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.
  1. Entertainment decision making process and drivers
  2. Effective communication and marketing strategies, vehicles, and messages
  3. 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.