Power To The People!

In anticipation of the upcoming 2009 Orchestra Website Reviews, there is one particular new feature worth mentioning in advance. After years of hearing from readers about which features they find important in an orchestra website but never having a way for them to incorporate them into the reviews, I am very happy to announce that 2009 will be different. This year’s examination will give you the opportunity to rate each orchestra website included in the review yourself…

boxingFinal touches are still being put together but once completed, you will be able to go to a special page and rate each website using a similar 5-star rating system like the one used by Amazon.com. After several years of painstakingly combing through professional orchestra websites and rating them based on a clear set of quantifiable criteria, I’m looking forward to seeing what stakeholders feel.

In order to get your review groove on, here’s a list of all the US and Canadian orchestras included in the 2009 review linked to their respective websites so set aside a little time each day over the next week to visit each site. Everyone will be encouraged to rate websites based on whatever criteria they feel is important, but if you want to follow the criteria used in the official reviews, you can use the 2008 criteria as a very useful guide.



A (Small) Failure To Communicate

Returning to the 2009 reviews are the orchestra surveys which are designed to be completed by representatives from each respective review orchestra and provide everyone with details about each orchestra’s website that go beyond the items included in the review. Perhaps the most important element of the surveys is providing an opportunity for each organization to include any additional information they feel is relevant to their current website condition and this is where each group can take advantage of an opportunity to do just that.

Each US and Canadian orchestra in the review was sent a special email with a link to the online survey, instructions, and a list of survey questions. Unfortunately, a few email addresses kept bouncing back as undeliverable and after attempting to verify marketing director contact information, I discovered that the following organizations provided no email contact information (not even a contact form). I encourage anyone from these orchestras to contact me directly to obtain the survey link and information.

  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Kansas City Symphony
  • Long Beach Symphony Orchestra
  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
  • Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

Finally, if you are a marketing director at any of the orchestras included in the 2009 review and did not receive yesterday’s survey email notice (spam filters can be overzealous sometimes), let me know and I’ll forward along the information. The deadline to complete the survey is Wednesday, 9/30/2009, so don’t wait!

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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2 thoughts on “Power To The People!”

  1. Excellent initiative, Drew! Will there be a cut-off date for reviewing? If there’s not, will there be an option to change your review if the organization changes their Web site?

    Hopefully there will be a good number of people writing reviews. It’s important for the organizations to know what people/patrons think of their Web site. Let’s see if they’re going to pay attention to what’s being said!

    • Thanks for the kind words Marc, although I haven’t determined the date, there will be a cut-off point. The problem of orchestras updating or implementing major renovations to their website is always an issue, which is why I’m encouraging readers to make sure they leave some sort of date reference in comment based reviews so the respective orchestra managers will have a useful frame of reference. Worst case scenario is managers can always assume with a certain degree of confidence that the date a comment review was posted was on or near the date the reader visited their website.

      Shutting down the reader ratings/reviews also provides a fair and fresh look at each year’s websites and I do hope readers will take advantage of the new opportunity and that orchestras will be able to use this as a vehicle for reaching out to audience members (especially if they are proud of their website).

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