New research reveals key data for developing museum and performing arts audiences
Produced by Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance with support from TRG Arts
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This content is cross-posted from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance website.
The 2014 Patron Loyalty Study: Loyalty By the Numbers examines the financial transactions (including ticket sales, memberships and donations) of almost a million Greater Philadelphia households, using seven years of data from 17 major cultural attractions in the region. One of the key findings of the report is that, despite the sector’s focus on developing new audiences, the erosion of current audience loyalty represents one of the most significant financial risks for cultural groups.
The study found that less than 3% of patrons generated over 62% of total patron revenue. However, spending by this small but powerful group of patrons declined 12% throughout the study, driven by a decline in primarily donor activity/revenue.
“While expanding audiences remains critical for the long term,” said Cultural Alliance Vice President John McInerney, “Retention and engagement of current audiences may be the most important strategy for an organization’s bottom line.”
At the same time revenue from the most loyal patrons declined, new audiences remained difficult to retain. Half of all patrons in the study were new every year, but rarely returned after just one visit—70% of new patrons never returned to any of the 17 groups in the year following their first visit.
However, encouragingly, the study also suggested that collaboration and the sharing of resources could be an effective strategy to engage top-level patrons. Over 90% of top-tier Advocates were active at between 2 and 7 organizations in the study, with most making multiple transactions. Sharing information about engaged patrons across the community could help groups target the patrons in their own database that were most likely to become more engaged.
The 17 museums and performing arts groups who participated in the 2014 Patron Loyalty Study are:
Arden Theatre Company
People’s Light and Theatre
The Wilma Theater
Brandywine River Museum
Independence Seaport Museum
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Please Touch Museum
The 2014 Patron Loyalty Study was produced by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance with support from TRG Arts, and was made possible by the William Penn Foundation.
About the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
Established in 1972, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is the region’s leading arts and cultural advocacy, research and marketing organization. Our mission is to “lead, strengthen and give voice to a diverse cultural sector that is making Philadelphia a world-class region to live, work, and play.” Our membership includes over 400 organizations ranging from museums and dance companies to community art centers, historic sites, music ensembles and zoos. Our members, as well as the cultural community as a whole, count on the Alliance for signature research reports on the health and growth of the sector; grantmaking in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the arts; robust professional development and membership services; marketing and audience development through our signature consumer marketing programs, Phillyfunguide.com and Funsavers; and leadership in policy and community engagement through our GroundSwell advocacy initiative and STAMP teen program. For more information on the Cultural Alliance, please visit www.philaculture.org