Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra – one of Norway's two national orchestras and also one of the world's oldest classical orchestras. It's magnificent, it's majestic and it's magical. Yes, when the symphony orchestra enters the stage in Grieghallen – in the middle of Bergen, right next to Lille Lungegårdsvannet – the audience is enchanted by the sweet music. But how does the audience find out about the various concerts? Who are the visitors? And how does Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra manage to reach 71.3 percent with its e-mails?

A symphony orchestra from 1765, in the middle of fairytale Bergen

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is the symphony orchestra with a high international reputation. With a history stretching all the way back to the year 1765, the music society is one of the world's oldest orchestras that has also won several awards and prizes. Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra today offers both concerts on location in Bergen, tours, recordings and international commissioned works.

Yes, the orchestra has thus been kept alive since the beginning. And even more – here are several examples of how the orchestra worked to renew itself. Among other things, one releases around four CDs per year. One also has a streaming service called Bergenphilive and a youth orchestra called the Bergen Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, both of which were launched during the anniversary year 2015. Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra also handles projects aimed at both children and young people as well as the elderly. And then there are smart, digital tools.

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Photographer: Lars Svenkerud.

Digital marketing tool unique to the event industry

MarketHype is one of the digital tools that Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra uses. The tool is an industry-specific system created uniquely for the marketer of events and experiences, of which Tarjei Svenson Hummelsund is a frequent user. Tarjei works as a Marketing Coordinator in the orchestra's marketing department consisting of five people. He explains why one chose to get started with MarketHype:

– Challenges with previous tools meant that we needed to find a new solution. Partly the tools had no connection to our ticket software, which meant that we had to spend unnecessary time exporting and importing lists between different systems. Partly we had no idea of the audience and how we would market ourselves to it.

In June 2023, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra therefore chose to switch to MarketHype. With the analysis and marketing system, all purchase data from the ticket system Tixly was now automatically received. One could thus see concrete numbers relating to sales, as well as information on the audience's demographic and geographical characteristics. Tarjei explains:

– Previously, we could only assume the age of our visitors, but with the integration we now know with certainty how old they are. That we have this information is important to be able to reach the right people.

5 quick facts about Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Geographical location: Bergen, Norway.
Offers: Concerts in Grieghallen (Bergen), tours in and outside Norway, recordings, the streaming service Bergenphilive, the youth orchestra Bergen Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, etc.
Ticket software: Tixly.
Number of contacts in MarketHype: About 32 000 contacts.
The Marketing department: Consists of 5 people, where Tarjei Svenson Hummelsund is the Marketing Coordinator with responsibility for newsletters, graphic material, photo/film and other marketing.

Visual data helps Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra understand the younger generation

With MarketHype, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra can see that its largest target group belongs to the slightly older generation. However, the orchestra has visitors of all ages and is actively working to attract more young people. They want more children, families and students to find the world of classical music. But how does it work in practice?

Tarjei says that Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra has a consultant with special responsibility for this part. For example, one works towards student networks, invites students to free productions and sets up special sets for just this target group.

– The first time there weren't as many students as we had hoped for, but now the number has increased considerably. The schools are showing more and more interest, says Tarjei.

To understand the younger generation better, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra uses MarketHype. Here one can filter by age, among many other things. With the filter, the national orchestra can see what proportion of the total audience young people and students make up, where they come from and how much they buy on average.

Another feature in MarketHype that is connected to the filtering, is the segmentation. Creating different segments based on ages, buying behaviors and other attributes is as easy as filtering among customers. With set segments, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra can also follow how the customer groups – such as the "Students" segment – grow and change over time. Smart for sure!

When Tarjei and his colleagues want to analyze ticket sales for special events and productions, there is also a clear sales overview to take advantage of. What day of the week are the most tickets sold? Which segments buy tickets? Which type of ticket is most popular – regular, student or package? What percentage are returning visitors? Answers to questions like these are found in the sales overview, which makes it easier to understand its audience.

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in the foyer. Photographer: Lars Svenkerud.

The seamless connection to the communication tools produces clear results

MarketHype is more than an analytics and customer data platform. In the system, there is also a direct connection between the contacts and several channels for communication: Meta-advertising, e-mail, SMS and automations. Here, the filter is also an obvious part for targeted communication and marketing.

– I got a sneak peek at the system and tested the email tool before we became a customer. It was incredibly easy to understand and use! Together with the integrations, it really felt like it was the right tool for us, says Tarjei.

Tarjei believes that MarketHype's email tool has several advantages that the previous tool lacked. He explains that there has always been an aspiration at Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra to create visually attractive mailings – but that it didn't work at all smoothly with the previous email service:

– It was difficult to produce nice mailings before. We were sort of stuck in a version where all mailings looked the same and where it was difficult to change fonts, for example. Now it's easy to work with e-mail, and if we want to differentiate the mailings depending on the sender, that's easy too. We send more emails now than before.

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra's e-mails and newsletters today have an average open rate of 71.3 percent where it previously was around 60 percent – outstandingly good! Something else with the status outstandingly good, is that the orchestra can see what sales the various mailings generate. Here, the average figure per dispatch is close to NOK 40,000.

The orchestra also has a number of automations running. These are set up at one time and then sent automatically – an easy way to keep the communication with customers going and at the same time drive sales. The automations have event-specific filters and, just like the manual e-mails, provide statistics regarding, for example, open rate, click rate and generated sales. At Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the average open rate for automations is 83.7 percent. Close enough top rating!

– The fact that we can see what revenue the mailings bring is incredibly good. Both that, open rates and information about where those who opened come from, enable us to understand our audience and our recipients better. We then use the results as a basis for new mailings, says Tarjei.

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra as audience. Photographer: Lars Svenkerud.

The circle closes with forms for newsletters

In addition to the mentioned features, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra uses MarketHype's registration form. The form is located at the bottom of the website and collects e-mail addresses from contacts who wish to receive the latest news. The addresses are – just like the other contacts – automatically retrieved to MarketHype, but more specifically to the "Marketing" subscription type. And just like the other contacts, there is a smooth connection between the communication tools and the subscribers. With all the data gathered in a single system, the national orchestra gets great control over its entire customer register.

– MarketHype is a brilliant tool! It really focuses on simplicity and the user experience, where I understand what to do, says Tarjei.

Something that Tarjei is a little extra fond of is the integrations. He believes that it's both good and important that MarketHype has several integrations to different ticket systems.

– If we ever change ticket systems, we can take MarketHype with us. With several ticket software providers connected to the system, we don't have to think about moving a lot of contact lists, reports and signup forms in the event of a change. Everything will already be in place, concludes Tarjei.

More information about Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Do you want to know more about Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra? Check out their website here.

To read the customer story in Norwegian, go here.
To read the customer story in Swedish, go here.