Orchestrate Excellence conducted a Youth Market Research Study in June/July, 2014.
Result: an exhaustive report (“Attracting Younger Audiences”) offered to the Minnesota Orchestral Association on September 2, 2014
Genesis: As part of a short-term Task Force organized by Orchestra Board Member Karen Himle, Kenneth Huber suggested that the organization was not reaching 20/30-year-old prospective audiences. He saw a need to investigate that gap by listening to young people talk about their lives, concert-going habits, and preferred communication formats.
Methodology (two phased process):
1- Focus Groups
- Six discussions (June 27, 28, 29, July 11, 12, 18 prior to Sommerfest concerts)
- 68 participants
- Professional facilitators: Nancy Kosciolek and Tracy Peterson
- 1.5 hour discussion
- MOA observers (staff, musicians, Chair of Project Ken Huber) at each session
- Participants received 2 free tickets to evening concert, $9 cash for parking, vouchers for future Minnesota Orchestra concerts, munchies courtesy of Masa Restaurant.
2- Post-concert Internet Survey
- 16 questions (numerical scale and open-ends)
- 47 respondents (68%)
- Professional moderator (Becka Rahn)
- Determine how young people can be effectively reached.
- Gain understanding of younger generations’ entertainment and performing arts habits and practices.
- Entertainment decision making process and drivers
- Effective communication and marketing strategies, vehicles, and messages
- Openness to traditional symphonic music
- Help to equip the MOA to attract, engage, and retain 20/30 year-old patrons.
- Identify at least three marketing experiments targeted at reaching and engaging younger generations.
Changes observed over the past year in MOA marketing strategies as a result of this research:
- Symphony and Suds initiative (include link)—a partnership with local tap rooms which will be ongoing throughout the 2015-16 season.
- New attractive youth ticket pricing structure for the 2015-16 season.
- New style and format for the 2015-16 Season Brochure emphasizing musicians’ celebrity appeal to younger consumers.
- New user-friendly appeal and more attractive ambience in Orchestra Hall lobby and spaces based on observations of participants in the focus groups, including life-size photos of musicians.