Video Marketing Tips: Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Award Winning Programs Drove Bottom Line Success

Video Marketing Tips: Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Award Winning Programs Drove Bottom Line Success

How does a marketer for a brand that is neither a big company nor in a tech-related field increase accessibility/awareness, engagement, and conversion in an increasingly digital marketplace? What types of programs and campaigns can a marketer institute to increase revenue flow for a company recovering from a financial downturn? Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s DSO Replay program did just that, and recently received both Best Self-Hosted Online Video Campaign and Best Entertainment Online Video Campaign awards from

First, some backstory. The internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is the fourth oldest orchestra in the United States. In 2010, the combination of Detroit’s economic downturn and institutional challenges resulted in a work stoppage during its 2010-11 season. DSO was faced with some clear challenges: their team is small, and almost everything they do in the digital media group is grant based. The lack of employee and financial resources led the team to get creative and think outside the performance hall to survive and expand. Rather than concentrate on their challenges, they looked to their core content strengths to move forward: their artistic quality, a long heritage, and a very large video archive of performances. Their strategy was straightforward - utilize their library of archived webcasts to drive donor donations. With that goal in mind, they first launched Live From Orchestra Hall to webcast performances on a live basis, and then used Brightcove technologies to launch their video on demand program DSO Replay in August 2015. DSO Replay uses the archived footage to inspire giving. As a benefit for giving just $50 to the annual fund, donors are able to access and enjoy DSO Replay all year long. DSO provides a free, two-minute Replay experience to new site visitors, and suggests an annual donation as a way to receive DSO Replay all year at no additional cost.

Thanks to its integrated approach of live, on-demand, and revenue-producing video, DSO is able to describe itself as "the most accessible orchestra on the planet," increasing access to its rich performance library and providing a quality symphony experience to as many people as possible. In doing this, it has increased the donor base and provided much-needed revenue for furthering performances and programs.

So what can marketers learn from DSO’s award-winning video programs? Let’s break it down to three key takeaways:

1. Go Live for accessibility and bottom line impact

DSO now presents live webcasts to more than 300,000 virtual concert attendees per year through its Live From Orchestra Hall program. As a nonprofit institution, the DSO relies heavily on Annual Fund donation support. Since the orchestra’s return to the stage in 2011 following a labor stoppage, the DSO has sought to revive itself as a leader in digital accessibility, and now presents more than 25 live webcasts annually.

2. Create video on demand programming from live webcasts to further drive revenue

DSO uses its on-demand video platform as an attractive incentive for patrons to contribute to the orchestra’s fundraising efforts. Since DSO Replay launched on Brightcove Gallery, DSO has achieved a new level of accessibility that has driven more than 500 new annual fund patrons - an increase of 10% - and a sharp increase in donations since its launch.

3. Re-engage your installed base and gain new customers with targeted thinking

DSO has received more than 500 new gifts of $50 or more, more than 50% from new donors, 15% from lapsed donors who became reconnected due to DSO Replay, and a new audience located both out of state and internationally.

Adding these three tactics into your strategies can yield impressive results. While DSO needed to meet revenue goals, the donations received were needed to support the ultimate separate goal of reaching more viewers. DSO has exceeded its initial goals of reaching 100,000 live and on-demand viewers per season. Overall, they have reached more than one million viewers since 2011. Live From Orchestra Hall and Replay together more than double the size of the concert hall audience, and attract viewers and listeners locally and internationally. The Orchestra has now presented more than 120 webcasts across five seasons, and is one of two Orchestras in the world to webcast on a regular basis.

Marketers in all types of business - non-profit, SMB, enterprise, and the arts - are trying to grow awareness for new customers, increase engagement with their existing customers, and drive conversion. DSO’s award-winning strategies demonstrate how even resource-strapped small teams can make a big difference when they add video to their marketing mix.

You can read the full Detroit Symphony Orchestra  case study here:

Learn More Ways to Use Video Throughout the Customer Journey