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Running head: VSO MARKET RESEARCH 1 You Decide - Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) Kaleb Merck MKTG320 Professor Ure DeVry University VSO MARKET...


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Running head: VSO MARKET RESEARCH 1 You Decide – Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO)

 

Kaleb Merck

 

MKTG320

 

Professor Ure DeVry University VSO MARKET RESEARCH 2 TO: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) Board of Directors

 

FROM: Kaleb Merck

 

DATE: 2/13/16

 

SUBJECT: Recommendation for Ticket Sales Improvement

 

Background

 

The data from the recent audience survey (completed January 6, 1987) returned numerous

 

valuable insights regarding consumer preferences and opportunities for improvement. The

 

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) is facing a significant sales deficit, which has resulted in

 

the cancellation of concerts in an attempt to mitigate that deficit. Ed Oscapella (Chairman of the

 

Board), Jane Corbett (Marketing Chair), E. Douglas Hughes (Co-Chairman of the Board) and I

 

have analyzed the information gathered from the audience surveys and developed a set of

 

specific and actionable recommendations for improvement of VSO’s ticket sales and marketing

 

strategy. As one of the 10 largest orchestras in North America, the Vancouver Symphony

 

Orchestra certainly has the potential and appeal to regain successful sales and consumer demand. Ticket Sales Deficit

 

The VSO has been experiencing financial, managerial and artistic/creative problems over the

 

past two years, which is partially due to the steady decline of subscription revenue over the last

 

five years. Facing a $811,000 deficit, sluggish economic climate and 122 scheduled

 

performances at a cost, the VSO has been struggling to simply survive and maintain it’s “status

 

quo”. If significant changes aren’t made to VSO’s marketing, performance themes, ticket sales

 

incentives and financial management strategy, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will almost

 

certainly have to consider closing the business. The most important and urgent issue for the VSO VSO MARKET RESEARCH 3 is the budget deficit and reducing it. Although the entire symphony orchestra industry is facing

 

tough economic conditions, the city of Vancouver has enormous potential and is “an emerging

 

center of international trade and investment” (Aaker, Kumar, Leone & Day, 2013), which points

 

toward economic growth in Vancouver in the short-term and long-term future. The VSO has seen a 30% overall decline in subscriptions during the period of 1984-1987, which

 

has been a steady decline throughout that period. Analysis and revision of the subscription

 

packages is vital to increasing subscription sales and improving the overall deficit. VSO Market Research

 

The declining revenues spurred the VSO to offer a “free concert”, which was heavily promoted

 

on local radio stations, which was a sellout in attendance with 2,761 people. During the free

 

concert, a questionnaire was distributed to gather information about the audience members. The

 

questionnaire included questions regarding if the “concertgoer was a subscriber, have they ever

 

purchased VSO tickets, number of VSO concerts attended, why they attended VSO concerts, a

 

scaled opinion list regarding the type of music being played and a rating list of VSO

 

characteristics” (Aaker, Kumar, Leone & Day, 2013). The second part of the questionnaire asked

 

audience members about their optimal balance of performer reputation, seating arrangement and

 

single ticket price. It also asked audience members their gender, age group, postal code, what

 

concert time preference, day of the week preference, where they get their information about VSO

 

events and a section for the audience member to expand on their answers. The questionnaire

 

included an address to mail the questionnaire into if the audience member wasn’t able to

 

complete it at that time or forgot to submit it. A total of 614 out of 2,400 questionnaires were VSO MARKET RESEARCH 4 submitted, a response rate of 26%, which is considered acceptable due to the audience being

 

composed of mostly groups and families. Analysis of Market Research Questionnaire

 

The management questions that the board of directors are hoping to resolve being with

 

identifying the cause(s) of the declining subscriptions and ticket sales. Other management

 

questions for resolution include identifying consumer demand characteristics, the target market

 

for the VSO, potential music selection changes, pricing, concert timing and distribution of

 

marketing material. The data gathered from the market research questionnaire helped the board

 

of directors gain insight into what the attendees value, what they prefer, where they live, day of

 

the week and timing of concerts, where customers get information and advertising regarding the

 

VSO, average age group of attendees, gender and what it would take to get the audience member

 

to attend VSO performances regularly. The weaknesses of the research project were the limited

 

time frame for preparation, limited target market consumer reach and only 614 submissions.

 

There was a potential for sampling bias occurring in responses by audience members who were

 

not interested in providing honest feedback and the 61% female responder rate. From the questionnaire, the VSO’s board of directors has learned that 42% of attendees have

 

attended previous VSO concerts to hear music live (most important to them), followed by

 

appealing music choice and famous guest artists (both 13% most important). The attendees rated

 

the following VSO characteristics as excellent: performance of orchestra (65%), acoustics in

 

Orpheum (56%), guest artists (43%), general atmosphere of Orpheum (63%) but only rated ticket

 

prices at 13% excellent. The worst rated characteristics were convenience of parking (13% poor), VSO MARKET RESEARCH 5 music selection (8%) and ticket prices (6%). The results of the questionnaire stated that classical

 

music (Bach, Mozart) is played too little (22%) and Canadian and Pops music is played too

 

much (24% & 20% respectively). The results from the second part of the questionnaire concluded that a price point between $8

 

(balcony) and a maximum of $20 (for international guest performers) is optimal. The data

 

gathered regarding pricing concludes that a fluent pricing model needs to be implemented by the

 

VSO, in relation to special events vs. orchestra. The most preferred concert time is 8pm and the

 

preferred days of the week are Tuesday (27%), Friday (25%) and Saturday (32%). Most of the

 

information is gathered by consumers from VSO mailings (47%) and from ads in daily local

 

newspapers (46%). The Vancouver Sun is the most read newspaper by the consumers with a 71%

 

preference. The responders were 61% female and 39% male, with the dominant age groups being

 

55-64 (22%), 45-54 (21%), 35-44 (17%) and 25-34 (16%). Recommendation

 

After analyzing the data gathered from the market research, taking into consideration the limited

 

exposure time of that research and other biases in the process, I have arrived at several

 

recommendations for improving the VSO’s sales, marketing and consumer experience. Due to

 

VSO’s $811,000 deficit, sales revenues and costs must be addressed most urgently. The data

 

from the market research indicates that consumers are sensitive to pricing relative to seating and

 

event type. The VSO should seek to implement a fluid pricing model based upon event type,

 

marketing exposure and demand. Prices between $8-$20 was the average acceptable price point

 

for consumers. The VSO also needs to schedule their concerts on Tuesdays, Fridays and/or VSO MARKET RESEARCH 6 Saturday to meet the demand by concertgoers for those days. Lastly, VSO needs to increase their

 

advertising in both VSO mailings and in The Vancouver Sun newspaper, which is read by 71% of

 

the VSO’s audience. VSO MARKET RESEARCH 7

 

References Aaker, D. A., Kumar, V., Leone, R. P., & Day, G. S. (2013). Marketing research (11th ed.). VSO MARKET RESEARCH 8

 

References Signor, Phillip, and Jere Lipps. (n.d.): n. pag. University of California. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. VSO MARKET RESEARCH 9

 


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