Archive for November, 2010
The trouble is that the manner in which data is set up and collected in many ticketing systems has not been arranged to portray meaning easily. Inconsistent and non-standardised entry of data at event set up is a common problem.
Encouraging a larger more strategic approach to Audience Development, Audiences NI has released an “Audience Development Manifesto” with the publication of Audience Development: Focusing on the audience at the core of your organisation.
I like the definition of Audience Development from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland:
“Audience development involves the identification, engagement and retention of audiences. It is a planned and strategic management function aimed at delivering organisational objectives. Audience development sets out to affect a change in the attitudes, understanding and behaviour of both existing and potential audiences. It seeks to remove barriers, deepen relationships with audiences and create greater inclusion in the arts.“
The free publication available online includes a precis of what good audience development looks like:
11. “We plan our audience development as an inter-disciplinary organisation; we don’t just leave it to an individual or department.“
… and what bad audience development looks like.
14. ” We see audience development as additional work that is hard to find the time to do, but have to tick the box. “
I stumbled on some interesting research today. Box office data analysis that resulted in customer clusters that were explored further to isolate drivers of behaviour and then formulate some appropriate offers.
The research was undertaken by Oliver Wyman for nine orchestras in the US to develop an understanding of the barriers to and motivators of repeat visitation, and to identify ways to stimulate repurchasing, increase frequency, and reduce churn.
Some of the findings were seemingly self-evident, but interesting to see the potential quantified.
“Churn is highly correlated with tenure and frequency of attendance:
- Tenure: 84% of first-timers churn vs. only 20% of those who have
attended performances for ≥4 consecutive years
- Frequency: churn of 86% for customers attending one performance vs.
only 11% for customers who attend 8+ performances in a year“
The clustering identified an audience segmentof great potential named Unconverted Trialists that attended once and occupied 12% of the seats in a house, but their potential was evinced by the fact that they equated to 39% of customers.
For unconverted trialists, the most powerful levers for increasing retention rate were discounting, programming, and day of the week. Secondary levers included promotions (free drinks etc.), free exchanges, music information, seat upgrades, and select-your-own seats.
55% of the audience was new in 2006-07 and Oliver Wyman recommended:
“Orchestras should now also focus on retaining these new customers so they can slowly mature into core audience members.“
Two other recomendations were:
“Focus on providing a seamless and social end-to-end experience to unconverted trialists. Use tailored promotional offers to sell another single ticket or two to unconverted trialists before asking for a commitment.” The latter makes a lot of sense with the sequentially increasing engagement of the Loyalty Ladder in mind. It was interesting to see that Product was one of the variables that OliverWyman saw as warranting a tweak.
The nine orchestras that participated were: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony.
You can imagine my surprise to read the following passage in Databases Key to the Revenue-Streams of the Future:
“audience-development professionals need to focus their work on database management. “This is an essential competitive advantage and a barrier to entry … It’s a 3-D inside-and-outside picture of the audience that our marketers want. Whose job is it to build and maintain this? It’s the audience-development person.“”
Was this an enlightened arts organisations or a visonary venue? No, it was Canon Communication (now UBM Canon) a media products company serving the advanced manufacturing sector focussing on medical devices and electronics engineering.
It then suggests the audience development role is “the audience-development function is out in front of both editorial and sales.” I would moot it is also, or should be , an ambassador for customer service as well. Value is delivered to customers by the appropriate offering at the right time.
The scale is large for a company, with revenue of $106 million with 74 separate databases. “All of our audiences were scattered, and it was not a pretty process to try and merge them,” However, that is a problem that many arts organisations will recognise. Reconciling different sources of truth, let alone standardising subsequent information collection.
Greg Sandow on the future of classical music in Thanking your new audience discusses sending a thank you message to first time attenders of a University Repertoire Orchestra.
I find it interesting that more entertainment organisations and venues don’t do this. Ticketing systems and customer databases should be making it easy now to identify first time attenders and email makes it cheap to correspond in a prompt manner.
- Customers who complain, and are satisfied, are up to 8% more loyal than those who did not have a problem.
