Chris Fabiszak
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Grow arts and culture revenue

JCA Arts Marketing AMA: Subscription Discounts

Ask Me Anything Question

Our organization is slowly losing subscribers season after season. Would offering a larger subscription discount help to keep them?

Chris Fabiszak's Answer

Subscription attrition is one of the largest concerns in the industry currently (in fact, you can view our blog post “Subscriptions Aren’t Dead, Patience Is” to see our thoughts on the issue). Nevertheless, let us first start with a larger question: do you know why your subscribers are subscribers? There are a variety of different reasons why a patron chooses to move from a single ticket buyer to a subscriber:

  • belief in the artistic mission,
  • consistently enjoying the programming,
  • ensuring they won’t miss a performance,
  • access to the best seats,
  • a built in social event with loved ones and friends for the year,
  • and in the rarest of occasions, discounted tickets.

If a patron is subscribing for any of the non-discount reasons, odds are they are not concerned with how much they are saving. Most organizations offer some sort of discount for their subscribers, but is that necessary? Make sure you know why your subscribers do what they do and perhaps you can further maximize revenue from your most loyal customers. Knowing the impulse to purchase a subscription also helps you design packages best suited to those preferences. Let them love you as much as they want.

Ultimately, subscribers’ preferred behaviors are to engage with you throughout the year. Think less about discounting to attract them and more about targeting those patrons whose behaviors and motivations align with organizational loyalty.

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

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.

Chris Fabiszak is a Revenue Management Application™ (RMA) product expert and trainer with JCA Arts Marketing, as well as a consultant to such organizations as The Phoenix Symphony, American Shakespeare Center, SFMOMA, and Playwrights Horizons. His career began in nonprofit arts marketing, where he worked in audience services and development for The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, and then Washington National Opera in Washington, DC.