By Jim McCarthy Oct 27, 2010 0 comments

Price and Convenience Don’t Matter if I Don’t Care

Via Thomas, I came across this article today about the Cleveland Symphony’s plan to attract a younger audience.  Now, obviously, this is an issue for symphonies all over the place.  After all, for some, a significantly younger audience for some would be one that averaged its early 50s.

And since we think about younger audiences a fair amount here at Goldstar, this is a topic I’ve spent some time reflecting on.  And I’m not crazy about the approach these folks are taking, from the little that’s been written.

First, they’re leading with free tickets and discounts based on age.  Take it from a guy who sells a LOT of half-price tickets, price is not the issue when it comes to symphony orchestras.  Sure, they’re probably more expensive than they should be in the marketplace, and, yes, price matters.

But if the National Horseshoe Association was having its championship tonight and tickets were lowered from $20 to $10, would you go?  My guess is that you wouldn’t, and the price wouldn’t make a bit of difference.

What would make a difference is if I somehow gave you a reason that resonated with you about why horseshoe tossing is worth seeing:  there’s a competitor with a crazy life story who’s the Michael Jordan of Horseshoes; the Russian team is really strong and is talking smack about our team and tonight’s the big showdown; as of this year, all horseshoes are on fire when thrown and explode when they hit the ground.

But the Cleveland Symphony’s plan doesn’t do that, as far as I can tell from this one article.  Yes, they offer attractive ticket prices (including free), but this is pretty commonplace.  They’re also arranging transportation to the venue as well as taking the show on the road to other geographies, which are potentially good tactics.

That’s all fine, but it still doesn’t address my main issue, which is if you want more people to come, you’ve got to give them some new reasons.  Price and convenience don’t matter if I don’t care what you’ve got.

(By the way, there must be more to this plan.  I can’t imagine how this as described is going to cost $20 million.  By the way part 2, you don’t need $20 million to attract a new audience.  If you can’t make a really good start of it for a million, you probably can’t do it with 20.)

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