If Orchestra Marketing Were A Guy On A Date

Here’s a quiz to help you determine if your marketing content is doing its job:

Imagine that your latest season brochure is a guy on a date who’s trying to get laid, and you’re the person he’s dating. Dinner is over and you have to decide if the evening’s going to continue. To help you decide, complete the following statements by selecting one of the four numbered options:

He talked mostly about…

  1. Himself
  2. Himself and how much other people liked him
  3. Things he thought I should like
  4. Me and the things he knew I would find interesting

He asked questions about…

  1. He never asked me a question
  2. How impressed I was with him
  3. Which radio stations I listened to
  4. What sorts of things made me happy

The manner in which he spoke was…

  1. Artificial and formulaic
  2. Florid, dense and pretentious
  3. Commercial-sounding and educational but upbeat
  4. Down-to-earth, natural and conversational

wine-snobHis bearing was…

  1. Imperious
  2. Aloof
  3. Eccentric
  4. Easy-going

He described himself with…

  1. Overblown self-flattery
  2. An abundance of exaggerated adjectives
  3. Thoughtful but self-indulgent prose
  4. Assured self-confidence, but with generous respect for my perspective

He dressed…

  1. Like it was 1916
  2. Like he was planning to meet more sophisticated friends afterward
  3. A bit too formally but nonetheless tastefully
  4. With style and easy grace that made me feel comfortable with him

He really wanted me to know…

  1. A long and complex list of names of people he thought were important
  2. A dizzying array of arcane historical trivia
  3. How much I was supposed to like spending time with him
  4. How interested he was in satisfying my needs and desires

He showed me a lot of pictures of…

  1. Himself
  2. Himself and his inner circle of friends and associates
  3. Things he thought I should find interesting
  4. Things I told him I liked that he also liked

For someone who appeared to be so rich, he…

  1. Complained about not being able to make ends meet
  2. Tried to get me to pay my share plus 40% of his
  3. Stiffed the waiter
  4. Took me someplace less stuffy and a lot more fun

He asked me to…

  1. Celebrate him
  2. Support him
  4. Be with him all night and make sweet love

Now, add up the value of the choices you made to see how the rest of the evening is likely to play out.

If you’re a classical music marketer and you answered honestly, your score has to have been somewhere between 10 and 20 – most likely closer to ten. The chances of that brochure getting laid tonight are extremely low.

If you scored between 20 and 30, you probably need to re-check your work.

If you scored between 30 and 40, send me a pdf right now. I don’t believe it.

Classical music marketers talk exclusively about themselves and how much other in-the-know people admire them. They don’t apply market research findings to content creation. The language they speak is artificial, florid and pretentious. Their brand imagery is imperious and aloof. They describe their products with overblown self-flattery and grossly exaggerated descriptions. They publish only photos of themselves and other insiders – wearing way to many tuxedos. They try to improve potential new customers by inserting educational content in their marketing messages. And they don’t know how to clinch the deal.

The secret to selling tickets meanwhile is talking about what your research has told you will make your customers happy. It means speaking in a natural, conversational language. It means being relaxed and approachable. It means speaking honestly about your products’ merits without overselling them. It means showing pictures of the kinds of people you’re trying to attract enjoying themselves at your venue. It means nixing as many tuxes as possible. It means never using educational marketing content to try to make people worthy of being your customers. And it means consummating the relationship by closing the sale.

If your communications content is the marketing equivalent of a stuck up, condescending, know-it-all narcissist who desperately wants something from you but can’t bring himself to take an interest in your life, it’s time for a peck on the cheek and a hasty escape.

And if the evening’s still young, maybe a stop at a popular night spot with real people and some great live music.




1 thought on “If Orchestra Marketing Were A Guy On A Date

  1. Trevor—-What an interesting survey! I must share that I got a 40! As a pianist and pedagogue (and someone who has not sold his soul to the devil), I have approached my teaching and relationship with a point of view similar to yours. So nice to read it articulated so well.

    Best regards,
    John McCarthy

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