An interesting comparison of the reasons why customers vs donors abandon your organsation (in this case a charity) which carries relevance for other noprofits such as arts oganisations. A scarey statistic is highlighted in Mr and Mrs … Kiss Of Death on the blog The Agitator
“53% of donors leave due to the charity’s lack of communication.“
I suspect the issue may be larger than just lack of communication. Loyalty is also compromised by communication that is: impersonal, unpersonalised (that is more than just mail merged <Title> <Surname>), untargeted, untimely, incorrect, irrelevant, and even (as a contradiction) … too frequent.
Stalker award to Cellarmasters Wine Club
“Netflix tells customers what to rent based on algorithms that analyze previous selections, Pandora does the same with music, and studios have started using Facebook “likes” and online trailer views to mold advertising and even films.“
For as much as $20,000 per script, former statistics professor named Vinny Bruzzese — ‘the reigning mad scientist of Hollywood,’ and a team of analysts “compare the story structure and genre of a draft script with those of released movies, looking for clues to box-office success. His company, Worldwide Motion Picture Group, also digs into an extensive database of focus group results for similar films and surveys 1,500 potential moviegoers. What do you like? What should be changed?“
“But ignore it at your peril, according to one production executive. Motion Picture Group, of Culver City, Calif., analyzed the script for “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” said the executive, who worked on the film, but the production companies that supplied it to 20th Century Fox did not heed all of the advice.“
“All screenwriters think their babies are beautiful,” said, taking a chug of Diet Dr Pepper followed by a gulp of Diet Coke and a drag on a Camel. “I’m here to tell it like it is: Some babies are ugly.”
Thank god someone will tell it like it is
However: “Audience research has been known to save a movie, but it has also famously missed the mark. Opinion surveys — “idiot cards,” as some unimpressed directors call them — indicated that “Fight Club” would be the flop of the century. It took in more than $100 million worldwide.“
I was intrigued by this item, An Investigation Into the ROI of Direct Mail vs. Email Marketing.
The post refers to an article published by the Harvard Business Review, Why Email Marketing Is King which analyzes the effectiveness of email marketing compared to direct mail.
- mail and email
- mail only
- email only
Wait for it … the email-only campaign performed 95x times better in terms of ROI.
Email is so much cheaper than conventional mail and it may perform better as documented. Postal services are unlikely to become much cheaper, let alone near the cost of email dispatch, but will email remain better in performance?
On the subject of cloud based monkey business **, I just came across a great article fom MailChimp. Be a Survey Ninja: How to Mashup CRM Data With Your Surveys
The post does address using MailChimp specific functionality in the form of Custom Variables when integrated with a CRM application, but the basic premise is valuable and possible with many other implementations, whether basic or sophisticated. Take every opportunity to segment communication, monitor response, manage messaging accordingly and gain meaningful feed back using the insight of all the variables at your disposal. I still aspire to the idea of starting with a basic set of information about a consumer that is augmented by each and every communication, contact and transaction and this can be further enhanced by responses to market research over time. That could build a richer picture comprised of a comprehensive set of benavioural, attitudinal and descriptive variables to more accurately predict purchase propensity, value, volume and timing.
Many of you will know will already know what a great EMS MailChimp is. I have used many major solutions in this area, but I have always been impressed by MailChimp’s ease of use, affordability, impressive functionality and accessible help and documentation delivered with a chimp chuckle.
I have been impressed by the granularity and flexibility of the statistics generated by MailChimp while collating email statistics to inform online marketing benchmarks for 39 NZ cultural organisations as part of the Optimiser project for Creative New Zealand. The success of MailChimp in the arts in this part of the world is indicated by the fact that MailChimp is used by over half of the Optimiser participants who use an EMS. A significant advantage of MailChimp over comparable offerings is that it has Google Analytics seamlessly integrated in its statistics whch among other things enables the quantification of online activity with tickets sales in both numbers and value. More Monkey Magic
A notable advantage that MailChimp offers is the success it has had making available an API that has supported integration with a huge variety of different third party software and service vendors. MailChimp supports a great deal of different types of integration by making its API readily available and accessible. It supports a diverse variety of solutions under four main categories:
Under the remaining Other category are a large number of different applications such as: SurveyMonkey, Informly, Google Contacts, Facebook, Google Analytics, WordPress, and even ticketing solutions like Eventbrite, University Tickets, Ticketscript and Regtix.
