When you need input from an audience or a number of people connected to a production about specific information to support operational decisions, then audience surveys is the fastest most economical way to accomplish this.
Audience Surveys: The technique of gathering information in this regard usually originates when a theatre company or production team is confronted with several key business decisions that can affect revenue. Learning about your niche market is the key to success. For example, asking your audience what they’d like to see, where did they come from, what their age ranges are and how do they spend their discretionary income? Maybe just these few questions is sufficient for your purposes, however you can gather a wealth of information that the organization can use as it plans its next season, upcoming events or even the type of suitable subject matter.
Hopefully good things will emerge from the feedback. A well-designed plan answers the following questions:
1. Have we defined our audience? Depending on the scope of your audience survey, there could be many interrelated issues. How the information you gather can realistically benefit your work. Survey value depends on a clear definition of the decisions you need to make.
2. What have we learned? I use this example in my class to illustrate how audience surveys can save a great deal of time and money: Coca-Cola’s decision, for example, to introduce New Coke in 1980s; After conducting several tests, Coke decided to change its formula because they believed that consumers preferred sweeter-tasting Pepsi. However the general public did not support the decision. As a result, Coke lost market share and brand loyalty after making such a huge mistake. Coke should have considered broadening their focus audience and survey results to get a clearer understanding of what the repercussions a formula change might make.
3. Did the generated answers serve our business purposes? Looking at this example, we can see how important it is to identify the information you need while defining the decision that is needed to make a survey project successful.
4. Based on feedback what changes need to be considered? This survey stage of planning will assist you in framing the importance of your project, and justifying costs to colleagues, sponsors, production personnel and crew.
5. How much will it cost and how long will it take? Good audience surveys may be upfront somewhat costly but if you asked the right questions… very well spent. The actual cost of creating the survey instrument will vary depending on its delivery, in-person is best however web-based surveys are considerably less expensive to conduct than traditional mail and telephone surveys because they do not include costs for design, printing, postage, mail house, telephone or data entry.
All Comedy Play Scripts, 10 Minute Plays and Self Help Books are available from John DeGaetano Productions or Amazon Author Page ****
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