Test Drive The Arts:North West
|Organisation||Arts About Manchester|
|Programme strand||Test Drive the Arts|
|New Audiences grant||£115,000|
Arts About Manchester used spare capacity at performances and venues to offer a `smart discount` or free tickets to 20,000 first-time attenders. Museums, galleries and performing arts venues welcomed first timers, sometimes giving them a special tour of the exhibition. Arts About Manchester recontacted visitors who had taken their first step and offered further incentives, with the aim of developing and retaining loyalty.
about lead organisation
Arts About Manchester (AAM) is the strategic audience development agency for Greater Manchester. Serving a regular user base of 45 arts venues and companies, AAM provides knowledge-based services to support local collaborations aimed at increasing and developing audiences for the arts. AAM has a national reputation, particularly for its work in developing culturally diverse and family audiences.
Nationally there are six million unsold seats in UK theatres every year. Music and other performing arts events also have unsold capacity and museums and art galleries have capacity to spare. Many more people express an interest in the arts than actually attend events.
aims of the project
- To attract 20,000 new attenders to arts venues in and around Manchester.
- To use spare capacity to give potential attenders a `taster'
- To offer further incentives with the aim of developing attender loyalty.
- To test and measure response and retention rates and provide a model for similar efforts in future.
about the project
More than 40 arts organisations in the north west offering music, dance, theatre, museums and art galleries signed up to take part in Test Drive. Potential new attenders were screened and recruited via telemarketing, using various databases, and matched with an offer of free tickets to sample the art form. There were no particular groups targeted, except for some specific events, such as an inner city estate in Preston for Preston's Harris Museum and Art Gallery. After attending, a prompt follow-up call with other offers was made. All results were carefully monitored and measured.
about the audience
More than 120,000 calls were made and 54,000 people were spoken to. Of these 20,000 were screened and then agreed to try an unfamiliar art form. 88% said they had enjoyed their `taster' experience and many had recommended it to friends. At the Hallé, for example, of 1,500 new attenders to concerts, more than 70% said they intended to come back again and more than 40% have paid to attend subsequent concerts. The project produced a wealth of insight into the running of such campaigns.
outcomes and lessons learned
The key factor determining the outcome of a call appeared to be the perceived appeal of the actual offer and the persuasiveness of the caller. Comparing response costs proved harder than expected - existing lists of potential arts attenders were the most cost-effective, with free, essentially pre-screened information. The others were more problematic. Some offers got a good response across the board, some did not do well across the board. The people who tended to resist arts offers showed a pattern of exclusion by age and social class and by arts experience. Factors affecting the response rate included, timing of the offer, choice - of events, dates, and so on.