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Grow arts and culture revenue

Ask Me Anything: Most Valuable Patron


Ask Me Anything Question

“Who is the most valuable patron in your house?”

Steven Roth's Answer

There are many ways to answer this question. Here are some options:

  • The long-term subscriber. This patron purchases a full package of productions, often with two tickets/production, and is frequently a donor. However, this patron usually receives a discount—often as much as 25%, and recently we see a trend away from a full package subscription towards a Chose Your Own (CYO) package or a Flex Pass. This patron may end up being of less value to you if she is seeing fewer productions, is still getting a discount, and cherry picks the most popular performances.
  • The multi-buyer. This patron sees everything she can. Her average ticket yield may be higher or lower than the subscriber depending on budget, price scaling, and the productions she sees. She is active on Social Media and a strong advocate for the organization. If she donates, it’s not a large donation.

Before you decide about which of these two is more valuable, let me add a brief story. At a performance of the road version of “Wicked” I sat behind a young girl, whom I estimate was around eight years old. She was quiet, sat still, and very engaged. Until near the end of the first act (she’d now been in her seat for close to 90 minutes). With about 10 minutes before the end of the act she starts to stir, and I can tell she’s figured out that “Defying Gravity,” the killer, act-ending number is about to start. She leaps out of her seat, stands up, and for the next five minutes proceeds to sing along—every word—at the top of her lungs with Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West.

You could make a argument for the long-term subscriber or the multi-buyer, but to me, that young lady is your most valuable patron, and will remain so for years.


Do you have a question for the team at JCA Arts Marketing? Submit it here. It could be featured in an upcoming Ask Me Anything post.


JCA Arts Marketing collaborates with cultural organizations to increase revenue, boost attendance and membership, and grow patron loyalty. We provide consulting and software services to hundreds of cultural institutions across multiple genres, including dance, museums, opera, performing arts centers, symphony, and theatre. We can help you achieve your marketing goals.

Steven Roth
Steven Roth, President, JCA Arts Marketing

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