I am often asked from advertisers, what makes performing arts program book advertising so special? Why should I put some of my advertising budget into this medium? Isn’t print dead?

And my follow-up to them is always, have you ever been to a performance?

There is something magical about a night out at the performing arts. When people attend a live performance, everything that might be going on in their busy lives is set aside for that one night, and they are totally in that moment.

It’s a very different experience than any other live event that I’ve ever attended. And this is a key thing for any performing arts program book advertiser.

After my “canned” question of whether they have ever attended a performance, I go on to tell them that as an advertiser in the performing arts program books you will have your potential customer’s undivided attention, because patrons of the arts spend an average of 33 minutes reading their program book while attending the performance.

But it gets better, because not only do they read the program book to get a better understanding of that night’s performance, they keep the program book and take it home as a souvenir or memory of that night!

And because they are in the moment at the performance, they are very receptive to your message. Performing arts patrons look upon performing arts advertisers as friends of the arts. Friends buy from friends, and your future customers are seated in that audience!

Try to get that much attention from any other medium, I say to them.

And then I hit them with some hard facts, or as I sometimes refer to them as secrets of performing arts program book advertising.

Secret #1: Over 35% of audience members earn over $100,000 annually, compared to less than 6% of the entire U.S. population*

Secret #2: Over 79% of patrons are 35 years of age or older. This mature market represents over 68% of the U.S. population alone*

Secret #3: Over 38% of audience members hold a master’s or doctoral degree, compared to less than 10% of the entire U.S. population*

Secret #4: Nearly 66% of performing arts ticket buyers are women*

Secret #5: 61% say they are more likely to purchase from supporting businesses and brands**

Usually, by this point in our conversation, the potential performing arts advertiser asks me if I happen to have an advertising agreement on me. At which I reply, space is limited. Good selling!




*National Endowment for the Arts; SPPA Study, 2008 (survey sample 17,000 adults.) Americans for the Arts; AEP III Study, 2009 (survey sample 94,000 adults.) U.S. Census Bureau Luxury Institute Report, 2008

**Culture Track 2011 survey. LaPlaca & Cohen and AMS Planning & Research conducted a study in February 2011. The survey was done to determine behaviors and motivators regarding cultural participation in the arts across the U.S. Over 4,000 online respondents in all 50 states with a margin of error of 1.6% at a 95% confidence level.

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