Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra looks to expand into mobile marketing

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In an effort to reach younger patrons, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) and its e-mail marketing partner ExactTarget are looking to use the latter's new SMS marketing service. The two organizations are working together on a mobile marketing program, which the ISO plans to begin testing next summer.

“We felt that mobile marketing was important because it deals with urgency and portability,” said RJ Talyor, product marketing manager at ExactTarget, of the new service.

While the orchestra's core product is classical music concerts and pops music, which generally attracts an audience age 65 and over, the new summer offerings “Video Games Live” and “Happy Hour at the Symphony” are aimed at younger and more diverse audiences ranging from 17-year-old females to 30-year-old males. E-mail is helping to draw in this new audience, but the orchestra believes that mobile could further bolster these efforts.

“E-mail is a prominent part of our marketing mix and we use it with regularity to communicate about upcoming performances,” said Mark Newman, director of marketing for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. “For us to be able to communicate better with a younger audience, it's best to reach them where they are, which is often on their mobile phone.”

An example of mobile marketing's utility for the orchestra is the potential for real time weather updates for outdoor events. A text message can alert concertgoers that a show has been moved to an indoor theater in the event of a storm.

The ISO has been using targeted e-mails to promote its summer events, which range from outdoor symphony performances such as “Symphony on the Prairie” to a video game music series.

“We segment for different shows,” Newman noted.

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