Timmy Metzner
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Grow arts and culture revenue

Ask Me Anything: Marketing to Millennials

Ask Me Anything Question

What are ways to increase Millennial ticket buyers across genres for performing arts organizations?

Timmy Metzner's Answer

Let’s start by taking a step back from this question and rephrase it as “How do I get a specific desired demographic to attend more frequently?” That target could be a variety of ages, races, income, or ethnicities. And while each of those groups may have different values, they’re all going to be informed by three things:

  1. Is it the right product?
  2. Is it the right time?
  3. Is it the right price?

Therefore, the marketing and communications strategy surrounding your work needs to highlight exactly why those things should matter for any potential audience. If you can nail effective messages for a variety of people, then you have the power to influence any demographic you’d like. When taking Millennials into account here are some further things to consider:

  1. Is it the right product? What is the most important thing you want them to know, and what are they going to get out of attending? Millennials are largely driven by social experiences. If you can position the work you do as a unique opportunity to see something new and different, or engage on an interesting level with artists or peers, or even that the work you’re doing is culturally relevant to them, you’ll have a better chance of securing those patrons.
  2. Is it the right time? Is the messaging coming too early, and they’ll ignore it? Is the messaging coming too late, and subscribers or other STBs will have gobbled up the inventory already? Millennials (just like every other group of people) run the gamut from planners to spontaneous. You may need to do some analysis to better understand the buying behaviors of your specific audience.
  3. Is it the right price? Do you need to discount? If so, how much? You might not need to wildly discount to get younger people to attend, but you may need to draw a stronger connection to the value. Specially priced tickets or tailored access points can help, but ensure Millennials know they exist. Don’t keep student/youth prices a secret; make those programs clear in all of your messaging and on your homepage.

Ultimately, avoid making assumptions and acting out of preconceived notions. Put in the time to do research about your current and desired audiences, and you’ll be able to get them to attend with better frequency across a variety of genres.

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.