Thursday, October 26, 2006

Broadway Demographics

The League of American Theatres and Producers released its annual demographics report today. Check it out here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What the &*#$ is Web 2.0?

If you are like me, you have been hearing a lot about web 2.o lately, and how it is going to revolutionize software and the internet. So this begs the question...what exactly is it. Even if you ask the techno geeks, I haven't really found a good explanation until now. Check out this article, and it will start to make sense.

What is Web 2.0? Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pay attention to attendance...

Attendance is just as important to track as sales. After you sell someone a subscription, you don't want to become complacent. So you have hit your subscription goal this season. Congrats! But now comes the hard part. You need to track which of your subscribers purchased subscriptions but are not attending. These are the folks who will not renew for the following season.

Many people have asked me how Virginia Stage Company maintains such a high renewal rate (last year was 89%). I am certain that one of the reasons we have a high renewal rate is the constant interaction we have with our customers. After each production, I run an attendance report showing which subscribers did not attend. If I see a continuing pattern starting to develop, I contact them either through an email, or telephone, to just talk about their experience with VSC. I don't come on too hard, and usually they tell me right off the bat why they haven't been attending. If it is something that I can correct, or address (and about 90% of the time it is), then I will go out of my way to get them to the theater. I am sure that once they start attending regularly, they will love the experience.

Maintain that personal contact with subscribers who for some reason are not attending. They will appreciate that you are reaching out to them, and addressing their "problems" in a timely and attentive fashion.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Want more subscribers...

Minimize Attrition + Maximize Exposure = More Subscribers.

I will talk later about minimizing attrition, so today I will talk about maximizing your exposure in front of prime target audiences. If you are in a community with a lot of transient populations (i.e. a large military population), then you will want to focus on new movers. Every time a subscriber moves out of the area, you will lose a subscription (naturally). But every time a person moves into your community, there is an opportunity to gain another subscriber. Are you reaching that new target audience? what are you offering them?

To compensate for the loss of subscription income due to relocations, Virginia Stage Company aggressively targets new movers. We send an information packet about Virginia Stage Company, including a coupon for two free tickets, a season brochure, press clippings and a DVD to each new mover in the area that fits our demographic profile. When looking for new subscribers, I look at individuals who have a certain amount of disposable income primarily. However, I also like to target married couples without children, women (primary purchasers) and individuals who have purchased from direct mail in the past twelve years. I learned at a recent conference that the best determining factor on whether or not someone will purchase theater tickets from a direct mail piece is not income, education or marital status (as once thought), but in fact it is their purchase history from direct mail items such as catalogs. If a person has purchased from a catalog in the past twelve months, they are much more likely to respond to your direct mail campaign. Just food for thought.

Create a welcome to the neighborhood packet and send them to every new neighbor that meets your criteria. This way you can mitigate the damages suffered from losing subscribers to relocation.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

On a personal note...

I wanted to share that I have accepted a new position as the Director of Print and Multimedia Communications at the Americans for the Arts in Washington, D.C. My last day as the Director of Communications at Virginia Stage Company will be Friday, October 27. I am also very lucky to be going out with a bang! Virginia Stage Company's current production of CROWNS has become the Company's fourth best selling show in its 28 year history. Leaving Virginia Stage Company is bitter sweet. It is a great organization, and I have had an amazing time there. However, I am ready for the next challenge...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Have Video. Will Share.

So you have bought that new video camera, and you have figured out how to download your digital video clips onto the desktop of your computer. Now you are wondering how you can post your video on your website and share it with the world. You Tube to the rescue. When I was looking at posting video on VSC's blog for the first time several months ago, I knew that I needed someone to host the video. I had to get the video online quickly, and I didn't have time to bother our web designer. So necessity is the mother of invention. I found You Tube online, and it is quick and painless. All you have to do is visit Set up a free acount, and then you are able to upload your video (to a maximum of 100 mb). You Tube then processes your video, posts it to their website, and gives you the html code to post it to your website. You can even email the link out in your e-newsletters. It is easy. It cost no money. It shares your video with millions of people. It is truly a no brainer.