from our efforts was almost equal to the amount that we spent (less than a $600 difference). We increased our patron base by 79 new households out of the 15k that were targeted, giving us a response rate of .5%. (This was with only one impression mailing – imagine what we could do with multiple impressions!)
The research and implementation proved this method works, but it would take several rounds of direct mail and online re-targeting to create the subscription base that would be necessary to reach the fully optimized revenue potential for Spivey Hall. Direct mail and website retargeting is expensive, and even one season-long campaign costs more than the entirety of the current Spivey Hall annual marketing budget. We hope to overcome some of the financial challenge of new patron acquisition by joining the TRG Atlanta Community Group and sharing patron data and ideas with other arts presenters in Atlanta – as well as continue to collaborate with other members of the Audience Building Roundtable, an initiative of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
The Future …
The insights and marketing direction we have gained from this research and grant opportunity are far-reaching for our organization. We have reorganized our marketing budget to include small-scale re-targeting campaigns – based on analytics - on an annual basis.
We have also several new visitor experience protocols for new patrons that will help them feel welcome before, during, and after their visit to our venue.
We highly recommend this type of patron database analysis to every arts and culture organization.
Knowledge is power when it comes to your audience - and future audiences.