Strength in Numbers: How Shared Consumer Data is Redefining an Organisation and Helping The Field
Unfortunately, “data aggregation is not sexy“. – Terence MacFarland, CEO LA STAGE Alliance
It may not be sexy, but data aggregation is an important foundation of the LA STAGE Arts Census discussed with regards to an exciting project. The video is a case study of the featuring MacFarland and reported by National Arts Strategies in its Field Notes Blog
LA STAGE Alliance has been “empowering artists and engaging audiences since 1975“. It is “dedicated to building awareness, appreciation and support for the performing arts in Greater Los Angeles strengthening the sector through audience engagement, community building, collaborative marketing, professional development and advocacy.“
The LA STAGE Arts Census project has evolved over the last decade into a research initiative on arts participation in the greater Los Angeles region that by providing detailed information on patron demographics, geographic reach and purchasing behavior, allows participant organisations to start to tell a more comprehensive story of participation in arts and culture.
“The idea began as a list share/trade in about 2000. Over the subsequent eight years, 100 organizations participated (only 25 or so in any given year), sharing transactional data about constituents such as subscribers and single ticket buyers. At most, the combined database contained minimal information on 350,000 households at any given time and reflected little organization crossover in terms of audience.“
The project according to MacFarland has “changed the narrative of who attends arts and culture.“
“The Census now includes 200 nonprofit and for-profit organisations from a wide range of disciplines – dance, film/media, theatre, music, visual arts. Organisations participating in the Arts Census also span a vast range of budget sizes; for example, Collage Dance Theatre whose budget is around $250,000 to the LA County Museum of Art, at over $50 million. As the range and number of participating organisations grows, so does the size of the database: it now includes almost 4 million households.“
The project is founded upon data driven marketing and in implementing this strategic approach has been working at addressing a common issue in the arts when introducing new and specialist skills to thinly resourced arts organisations – the challenge of making such an intervention sustainable.
A valuable asset of this data set is the ability to measure and monitor audience crossover. Factual evidence of this from real attendance data often holds a degree of surprise for many arts practitioners, as well as marketers.
Read the LA STAGE Arts Census Report 2011
The aims of this similar project (but on a national level) were:
- To provide participating organisations with a fast and efficient way of looking at their own patron data and compare it with aggregated data from a number of other participating organisations in New Zealand
- To create a profile of New Zealand audiences as a benchmarking and trend analysis tool. This data will be used to publish information for the benefit of the wider arts and cultural sector in New Zealand.
Entry filed under: Arts Marketing, audience development, box office, Case Studies, Data Mining. Tags: Aggregate Data, Arts Marketing, Audience Analysis, audience development, case study, Cooperative Marketing, Data.