New York Philharmonic Marketing Director, David Snead is in the midst of hiring his second web person and a ‘web strategizer’ – someone to help them design and implement web projects. They’d like to duplicate the success in building loyalty and audiences of some of today’s commercial artists. Granted, that generally we are speaking of younger demographics than for orchestras, but still in terms of technology life-cycles; use of social networking tools is quickly moving beyond the scope of ‘early adopters’, to the more conservative ‘early majority’ folks. The opening of FaceBook to the general population, and its recent adoption by highly correlated likely patrons, with the right demographic profiles, is a good example of this.
Snead sees their web initiatives as a key element of a broader marketing strategy to “turn people on to the music.” Current web endeavors include ring tones, web streaming of concerts, downloads on I Tunes, and online video interviews with guest artists also available as podcasts. An indepth look at featured artists is available with the Insights Series (Exec Producer of the Mahler site was me.) Visitors to the site can use RSS feeds to subscribe to them, allowing them to get up-to-date information without having to visit the site.
In addition to the ‘formal’ voice of the institution, there is a strong presence of ‘individual voices’ represented on the social networking sites. For example, many younger players in the orchestra like Principal Oboist Liang Wang, or violinist Yulia Ziskel, have their own MySpace sites.
The Philharmonic also employs a robust outbound e-marketing effort to communicate with its audience: they email advance program notes, customer service notices, and occasional ticket discount offers. 45% of their single tickets are now sold online. Overall, $7.3 million of tickets (amounting to 35% of all ticket revenue) are purchased online.