MailChimp supports integration with numerous leading CRM solutions, including (but by no means limited to): Insightly, the open source CiviCRM, Salesforce, Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sugar CRM, Zoho CRM, and the amusingly titled Less Annoying CRM.
Mark Knight founder of Right Chord Music in an article 3 things musicians can learn from brands about Customer Relationship Management suggests that CRM efforts all stem from three goals:
- Identify, attract and win new customers
- Retain existing customers
- Re-invigorate relationships with former customers
It is a nice simple way of distilling the market growth challenge, but I feel that it may go a little light on the product and service elements of CRM.
But if an arts organisation just concentrated on systematically achieving these goals alone they would be miles ahead.
I really enjoyed his Bonus Tip: Get Organised.
Just using a spreadsheet to record your customers but segmented into different constituent relationships (relevant for a musician): Artists, Blogs, Labels, Promoters, Publishers and Radio stations.
He then proposes adding the longitudinal dimension that records and defines a relationship – Contacts: : “When, Why and What”
The amount of organisations I see that have not even got this simple information management in place is saddening.
“Almost 60% of customers prefer to interact with customer service over email.“
The call centre is no longer the first line of service for an organisation, but it still has a role, particularly for some tasks and certain audience groups. Flavio Martins makes some other equally interesting observations in his article Customer Service Online Matters.
Offensive Customer Service
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.
A colleague, Tim Baker posted this article on the Thinkaboutpricing LinkedIn group. Jez Butterworth’s The River prompts fears of rise in paid queuing.
In 2012 it does seem anachronistic that the Royal Court Theatre seems to be supporting the idea that “… the queue is the happiest and fairest medium we have found so far … some things should perhaps be considered sacrosanct.“
For Jez Butterworth’s new play, The River with Dominic West at the Royal Court tickets will only be available to those who queue at the venue on the day of performance. That means no advance booking in person, by phone, by mail or online.
Tourists will be OK as they have time on their hands and it can be a unique new ‘London experience’ – queuing in the rain. Touts will be OK as they can pay people to stand in queue to buy the allowed two tickets and hand them over to touts (or touts will bid to buy) to pass them on to the market with “cost of sale” and profit?
In addition to disadvantaging the disabled, regional audiences will miss out (unless they make an early trip to London on the off chance that they will be lucky for later that day) and it would appear to disadvantage the employed with the two access options only in person at the theatre in queues at 9am and 10am?
I can’t help but feeling suspicious that given it is only a 85 seat studio, the queue is a made to order publicity stunt. It also seems to be a ready made publicity opportunity that the Royal Court Theatre can transfer it to the larger Jerwood Theatre downstairs with 300+ more seats and be seen as the good guys giving everyone a chance to see it.
But, will the existing audiences of the Royal Court see queuing as “fair”, I am sure they will not be “happy” that their previous patronage will account for nought when they try to see what is being pushed as the next ‘must see’ show.
As described this innovative access scheme does not appear to acknowledge or reward valuable relationships like friends, donors and other supporters in the form of sponsors, funders, benefactors, foundations, members and associates? Friends membership includes the stated benefit “exclusive priority booking”, I do hope they also received their other benefit of “priority advance notice” of this policy.
There are three shows ‘sold out‘ already, one month before the show even starts (or ‘bookings’ open), so maybe some lucky ones (255) are being looked after. But again, I would not be “happy” or see it as “fair” if I had travelled down to London to queue that morning to see the show on one of those nights.
A trend does look more profound or alarming when the chart has a truncated Y-Axis (in this case at 3,000,000). But despite that the numbers do speak to a 6% decline in audience numbers over 5 years 2007-2011 for 17 large opera, music, theatre and dance companies around Australia.
Ben Eltham surveyed 17 companies for Crikey and of these “10 have seen declining audiences since 2007. Perhaps most worrying, this figure includes all six of the largest performing arts companies with audiences of more than 200,000 annually.“
“Longer-term trends may also be at work: Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the percentage of Australians attending performing arts events such as classical music concerts, operas and the theatre has barely changed in more than a decade. The most recent Australia Council data for the sector also backs up this.“
“Whatever the reasons, the flatlining aggregate attendance data suggests that all is not well with our nation’s flagship performing arts institutions. At a time of ever-expanding options for the culturally minded consumer, our nation’s largest orchestras, operas and theatre companies face significant challenges in maintaining and renewing their audiences in the coming decade.“