Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Delivery professionals have been telling clients for years that a bigger list is not always a better list. We have been telling people that mailing people for sake of mailing people is not a winning strategy. And, we have been advocating mailing to engaged subscribers while letting the dead wood fall away.
And for years we have suffered (not so) silently as clients have refused this advice as being counter-intuitive and wrong. They say, “That’s just crazy talk!”
Well, even though there are lots of other case studies that say the same thing, Marketing Sherpa is here to back us up once again. Case Study #CS31751 about the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is free to read until November 19, 2010. And it also forms what I believe is our first entry in this site’s Email Hall of Fame.
There are some important bits here that are worthy of consideration:
The Symphony lost 95.9% of their list as a result of re-engagement, but they worked on list growth as well.
While the team initially cut 95.9% of its list size, it has grown the list by more than 500% from that low point. The list is now approximately 24.8% of its size from when the team started–but it is far more responsive, Newman says.
By the end of the study period, their revenues had increased.
Online sales have more than doubled to 35% of all the company’s purchases since the re-engagement started. 40% of all subscribers have purchased tickets from the Symphony.
They do not assume permission to mail for any reason.
The team regularly holds contests at festivals and outdoor concerts it participates in. Contestants are asked to fill out an entry slip with their name, contact information and email address.
Winners are often announced via email. After the contest, the team will then send an engagement email to contestants, similar to the one described above, which encourages them to subscribe to one of the newsletters.
That last point really impressed me. So many marketers assume that just because someone gives up an email address that they then have permission to send them any marketing materials that they like. But not the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. They use the address to fulfill the needs of the contest, and then they ask the contestants to subscribe to their newsletters.
We need more people to market like these folks do.