Using market research to transform a performing arts group

Posted on: August 14, 2017

“ ‘This isn’t some magic soup!’ says David Devan of the data-driven, meticulously engineered transformation of Opera Philadelphia,” writes Matthew Sigman in the August issue of Opera News. “The once sleepy, old-school company has become one of the most progressive forces on the opera scene. Having spent more than $600,000 on market research over the past five years, the company is now poised to launch the most ambitious component of its master plan: ‘O17’ will be the first in a series of annual festivals designed to reinvent the urban opera experience…. Devan, appointed general director of Opera Philadelphia in 2011 … is passionate about the art form’s survival and believes the path to sustainability lies in understanding what makes audiences tick. With the financial support of several blue-chip foundations, Opera Philadelphia has engaged top-tier consumer product marketing firms to measure all manner of audience behavior—retention, churn, demographics, psychographics, probabilities, preferences and … a consumer’s willingness to recommend the product.… What Devan won’t give audiences is shlock. Alongside his cerebral investment in micro-marketing is a passionate macro-investment in the art form.” For more on how arts groups use market research, visit the League’s website for studies by the Wallace Foundation.   

Posted August 14, 2017