Lyric Opera of Chicago: Cross-Marketing Opera to Musical Theatre Buyers

Lyric Opear of Chicago logo II

Team: Alan Brown

With support from The Wallace Foundation, Lyric Opera of Chicago embarked on a significant initiative in 2015 to build audiences by encouraging crossover between its product lines. The crossover strategy built on Lyric Opera’s past and ongoing efforts to diversify its product lines without losing focus on opera as its primary mission.

The research addressed three general areas of inquiry:

  1. A set of research questions around buyer behaviors and the purchase decision process, including practical and perceptual barriers to purchase, salience of product attributes, preferred sales channels, price sensitivity, etc.; the answers to these questions will guide LOC in thinking about how to sell crossover products;
  2. A set of research questions revolving around preferences and tastes for different types of opera, musical theatre and related products that LOC has offered, or may offer in the future, and preferences for engagement; the answers to these questions will guide LOC’s thinking about the likely extent of demand for different crossover products, and, thus, how to shape product offerings within the artistic purview of the institution; and
  3. A set of research questions to test the efficacy of alternative marketing messages, and the likely demand for different products, packages and brands; the answers to these questions will guide LOC’s thinking about how to frame the experiences it offers through effective use of messaging, packaging and branding.

The research aimed to guide Lyric Opera’s thinking about targeting patrons with the highest potential to crossover from musicals to opera, advance Lyric Opera’s general understanding of entry points and pathways into opera, and clarify and improve its use of branding and messaging to assist the public in understanding and choosing between its increasingly diverse products and experiences.

The study involved a two-part quantitative survey – an initial “crossover analysis” to build a predictive model of crossover between product lines, and to examine barriers to purchase and the salience of different product attributes. The second survey, sent to the same respondents and linked via Customer ID, measured response to different marketing messages, product concepts, and brand concepts.