Welsh National Opera: Customer Segmentation Study

Welsh National Opera logo

Team: Alan Brown

Welsh National Opera (WNO) is a Wales based opera company that performs award-winning operas in 10 cities in Wales and England. The company seeks to engage both new and old generations of opera lovers, all while maintaining accessibility through affordable ticket prices.

WolfBrown and Baker Richards Consulting were hired by WNO to identify audience segments based on attitudes and preferences, with the overall goal of informing WNO’s marketing efforts. The research also sought to identify a group that aspires to attend the opera more frequently—and are positively inclined to do so. Those who hold this potential were labeled the “winnable middle ground.” By highlighting this group, the WNO team would be able to refine their customer model and marketing efforts.

The sample was constructed across four theaters in which the WNO performs and between three buyer types: those who are loyal, those who have the potential to be won, and those who are infrequent and are not likely to increase their attendance. Bookers from selected seasons were extracted from the box office systems of each venue and sent either an online or postal survey. The results from the surveys were then matched with frequency data from the booker database. A cluster analysis was performed on the attitudinal data in order to group the respondents into six segments. The segments were as different as possible across the spectrum and as similar as possible within each one, then ordered by appetite for artistic risk. Each segment was then compared and contrasted amongst the others to help identify the variables and highlight those who falls into the “winnable middle ground” category.

Within this “winnable middle ground” group, there was further division amongst those who are winnable from either art form or socially motivated perspectives towards opera attendance. Those who are art-form focused must be somewhat passionate about the opera, but are generally inexperienced and aspire to attend more. Others seek out the operas through the desire of social fulfillment or wanting to celebrate a special occasion at the opera. Winnable bookers generally tend to be inexperienced when it comes to the opera, but desire the opportunity to grow.

Results assisted the marketing staff at WNO in subdividing their audience into several segments and creating a multi-faceted approach towards improving the quality of their customer model.