Akron Symphony Orchestra—Reaching Out
Congratulating local residents with free concert tickets
Community involvement has always been an important consideration with the Akron Symphony Orchestra. The ASO has been a part of Welcome Wagon, the national organization responsible for sending new community residents a brochure listing names and numbers of local businesses and services. The orchestra provides a "buy one get one free" offer in the Welcome Wagon booklet. In return for its gift to new residents, the Welcome Wagon provides the ASO with a list of new community members.
The ASO expanded this idea during the 2001-02 season with invaluable help from the marketing committee volunteer chair, who would scour the classifieds in the Sunday paper, finding names of people who received new promotions and career advancements. He would then obtain their mailing address from the phone book to hand-address and sign a congratulatory letter. The list of new residents provided by the Welcome Wagon was also used for a second batch of letters, welcoming individuals to the community. In these two categories, the orchestra concentrates on executive promotions, while limiting the residential welcome to home purchases over $300,000 or homes in targeted zip codes. A season brochure always accompanied the letters. The program has always depended on volunteers. At their highest productivity, between 35 and 50 letters were sent to the community every week.
Most importantly, the letter offers two free tickets to any concert, redeemable with a phone call. When accepted, the offer was received with considerable gratitude for both the recognition and for the invitation to experience the orchestra. The significance of the letter was not lost on its recipients, who understood that a board member of the ASO had personally contacted them.
The continuing stream of thank-you letters and verbal accolades inspire the ASO’s continued involvement with the program. Although the box office has not tracked the number of tickets obtained through this program, experience indicates that the ticket offer often leads to additional tickets purchased for the same concert. Currently, the orchestra is not tracking repeat attendances sparked from this offer. Because the performance hall is so large (nearly 3,000 seats), there is little concern over losing paid seats from this program. Ultimately, the program rouses considerable good will from the community and increases the orchestra’s profile.
For additional info contact:
Sharon Smith or Jason Swank