- If the problem is resolved satisfactorily, the customer will tell more people than if they had received good service in the first place.
A thank you note on first time attendance that encourages feedback can be polite and can positively impact satisfaction and word of mouth. It is afterall, just an example of two way communication, but I guess it does demand initiative, co-ordination and follow through.
“Joe wanted to offer his fans the fairest-priced ticket possible, so he sold a batch of tickets direct-to-fan for exactly $10, with no additional fees or charges above the retail price.“ The goal was to “ensure his fans could afford to see his show.“
“In 1994, the rock band Pearl Jam appealed to the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice, complaining that Ticketmaster adopted monopolistic practices and refused to lower service fees for the band’s tickets. At the time, Pearl Jam wanted to keep ticket prices under $20 for their fans, with service charges no greater than $1.80.“
Looks like Joe will be able to continue to look after his fans as long as he does not use venues with exclusive ticketing contracts! But, I digress – back to Joe Pug:
Joe Pugg ”mailed out 20,000 free copies of his two-song promo CD with handwritten messages inside. He gave away a full EP (”In The Meantime”) for free in exchange for email addresses.“
Some other competitors already offer seat views by way of photos for sections of seats, but this seems to be the next step.
Check out the demonstration video
I was entertained by some of the cited features:
Select your seat interactively by criteria such as:
- chanting or singing
- consumption (alcohol I presume)
- soccer knowledge etc.
You can check out the view from your seat using a variety of criteria:
- daytime vs nighttime
- shade by time of day
You can even compare the view from two different seats.
It started to get a little spooky when it started showing some of the product placement opportunities for advertisers … oops sponsors.
The only thing missing was the audience. Lots of views of empty seats. It is a shame it does not give an option for view with crowd and view without. But then I guess it would need settings for half full vs half empty and with or without really tall person sitting in front
There seem to be quite a few articles (re-purposed press releases?) about dynamic pricing lately. I wonder if ‘someone’ has decided that it is the answer to extract more revenue from the marketplace.
“‘dynamic’ or ‘variable’ pricing — a ticketing philosophy that has theaters and arenas boosting ticket prices based on hot-selling shows and popular game days. Prices also can decrease based on demand.“
“It’s going to give the buying public more power and more options,” said Sammy Wallace, vice president of event programming at Germain Arena in Estero. “You could pay more for a ticket, or you could pay less. It’s really up to you.”
Is it too cynical to suggest that you could pay more for a ticket or not go, it’s really up to you?
“Overpriced tickets can cut out budget-minded buyers, while underpriced tickets can lead to ticket scalping because some fans are willing to pay much more for the best-possible seats. Dynamic pricing helps correct that.“
I find the concern for the “budget minded buyers” a convenient social equity argument and I wonder how often dynamic pricing goes the other way? Didn’t that used to be called discounting of less desirable seats to acquit social accessibility responsibilities?
“Economics is driving this new ticketing trend. Dynamic pricing is a response to many factors, including higher production costs and artist fees, lackluster ticket and album sales, and the looming specter of ticket scalpers.” I think the real driving factors have been identified here and … sorry … the consumer and better or more equitable service is not identified as a driver.
Yeah alright, the article below is about travel.
Role of travel agencies diminishes as online travel matures
However, it does raise some interesting points that are relevant considerations for entertainment ticketing online.
“…travel agents may well have to find other innovative ways to be of some value to travellers. However, in a country where a culture of full service prevails, the role of agencies is not expected to dissipate any time soon.“ The same can not be said of ticket agency outlets with the rapid adoption of online ticketing for entertainment and sport, even with the cheeky charges for to serve yourself and even print the ticket yourself.
“Online bookings can yield up to seven per cent savings and are alluring to price sensitive customers.” It is a shame the same does not apply for entertainment and sport bookings online. Afterall it is ‘self service’.
It is an interesting prespective that online booking reduces costs for merchant and consumer and facilitates”… dynamic pricing, a practice for which the airline industry is notorious … allows consumers to balance their own ticket features and pricing.“