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Marcus Insights
Navigating Digital Transformation in the US Performing Arts Sector


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Role: Senior Director of Corporate Strategy
Industry: Performing Arts

Situation: The performing arts sector in the USA is navigating a transformative period, with digital platforms emerging as both a challenge and an opportunity. Our organization, a renowned performing arts company, excels in live performance quality and has a loyal audience base. However, we struggle with adapting to digital trends and expanding our audience online. We are considering strategic initiatives to embrace digital platforms for performances, enhance online engagement, and develop new revenue streams. Internal challenges include aligning our traditional organizational culture with these digital objectives.

Question to Marcus:


What strategies can we implement to effectively embrace digital platforms and expand our audience while maintaining the quality and integrity of our live performances?


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Based on your specific organizational details captured above, Marcus recommends the following areas for evaluation (in roughly decreasing priority). If you need any further clarification or details on the specific frameworks and concepts described below, please contact us: support@flevy.com.

Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation is imperative for your performing arts organization to integrate into its Strategic Planning. It's not merely about transitioning from live performances to digital platforms but reimagining how digital can enhance the art and its reach.

Start by exploring how digital tools and platforms can augment the live experience—consider offering virtual reality (VR) experiences of performances, behind-the-scenes content exclusive to online platforms, or interactive live streams where the audience can influence certain aspects of the performance. This approach does not dilute the live performance's value; instead, it extends its life cycle and accessibility. Additionally, leverage Data Analytics to understand your audience better—what they watch, when, and how they engage with content online. This will inform your content strategy, allowing you to tailor online experiences that resonate more deeply with both existing and potential new audiences. Ultimately, digital transformation in the performing arts should not be seen as a compromise but as an expansion of the art form's boundaries.

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Customer Experience Management

Crafting an exceptional online audience experience is as critical as the performance itself in the digital sphere. Your focus on maintaining the quality and integrity of live performances when moving online should extend to the Customer Experience.

This includes ensuring high-quality streaming, interactive and easy-to-navigate platforms, and providing additional value that live audiences might not get—like direct interactions with performers through Q&A sessions or personalized viewing recommendations. Also, consider the Customer Journey end-to-end, from discovering your platform to post-performance engagement strategies that keep your audience coming back for more. Personalization, through the use of AI and Machine Learning, can play a significant role in curating content and recommendations, making each interaction with your digital platform feel unique and tailored to the individual viewer.

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Innovation Management

In the context of the performing arts, Innovation Management is about finding new ways to present, engage with, and monetize your art. This might involve experimenting with new formats for digital performances, such as immersive theatre experiences online, interactive storytelling, or even blending gaming elements with traditional performances to create something entirely new.

Encourage a culture of innovation within your organization by setting up a dedicated innovation hub or team tasked with exploring these new formats and digital engagement strategies. This could also include partnerships with technology companies, tapping into the startup ecosystem for fresh ideas, or creating an accelerator program to develop digital solutions tailored to the performing arts. Remember, innovation in this space is not just about technology, but how you use it to convey stories and emotions in new ways.

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Strategic Alliances

Forming strategic alliances with technology companies, streaming platforms, and even other cultural institutions can provide the necessary expertise and infrastructure to accelerate your digital transformation journey. These partnerships can offer access to new audiences, advanced technologies, and additional content distribution channels.

For example, collaborating with a tech company specializing in VR could enable you to offer virtual reality experiences of your performances. Partnering with streaming services could diversify your revenue streams through subscription models or pay-per-view events. Also, consider alliances with educational institutions for outreach and development programs, extending the educational value of the performing arts through digital platforms. These partnerships should be chosen carefully to align with your organization's mission and values, ensuring they enhance rather than dilute the quality and integrity of your performances.

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Content Marketing

Content Marketing is essential to build and engage your audience online. It's not just about promoting your digital performances but telling the story of your organization, artists, and the creative process.

Develop a content marketing strategy that leverages blogs, social media, email newsletters, and other digital channels to share behind-the-scenes content, artist interviews, and sneak peeks of upcoming performances. This approach helps build a community around your brand, engaging current audiences and attracting new ones. Additionally, consider leveraging user-generated content—encourage your audience to share their experiences and reactions to your performances online. This not only provides authentic testimonials for your organization but also amplifies your reach through your audience's networks.

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Revenue Diversification

As you expand into digital platforms, exploring new revenue models is crucial. Beyond ticket sales for live performances, consider subscriptions for access to exclusive online content, sponsorships for live streams, virtual merchandise related to performances, and even educational workshops or courses.

Each revenue stream should align with your audience's interests and the unique value your organization offers. For instance, if your performances have educational components, online courses or workshops could appeal to schools or lifelong learners. If your performances are visually stunning, high-quality prints or virtual backgrounds could be popular merchandise items. This diversification not only supports financial sustainability but also broadens your engagement with different audience segments.

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