Posts tagged ‘case study’
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?
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.“
Marc refers to Joseph Jaffe’s book Flip The Funnel which explores customer experience and focusses on customer acquisition, growth and retention.
It is an interesting discussion of systematically developing the oft-forgotten “Tryers” and “Unconverted Trialists” in your customer database using automated techniques.
I am encouraged by the focus on segmentation and in this instance a structured approach to behavioural segmentation.
However he does include a useful warning at the end.
“The point is also not to completely automate all your marketing, push a button and sit back. There should always be room for flexibility.“
I always find it valuable to watch other industries for clues to trends and innovations.
The hotel industry may hold some clues regarding the changing role of intermediaries. Yes, it is a different industry, as is airlines. But that does not mean that there may be enough similarities to provide valuable insight. After all entertainment, hotels and airlines all sell or licence the right for a person to occupy a specific location for a specified time period. Agreed, there may be some differences in where the booking takes you physically and metaphorically. But there is one overriding similarity – it is a perishable inventory. Once the curtain goes up or the planes takes off, that seat is gone forever and has no value.
“room nights booked through hotel websites last year grew consistently in each quarter, growing 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the same time in 2010.“
Consumers are increasingly buying direct from the hotel, rather than travel agents or online travel agencies.
“Overall in the transient segment, the OTAs (Online Travel Agencies like Expedia and Hotels.com) accounted for 11.4 percent of all hotel rooms booked for the fourth quarter; GDS (Global Disctribution Systems used by Travel agencies) accounted for 19.3 percent; hotel websites (e.g. hilton.com) accounted for 26.5 percent; direct bookings accounted for 25.0 percent; and voice, or 1-800 numbers, accounted for 16.7 percent.“
“Hotel companies have been focusing on educating customers about the value and benefits of booking direct on their websites. These companies have been investing in improving their websites and web value proposition to ensure hotels and customers understand and believe in the value of booking direct with them online.“
That sounds like a good strategy for entertainment as well, the event owner selling directly to consumers without the need for intermediaries. At the very least, the benefits of control over the service ‘promise’ made, the service delivered and the reduction of additional service fees and commissions all makes sense. As suggested, it is important to educate and inform customers and for the not for profit entertainment sector a major, related issue is transparency.
“… consumers are spending an increasing amount of time shopping and comparing hotel options online, often visiting between 8-15 different websites to make an informed decision.” Consumers are getting cleverer at comparing options and they are more and more skilled at accessing AND sharing information on options.
“While a hotel’s website continues to drive more and more bookings for hotels, it is important to recognise that different channels cater to different types of customers, and having an appropriately diversified and optimal mix will drive improved revenue and profit outcomes,”
Different strokes for different folks at different times and different situations.
Selling directly to customers is not the only option, but it looks like it increasingly must be one option and an important one at that.
Facing a funding shortfall in 2009/10, 2010/11 subscriber were approached to become “Super Subscribers” and make a donation to “enhance their theatre-going experience“.
This is explained as follows: “Instead of requesting help for the organization, the letter invited patrons to enhance their theater experience with a tax-deductible gift that included experiential benefits: a backstage tour, a one-time guest pass to the major donor lounge, and a show poster of the subscriber’s choice from the upcoming season. Their gift would also support scholarships for the 5th‘s upcoming summer camps, but the primary focus of the ask was on the subscriber’s experience.“
40% of donations came in response to just the direct mail campaign without the need for any follow up calls.
The campaign brought in 453 gifts and a total of $51,189 at a 10% cost-of-sale and analysis by TRG was very interesting:
- “Most Super Subscribers were relatively new to subscribing. 65% included first timers, subscribers of five or fewer years, or patrons returning after letting their subscription lapse.
- Super Subscribers were primarily new donors. 70% had no previous giving history; 30% were lapsed donors.
- Super Subscribers were twice as generous. The campaign’s average gift size was $113, more than double 5th Avenue prior new gift average of $53.73.”
A colleague, Jerry Yoshitomi of MeaningMatters, put me on to this article. I find this quite exciting for the future of Audience Development and the development of meaningful consumer models – Voter data crucial to Romney’s victory
No, I am not going to bore you with a regurgitation of the seemingly endless US election process
I am, however going to wax lyrical about the use of data to segment prospects and inform relationship marketing.
“A central factor in Mitt Romney’s impressive win in New Hampshire was a sophisticated and relentless voter contact program that locked in supporters early and turned them out to the polls.“
Romney’s team “mined reams of consumer information — from the number of purchases voters made at Williams-Sonoma to their range of financial investments — to build a model that would allow them to find and identify potential supporters.“
They used data to prioritise prospects and then implemented an ongoing structured program of communication developed a loyal core.
“Romney operatives expanded a list of 5,000 solid supporters in New Hampshire from his 2008 campaign to more than 25,000 whom they believed they could rely … while also turning out with friends, relatives and colleagues.“
Just imagine if we had audiences on which we could rely and they turned out with friends, relatives and colleagues. Although I am not sure that we would aspire to this approach in the arts?
“In the end, the Romney team credited its successes to persistence — finding those undecided voters leaning their way and just inundating them,” said Romney’s New Hampshire director, Jason McBride.
Let’s hope that the arts can learn from this constituent development and use similar data mining tools for substantive audience development. Maybe we can then put to bed the accusations of nay-sayers like the recalcitrant Eric Pickles who variously called audience development an “non-job” or a “pointless post”.
On his blog, The Artful Manager, Andrew Taylor has looked at the recent publication released by the James Irvine Foundation Getting In On the Act: How Arts Groups are Creating Opportunities for Active Participation
The research includes a model developed by authors Alan Brown and Jennifer Novak-Leonard (in partnership with Shelly Gilbride) of WolfBrown. Part of a larger five stage model, the three participatory stages are detailed to the right. The participatory stages includes: ‘crowd sourcing’ to ‘co-creation’ to ‘audience-as-artist’ .
The report also includes some instructive case studies sourced from around the world.
As the report suggests, we need to be exploring new ways to connect with an ever evolving audience.