Know Your Audience: Performing Arts Organizations and the Millennials

Millennials. There, I said it. Unless you’ve been living under a rock or somewhere with absolutely no contact with the outside world you’ve likely heard this word over and over again. Get ready…there’s plenty more where that came from!

There’s quite a bit of talk about the millennials and for good reason; according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the millennials (born between 1980 and 1996) represented approximately one third of the U.S. population in 2013! They also represent $1.3 trillion in direct annual spending and studies (including the one I will focus on today) show that a significant portion of this hefty sum goes towards performing and visual arts events.

Now, I have two questions for you:

How many millennials do you regularly see in your performing arts organization’s audience?
How many millennials would you like to regularly see in your performing arts organization’s audience?

If your answer to my first question falls somewhere between “none” and “not enough” – this post is for you! If your answer to my second question is something along the lines of “more” – this post is for you as well!

Earlier this year, Kelton Global conducted a study on behalf of Eventbrite regarding millennials and their spending habits when it comes to attending performing or visual arts events. Between March 6th and March 11th of this year 504 millennials were interviewed based on the sole factor that they had attended a performing or visual arts event in the last 12 months. The complete findings of this study can be found here, and contains a lot of wonderful insights into purchase-influence factors for this particular generation.

The study is definitely worth a complete read, but for the sake of brevity I’ve chosen to focus on four big take-aways:

The Social Factor
The Food Factor
The Experience Factor
The Online Factor

The Social Factor
The millennials are a social group. They enjoy going out with their friends and work colleagues, and especially enjoy the chance to meet new people in their age bracket.

64% attend events with their friends
42% prefer to go to events where they meet new people
32% would attend more events if there were others their age or friends in attendance

Points to Ponder: How are your events structured? Is there a chance for your audience members to mix and mingle? If so, is that opportunity clearly advertised?
The Food Factor
Simply put: millennials like food.

66% prefer events that have food
58% prefer events that serve alcohol
31% would attend more events if they were allowed to enjoy food and drinks during the show

Points to Ponder: Do your current events have food and beverages available? If so, is this clearly advertised? How might you revamp your current events to better include food and drinks?
The Experience Factor
Millennials are all about the experience. They don’t just buy tickets for an event; they buy tickets for an experience.

63% are seeking events that differ from other events that they’ve attended
43% prefer events that have some element of audience participation
29% would attend more events if held in a unique venue

Points to Ponder: What sets your events apart from other local arts organizations? Is there any way to provide further value and an especially unique experience for your audience?
The Online Factor
The millennials mark the first generation to have access to the internet during their formative years. With this exposure comes a greater dependency on online presence, information and availability of resources.

39% are less likely to attend an event that doesn’t offer online ticket purchases
30% wouldn’t attend an event hosted by an organization without a website
20% wouldn’t attend an event hosted by an organization without a Facebook or Twitter page

Points to Ponder: What does your online presence look like? Do you have a website and/or multiple social media channels? If so, do you use them regularly and engage with your followers?
Conclusion
As I previously mentioned, millennials make up a significant portion of the population. If you’re struggling to get them into your seats it might be time to take a close look at how you’re structuring and marketing your events.

I’ve given you a lot to think about, but the good news is that there will be a follow-up post. Stay tuned – this upcoming post will detail a number of different ideas that will help your performing arts organization include attractive event options for those millennials.And check popular weekly ads:
Avon Catalog, Publix Weekly Ad, Aldi Ad, Safeway Ad
Cvs Weekly Ad, Aldi Catalogue, Coles Catalogue, Woolworths Catalogue

Has this post inspired you? How do you plan on advertising to millennials to attract them to your events? For more information on theatre in the modern world, check out our piece on smartphones and theatre etiquette.

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