Vox PoP Redux: Actually By More Than Half
Thanks everyone for participating in my little test marketing survey in my last post. You can read all the comments from viewers here.
The verdict on my little test proves my point. Some commenters already knew what Vox was, but putting those aside, all the rest (including me) only had a vague notion of what this video was all about. One commenter strung the missing pieces together and concluded that this was some kind preview of the NYCO's next season. That seems to be a logical conclusion. Only that ain't what this is about.
Here's the answer, which interestingly enough came in the form of an e-mail from the Skirball Center, which hosted the event:
The partnership between New York City Opera and NYU Skirball Center continues in 2009 in celebration of VOX's 10th Anniversary with free performances of 10 bold new works from both established and emerging composers.
Guess what – it's a TWO DAY FREE FESTIVAL!!! Free. Did anyone hear me say "free?" Darn. Wish I knew that weeks ago, I would have reserved a ticket.
Look, I give the NYCO kudos for producing a really interesting video. But in my book it wasn't marketing. It was a self-indulgent promotional piece that served those who already knew what Vox was. (Maybe I'm missing the point entirely; maybe the secret is that this event is so popular they can get away with obscuring the sell.)
But, given that the NYCO has publicly stated that it's betting its future on rebuilding its mission (and replacing its current audience) by doing new works, it seems to me that this kind of promotion does the Opera a disservice. I think the NYCO ought to start building its new audience by wooing folks in, not preaching to the converted.
That means clear, crisp, direct marketing messages that communicate a "value story" to the prospect. This is B-school Marketing 101: Communicate directly the benefits of your product and consumers may buy. I'm reverting to hardcore marketing jargon – because in these economic times, I think arts marketers need to get back to basics.