When you listen to your crowd, you make a connection; you have an understanding of one another and join in a symbiotic relationship that benefits both parties. In a recent article about the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, I was reminded of the golden rule of marketing and selling: to listen. 

In the midst of the 2008 economic crisis, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) was struggling. Over the years, the DSO has seen their revenues decrease, their audiences fill up only 40% or 50% of capacity and eventually, they lost sponsorships. The musicians went on strike for several months to renegotiate contracts in attempts to financially and psychologically survive.

The orchestra members that stayed with the DSO were not afraid to think outside the box. They analyzed their previous customer base and decided to mix thing sup. Instead of always performing at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, the DSO started coming out to different parts of the city and the suburbs, nursing homes, community theaters and even local retail stores. Check out this flashmob performance they did at an IKEA. When was the last time you saw a professional orchestra perform in a place that wasn’t built for suburb acoustics? Or when was the last time you saw them perform in jeans?

The wonderful thing is, it’s working. By meeting their audience halfway and by taking a non-traditional approach, they reignited the interest in their audience and even discovered a new audience. A little listening and a little change has begun to reconnect the orchestra to its crowd, boosting subscriptions and even selling out concerts. I gotta hand it to them too, they did a lot of heavy lifting on the sales side. They targeted a list of customers that they wanted to win back, analyzed their customer database and adjusted their sales strategy off of the data they had. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is a great example of an organization who listened to their crowd and who were willing to adjust their identity and strategy to fit.

Listen to your crowd… and in this case, they’ll listen to you.

Orbit Design

Orbit Design

This post was contributed by a member of the Orbit team.
Orbit is a full-service marketing and design firm based out of Denver, CO. For over 30 years have have helped small businesses grow using the simply Genius Simple Branding formula:
Branding + Outreach = Sales
Orbit Design