A leading symphony orchestra


Ongoing surveys to keep marketing, artistic, and other departments abreast of audience perceptions and trends.

Patron tracking surveys

Do artistic excellence and marketing success go hand in hand? Of course they do, and this orchestra’s management team understood that keeping a sensitive “ear to the ground” through research could help them make better decisions in both areas.

The orchestra's management team has worked with Slover Linett to survey subscribers, lapsed subscribers, single-ticket buyers, and attendees at special events and new concert formats. The result is a deep, ever-evolving understanding of their audiences and more confident decision-making about pricing, programming, marketing, development, and customer service.

Because quantitative tracking studies like these let us ask many of the same questions of each audience segment over time, we can analyze not only the “now” but also how things are changing, and why. This deeper view gives the leadership team a more nuanced picture of the relationship between the orchestra and its key audiences, informing both long-range planning and day-to-day management.

Of course, we also ask new questions each season, sometimes to “drill down” into issues that are rising in importance and sometimes to investigate new topics related to changes the orchestra is contemplating. In recent years, for example, we’ve focused on perceptions of contemporary music, concert start times, technology and media in the concert hall, marketing messages, and perceptions of a new music director. (Sometimes we add focus groups to the survey program, in order to explore audiences’ perceptions in greater detail.)

Perhaps the most important effect of this tracking research has been in supporting innovation. Because the senior staff has a clear, dynamic picture of its audiences in view at all times, they have been able to experiment confidently with new offerings. The result has been the launch of several new concert formats and series that have played to delighted, capacity houses and made the orchestra a much-watched leader in the classical music world.

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March 14, 2014 | Nicole Baltazar

Multiculturalism is key for creating inclusive arts experiences


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Project peek

This performing arts organization keeps its finger on the pulse of its patrons by tracking key attitudes like engagement and satisfaction on a season-to-season basis. Regular research findings have become part of the organization's management culture, and the insights help empower staff in all departments to to take creative risks and experiment confidently.