Marketing in a Recession

Without a doubt, we have our work cut out for us.

To me, it’s all about making decisions about what’s most important. From deciding whether to invest in that extra radio station to clarifying an organization’s strategic goals, let’s look at the big picture during this time. And, there are some critical things to keep in mind.

Subscriber retention is more important than ever. Like Jeff mentioned, we have a lot of influence when it comes to breeding subscriber loyalty. All businesses hold tight to their most loyal during tough times. Payment plans provide options for subscribers who can’t commit to the full amount 8 months before concerts start.

Invest time in crafting an aggressive new acquisition campaign. It’s all about quantity, message and targeting the right people. Expensive new patron single-ticket prospecting may need to take a back seat to well-run new acquisition campaigns concentrating on likely-to-buy multi-ticket purchasers. The people already in our databases need some TLC this year. As Chris has said before, every year we fail to make up for subscriber attrition through aggressive new acquisition is a year our subscriber bases shrink.

Be mission-oriented. Patrons respond to mission-driven issues like quality and high artistic standards. Even if we have to shrink our seasons or cut back on guest artists, we still owe our audiences the best possible experience. And, audiences are often more savvy than we imagine. They do notice condescension, whether it’s in the product itself or in the sales message.

I don’t think the current atmosphere will be the new norm, but I think it’ll be a long road to get back to the “good ol’ days.” It’s a great time to be connected with colleagues, so you realize that you’re not alone.

About the author

Ashley Mirakian
Ashley Mirakian

Ashley Mirakian is the Director of Marketing at the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in Norfolk, VA. Prior to her appointment in Virginia, Ashley led the marketing and public relations department of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in suburban Chicago. She has also held administrative positions with the Brevard Music Center (North Carolina), the Bloomington Area Arts Council (Indiana), and the New Haven Arts Council in Connecticut. In 2005, she coordinated Indiana’s only “Emerging Arts Leaders Creative Conversation” for Americans for the Arts. She holds a M.A. in Arts Administration from Indiana University.

Ashley’s academic background is in music performance and musicology. She is an active bassoonist, having performed with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, IU Opera Theatre, IU Graduate Wind Quintet and Yale Symphony Orchestra, among others. Additionally, Ashley tries to play her bass guitar whenever possible and loves to listen to R&B and funk.

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