I’ve been interviewing executive directors about their vision for the future, and inevitably our conversation turns to their efforts to court the millennial audience. They consistently report that engaging younger audiences the first time is less of a challenge than getting them to come back. That’s a subject for an entirely different post.
But, you know who comes back over and over? Older audiences — particularly those over 65. I was reminded of this by an excellent article in ArtsProfessional titled “A Snapshot of Older Audiences,” which looks at data for more than 800 arts groups across the United Kingdom. The article states:
The over-65s are demonstrably the most organisation-loyal and frequent arts engagers. 58% visit the same venue multiple times a year — much higher than for under-65s.
Here is your audience that is already committed to the arts, and for whom going to an arts event is now (and has been) an important part of their lives for a long time. They are your subscribers, ticket buyers, and donors. You don’t need to change the arts form or the manner (or location) of presenting what you do to satisfy them. And our PatronManager research demonstrates that their online behavior tends to mimic that of younger audiences — thus you don’t have to bifurcate your marketing efforts to engage them in a different way.
Since this is such a valuable cohort, what are the ways you can nurture and build participation? The article points to one avenue pretty clearly: Read the Article