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CMO of Boston Ballet
Non-profits depend on patrons to keep the doors open and lights on—and for Jennifer Weissman that means getting “butts in seats.” Boston Ballet remains one of the largest ballet organizations in North America—and Jennifer Weissman is in the thick of it all, serving as CMO of the organization since 2013.
For centuries, an air of elitism hovered over ballet, making it appear more inaccessible than other experiential products such as museums, films or amusement parks. Weissman and her team want to make ballet an experience that more people can enjoy, with the ultimate goal of turning audience members into lifelong enthusiasts.
Take a glance at Weissman’s resume, and you can see her passion for fine arts. From director of marketing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to now CMO of Boston Ballet, her experience gives her a unique skillset to make ballet accessible. Not just for the sake of putting butts in seats (which, by the way, Weissman and her team have broken numerous revenue and attendance records), but also creating more ballet fans.
One of Weissman’s most important accoutrements: content that moves people. “We're using content to power every part of the patron journey and to continually attract, engage, and delight our audience,” she says.
It’s a big production. Her team creates numerous behind-the-scenes articles and videos that deepen patrons’ understanding of and connection to each production, as well as teaser videos that function like movie trailers to share on social media platforms and through email. She wants audiences to have an idea of what to expect when they come to see the spectacular Boston Ballet. She also wants them to see themselves so content increasingly includes patron voices. A recent video of kids’ reactions to The Nutcracker was among the top converting for the popular holiday show. “We want to share the fun, social nature of the experience as well as the artistry.”
Additionally, her team creates profiles of dancers to build a stronger connection between the audience and the performers. Dancers fill out a form that asks for their favorite roles to perform, favorite mid-day snacks, favorite guilty pleasures, and more. This information is then turned into dancer cards—similar to baseball trading cards—available at each performance for patrons to collect and discover more about the people they’re watching on stage.
“We find that once people have come a couple of times, then they start to get very invested in particular dancers,” Weissman says. “It’s all about helping people feel closer to the art and having memorable experiences with their friends and family.”