Steven Roth
  • linkedin
  • twitter
  • facebook

Grow arts and culture revenue

When It Comes to Your Patrons, Do You Know the Full Story?

As an arts marketer, you understand your patrons’ behaviors and their value to your organization. You know your singles, your multis, your STBs. You know your discount buyers, your full-price buyers, your donors. But what if you could see the full picture of your patrons as arts consumers beyond their interactions with your organization? What is their total value to your cultural community? What other arts organizations do they attend? What percentage of their total money and time do they spend at your organization?

We’ve come up with two metrics to measure this: Share of Cultural Wallet and Share of Cultural Tickets. Consider these scenarios…

Scenario Number One:

  • You are the marketing director for a small, regional theatre in the suburbs of a major metropolitan city. Your patron—let’s call her Helen—came to your box office yesterday and purchased four, discounted mezzanine tickets for your upcoming play. The performance is three months from now. Helen lives four miles from your venue, and her previous attendance was nine months ago.
  • What do you know about Helen from the information that you have? She may be price sensitive, likes to plan in advance, and attends shows for social occasions. She’s a multi-buyer, having made at least two purchases this year. Overall, you see her as fairly committed to your organization.

Scenario Number Two:

  • You are the marketing director at a large, internationally-renown orchestra in the same major metropolitan city. Your patron—the same Helen as above—bought two full-price orchestra tickets on line yesterday for a concert that takes place one week from today. Helen lives 30 miles from your venue. Her previous attendance was three months ago.
  • What do you know about Helen? She favors the type of concert she bought tickets for and she’s willing to travel a considerable distance to see it. And she’s probably not price sensitive. She’s a multi-buyer, having made at least two purchases this year. Overall, you see her as fairly committed to your organization.

Here’s what both marketing directors aren’t aware of: Helen’s more of a cultural omnivore than either organization knows. And it’s possible that this most recent purchase of Helen’s may be her last for a while, because, unbeknown to each organization, she’s “seeing someone else.”

To understand Helen’s total value to these two organizations, and understand each organization’s Share of Cultural Wallet and Share of Cultural Tickets, here’s a summary of Helen’s transactions with each organization: 

Assuming both organizations had the above information, what could they do with it?

  • They could see if their shares of cultural wallet and tickets have changed, and how.
  • They can analyze if Helen’s behavior has changed over the last few seasons. Are there similar patterns about what she saw, when she bought, what she paid, etc.? If so, they could change their communication content and timing to be more targeted to Helen.
  • They can manage their expectations about Helen, and not bombard her with emails about each and every upcoming production or concert. 
  • They can see if there are upcoming offerings from the other venue with similar themes that might be of interest to Helen and get her to cross genres.

There’s lots of food for thought here. JCA Arts Marketing is part of a team working with a group of performing and visual arts organizations calculate, understand, and leverage Share of Cultural Wallet and Share of Cultural Tickets.

Stay tuned.


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

Subscribe to our Ask Me Anything series