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Music to remember

  • Date: 14 August 2012
  • Artform: Music
  • Area: London
An image of three BBC Symphony Orchestra violinists The BBC Symphony Orchestra, Lara Platman

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  • Partners: Barbican Centre, BBC Proms, BBC Symphony Orchestras Cadogan Hall, Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, Southbank Centre and Symphony Orchestra.
  • Themes: Power of collaboration, Improving the offer
  • Segments: Dinner and a show

A consortium of London orchestras and orchestral venues tested a joint approach to engaging infrequent attenders via a website hosted by Time Out. It has generated a new orchestral partnership that is keen to continue.

LSO approached Audiences London in 2009 to support a consortium of London orchestras and orchestral venues to help them understand and develop the overall market for orchestral music in London. This led to a collaborative marketing initiative which aimed to grow the overall size of the market for classical music and increase engagement.

Targeted first or two-time attenders were guided by email and postal direct mail to a microsite hosted by Time Out. The objective was to build confidence and knowledge among these types of attenders. The site presented a menu of concert options described in thematic terms based on the nature of the experience on offer e.g. 'be blown away', 'go on a journey', 'chill out', 'be adventurous', 'feel romantic' or 'be uplifted'.


The concert diary proved the most useful with 69 per cent of respondents using it. 45 per cent used the information about orchestras and venues and 47 per cent said they wanted to 'learn more' about classical music in London. 76 per cent of respondents said they would use a website like this again and for those who engaged with the themes, 63 per cent said they were 'useful' or 'very useful' in helping make a choice.

The themed promotional approach and extended menu, made accessible via one website, provided a useful tool in re-engaging and nurturing the less confident or less committed attender. Many of these fit the Dinner and a show segmentation criteria.

'I have been finding it difficult to access information about concerts. I have been checking the web sites for all the different venues I can think of up to now. This is much easier.'

e-survey respondent

This approach is also being tested by mid-scale producing theatres in London through Taste Theatre. Further findings on the impact of this project on audiences is expected in 2012.

Key learning

  • professional audience research is essential to help shape offers with benefits that appeal to target audiences
  • the familiarity of the target audience with the Time Out brand was key to the success of the campaign
  • a consortium approach can help grow the size of the overall market, as the research evidence showed that the individual organisations were not in direct competition for audiences
  • CEO level support for a collaborative approach is essential