Mercer business class hopes to Save the Halls

Saving the Halls, specifically the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, is not only the mission of Save the Halls, Inc., an organization of political, community and business leaders in Macon, but also of students in a marketing research class at Mercer.

Dr. Crutchfield’s Marketing Research class began their project in September. The yearlong class, consisting of juniors and seniors, works with real-world clients each year to assess their situation and develop a marketing strategy for them.
This year, the class has been working with the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
They call the project “Save the Halls”, adopted from the official name mentioned in the media of the efforts of Save the Halls, Inc.
The class isolated two target markets: Middle Georgia families and “social sceners”—those who spend a lot of time downtown—and developed a survey to evaluate why more people do not go to the Music Hall of Fame.
Russell Boloyan, senior, said through their research they found that the lack of frequent changes in the displays at the Hall of Fame is a reason people who have been to the museum before do not normally return.
“We are working to see if they can change their displays more often and have more events at the Hall of Fame,” he said.
Boloyan said they also learned that one of the biggest reasons more people aren’t members of the Hall of Fame is because they do not know they can be members and have never been asked. He said hosting more events at the Hall would get the word out and inform people of membership opportunities.
Lisa Love, director of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and administrator of the Request for Proposal, says the museum does not currently have the resources to analyze and evaluate consumer behavior.
“Dr. Crutchfield’s class continues to be instrumental in gathering and analyzing valuable marketing and potential visitor data,” she said. “The economy and technology are changing consumer behaviors so rapidly and radically that the constant evaluation of your performance, marketing strategies and market potential is critical to your organization’s growth.”
The class is still waiting for results from their quantitative research. Once they receive the results from the survey, they will develop and implement their strategy.
“The students have brought a level of enthusiasm and objectivity to our staff and in their research; they’ve been important sounding boards for the museum out among the community,” Love said.
Through the project, Boloyan says he has learned that most of the people they talk to in the Macon community are supportive of keeping the Hall in Macon.
“It brings a sense of pride to the city and a reason to boast about the city where we live.  You are able to say, ‘Hey, my city has the Music Hall of Fame for the entire state,’—not Atlanta or Savannah or Athens, but Macon,” he said.
In February, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority failed to make a recommendation to the governor for which bidding city should be awarded the Hall.
The decision for the future of the museum will be made by the end of March.
Board members will decide whether to award the museum to one of the bidding cities, see if new board member Rose Lane Leavell can raise funds to keep the museum operating for another year, or to close it.
“We are looking at the delay as an opportunity to have more time to get all the information we need and to do what we can to keep it in Macon,” Boloyan said.