Client - Drum Corp International



New position, new message and new taxonomy equals:

  • Organization revenues doubled in less than five years
  • Dramatic increase in ticket sales, especially to students, to live events
  • Five-fold increase in value of corporate partners program
  • First for-profit network broadcast of DCI's World Championships on ESPN2
  • Number of young people auditioning for positions in DCI corps nearly doubles in less than five years
  • New companies enter music industry, leveraging DCI's and DCI corps influencer position.

Product/Service : Drum Corps International is the world leader in producing and sanctioning touring, competitive youth marching music and related stadium events, featuring world-class performing arts athletes.

State of Market : When we began this pro-bono work, DCI was suffering from decade-long decline in attendance and interest. It was emerging from a near-death financial experience. The initial analysis indicated that DCI was focusing marketing efforts on two groups, 1) alumni (people who had marched) and 2) unaffiliated adults. There was no consistent, process-based marketing effort to engage the young people who participate in drum corps.

Challenges :

  • Change organization psyche from one rooted in the idea that "DCI killed drum corps", into one of "DCI saved drum corps"

  • Changing emphsis of marketing to be on customer creation from the body of performing arts students.

  • Driving a culture of message vs. medium in marketing ie. what we say is more important than the way we print it.

Solution : We proposed a new position "Drum corps International offers the next step on the scholastic performing arts continuum. We offer, through our affiliated corps, a life-enhancing experience for the scholastic performing arts students.

This shifted the focus of marketing to those scholastic performing arts students. And to support this focus, we developed a new taxonomy.

Our Contributions:

  • Strategic level consultation to Eexecutive Director and board of directors.
  • Strategic level discussion facilitation
  • Positioning and market creation ideation
  • Creation of basic positioning statements
  • Developed research programs to assess evolution of drum corps and DCI 's impact
  • Develop and executed major end customer research programs to test awareness and positioning issues
  • Drove new focus on strategic, brand-oriented marketing
  • Develop foundational material for major reorganization, including rewiring by-laws and developing new model for corps participation and compensation
  • Developed comprehensive taxonomy of prospective customers
  • Provided strategic and tactical level guidance for development of DCI.org
  • Created "instant" communications vehicle, DCI.now and provided hands-on editorial guidance and content creation for its first year
  • Currently chair DCI's marketing advisory committee




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