Big Data: Is your approach flat wrong? Or are you leading the pack?
I was recently part of a panel at the FutureTix ticketing symposium discussing the value of data with my ticketing industry colleagues. On the agenda were the “who, what, when, where, and how” of using data to enhance your business and customer relationships. We asked questions such as these:
- What data is useful?
- Do I append existing data?
- When and where do I get the data?
- And most importantly, how do I make it relevant and useful to my organization?
Data is on everyone’s mind, no matter the size of the business, but are you capturing and leveraging that data? Or do you think you aren’t “big enough” to do that?
For some organizations this discussion brings to mind data warehouses, millions of records, and “is this really something I can do at my organization?” or “isn’t this just for large sports teams and arenas?” The answer is a resounding no. Every organization can improve the way it handles and gathers patron data.
What did I discover on the panel? Nothing terribly shocking — large organizations are indeed more proactive in making sure they capture as much data as possible while patrons are at their venue — and the overwhelming majority of arts organizations I spoke with at the symposium indicated they are not on the same level as the “big guys.” The good news is that they are searching for a way to make it work for them effectively.
Professional sports teams have focused for many years on collecting all the bits and pieces of data they possibly can. Collecting data from concessions and merchandise sales is just as important to them as “cash across the counter.” Many now focus on things such as loyalty cards, which allow for fewer anonymous transactions. Working with outside data companies to cross-reference their database of patrons to glean even more information is commonplace. This data is then appended to patron records and analyzed to help them understand the behavior of their fan base and ultimately is used to determine promotional specials, ticketing bundles, sponsorship asks, and more personal interactions — in turn creating deeper relationships.
At your arts organization, would it be helpful to know what your patrons are purchasing at the concession areas? Would it be helpful to know that your largest donor always orders a white wine? Or that a major sponsor was at the show and bought three T-shirts and a CD at your gift shop or merchandise table? Yes! Think about how you could tailor messaging to that donor or sponsor the next time you call on them, or how you could add a personal touch to the gift you send to say thanks for their support.
Do you work with a partner such as WealthEngine to find out what your audience members’ propensity to donate is? That data is out there and can help you target the right people at the right level of support for your next fundraising campaign.
Do you use surveys? Does that data get appended to your patrons’ records? It should! Think about this scenario: You send out the annual survey asking your patrons to let you know what events they would like to see next season. If that survey is not anonymous, you have valuable data at your fingertips. The survey data may reveal that a show you are planning to put on the calendar was the number-one choice of three of your top-tier donors — guess what? Now you have three great leads to approach for subscriptions and maybe for sponsorship!
So, are you collecting only the basics? Or are you leading the way on how to leverage all the data? If you’re not out front, do you plan to get there soon?
If you are using a true CRM system that integrates your ticketing, fundraising, and email marketing, you are on the right path — but there is much more opportunity out there to capture and use the information available.
I would love to hear how you are adding new sources of patron data to your organization’s records and leveraging this data to develop relationships and increase the bottom line!
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