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Case Studies

Background

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is comprised of SAM Downtown, Seattle Asian Art Museum, and Olympic Sculpture Park (free). After undergoing extensive renovations in 2007, SAM experienced marginal membership growth until their 2010 Picasso exhibition. The Picasso exhibition brought membership levels to a record high 46,000 but in the years following levels dropped in an absence of “blockbuster” scale exhibitions. In 2014 SAM set out to take a coordinated approach with marketing and membership in partnership with The Lukens Company (TLC).

TLC solution

TLC developed a multi-channel campaign that aimed to cohesively integrate traditional and online marketing efforts, leverage benchmarks, target top prospects, and increase membership and ticket sales.

In order to do this, TLC first utilized local market and industry benchmarks to determine SAM’s market potential and a comprehensive member/visitor profile. This research was then used to define the target audience and inform direct mail and digital advertising budget. By studying factors such as key member motivators, behavioral indicators, and lifetime value, TLC was able to form a specific and thorough strategy for the multi-channel campaign.

The campaign focused on the 2014 exhibition Miró: The Experience of Seeing and incorporated the exhibition brand identity in direct mail, online advertising, and email channels.

Direct mail was used to target new prospects and lapsed members by taking a holistic approach to promoting the institution beyond membership. The mail pieces offered a 10% discount off all membership levels and resulted in a total of 1,055 new members.

TLC found that advertising awareness was not being maximized and took advantage of the opportunity for increased investment with online advertising. Over 3 ½ months, more than 6.6 million targeted ad impressions were served, resulting in $12,518 in gross revenue in membership and ticket sales.

Finally, the email campaign was comprised of two, 3-part series promoting membership acquisition and ticket sales. The emails encouraged online purchasing and the third email offered $5 off per ticket to family and friends of existing SAM members. The emails produced a higher overall open rate than the benchmark average and a $13.05 return on investment.

Results

Ultimately the Miró exhibition brought in attendance of over 100,000. The multichannel campaign resulted in 1,850 membership purchases and 1,065 ticket sales (489 unique) for $167,000 in gross revenue.

As a result of our overall multi-channel marketing techniques and tailored market research, SAM membership has held steady over the last 3 fiscal years due to a prominent presence in the marketplace with traditional and digital media.