It's ironic that during a week when someone else mentions a postI did about audience development that I would come across an interesting challenge in that area.
Alright, so here's the story.
One of the cool parts about my day job is that I have access to plenty of data that I can use to both make marketing decisions and figure why some decisions I made worked or didn't work.
So as we enter the final week of a show, I decide to check to see how many first time ticket buyers we had for the show.
Turns out that for this particular show almost 60% of the ticket buyers were first time ticket buyers, meaning they had never seen a show there before.
When you work at an arts institution that has been around for over 50 years, having any sort of success at building new audience is cause for celebration . . . when over half your audience is new . . .that's pretty damn cool.
So that's the good news, our goal for this show was to build a relationship with a new audience and we did.
But there's a flip side to that. The theatre's regular patrons didn't support the show as much as we expected.
So to put it simply, we got new folks but couldn't convince regular patrons to take a chance on the show.
This helps to demonstrate the tricky balance many arts organizations have between building new relationships and strengthening existing ones.
It's like a rock band. They start up by building a core following, then they get popular and the core leaves because they aren't the "band they remember".
It doesn't allows happen that way. But sometimes it does.
So what am I going to do about balancing new and existing audiences? Don't know yet. I need to see if this is an actual problem, or just an one time event but it something I'll be watching closely (and something you should think about in your own organizations)