Tony Lance
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Grow arts and culture revenue

Ask Me Anything: Surprise and Delight

Ask Me Anything Question

"It seems like so many efforts to keep subscribers happy ("surprise & delight") are way out of our budget. Any tips for a low-cost, high-delight surprise to help us keep up?"

Tony Lance’s Answer

You don’t have to break the bank to impress your subscribers. Something as simple as a thank you note taped to your subscriber’s chair or a printed insert in the program with the names of loyal subscribers in the house at that performance recognizes loyalty and shows you care.

I’ve been a subscriber of the New York Philharmonic for a few years. Every now and then, they like to honor subscribers with various gifts or notes as thanks for subscribing. They’ve given out magnets, subway card holders, signed thank you notes from symphony members, and even freshly cut roses. This past season, I attended a concert at which they were recognizing long-time subscribers. I was honored to see my name in the program alongside decades of seasoned subscribers. There was no accompanying gift, but the pride I felt in being recognized as a loyal audience member was more valuable to me than any souvenir or grand gesture.

The point of “surprise and delight” isn’t necessarily to wow with extravagance. It simply needs to show that you think and care about your audience, valuing their loyalty and patronage with personal attention. Call out a subscriber on Instagram with a tag, retweet a positive review from a single ticket buyer, or throw in a complimentary drink voucher in a ticket envelope to a lapsed subscriber who has returned. Whatever you do, remember: “it’s the thought that counts.”

Need help figuring out how to segment your subscribers to maximize impact? Check out our Segmentation Engine.


Do you have a question for the team at JCA Arts Marketing? Submit it here. It could be featured in an upcoming Ask Me Anything post.

JCA Arts Marketing collaborates with cultural organizations to increase revenue, boost attendance and membership, and grow patron loyalty. We provide consulting and software services to hundreds of cultural institutions across multiple genres, including dance, museums, opera, performing arts centers, symphony, and theatre. We can help you achieve your marketing goals.

Tony Lance, Consultant, JCA Arts Marketing

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