E-marketing E-ssentials: Are your Patrons on Facebook? (and Other Reasons We Need Good Research)

Before I get started, at the end of this article is an invitation for your organization to participate in a national arts patron research study in March. You can skip right to that now by clicking here.

I’ve got a real passion for consumer research, particularly since there’s so little of it in our industry. That’s why I was delighted to read about the Intrinsic Impact study that was released last week.

For the past eight years at Patron Technology we’ve been working on an annual nationwide study to understand the online habits and interests of arts patrons. We partner with 10 to 15 of our clients who send an identical survey to their patrons, reaching in most cases over 50,000 recipients, and getting us about 10,000 responses each year.

Multi-year research projects like this begin to pay off only after years of effort, as trends which can help managers change their course of attention begin to appear. We started this in 2002, well before Facebook, YouTube and blogs ruled the Internet. And, in the past few years some amazing trends have begun to reveal themselves. Before I share these, let me remind you that dramatic swings in consumer behavior are very rare. I’m sure you see this with the open rates of your e-mail campaigns. Changes of 1% or 2% in a year are typically seen as significant.

So, consider these facts about what arts patrons have done online between 2007 and 2011:

  • Reading of blogs increased by 32%, from 34% to 45%
  • Watching an online video increased by 80%, from 31% to 56%
  • In 2011, 1.5% of respondents said Facebook and Twitter were the most effective way they kept up with an arts organization they were interested in
  • There was a 459% increase of those who say they check between 50% to 100% of their email on their mobile devices.

And finally, in 2011, 17.5% of arts patrons said they followed an arts organization on Facebook.

We now have so much good data now that we’re planning to turn this multi-year study into a publication. This is where you come in. We want to make this year’s study extremely broad and representative.

We’d like to broaden our reach this year and we’re inviting any arts organization to apply to participate. There’s no cost to this, and you get the results nearly immediately after the survey is fielded. We then aggregate the data of all the participating organizations into a national data-set.

So if you’d like to apply be part of this study, and the forthcoming publication, please click here.

Needless to say, I’ll keep you posted as we get results in.

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