Box Office ROI: Is Your Box Office Delivering Value?

You and your teams work hard every day. Putting in time, energy and effort into everything they do. The technology your teams use needs to work hard as well, and it needs to help not hinder your team. What happens when your critical systems are not delivering on their promised returns? Your team will end up spending time and energy (and money) on work arounds, instead of where they really need to focus. In this post, we’re asking . . .is your box office platform delivering real ROI?

The basics of ROI

When we are looking at ROI, we can look at it regarding positive ROI and negative ROI. Negative ROI is when, for example, your team spends all its time dealing with email broadcast issues rather than it being a simple process. Technology, in this case, is wasting time and money – and giving not much back. Positive ROI is when your team can use technology efficiently, and your return on investment is equal or more. Technology, in this case, is giving a lot back.

Looking at ROI is useful for when you are planning on changing your platform of course, e.g., is this new provider worth the money.  But looking at ROI can also help analyse past investment decisions rationally, and help you move on if you must. Ask yourself: is what you’re doing/using now helping you reach your goals? How is what you’re doing/using augmenting your digital strategy? Are you building more meaningful relationships with your customer base.? Are you re-engaging effectively with lapsed customers? Are you being informed about best practice?

Get the whole picture

Keep in mind when evaluating ROI you need to take a look at the whole picture, not just the impact of a particular technology’s affect on one area of your theatre or venue. For example, box office platforms and solutions, impact much more than just the box office. A well-integrated platform can have benefits to marketing, management, and even help support your brand. Conversely, a poorly implemented solution can negatively impact all areas of your arts organisation.

Lifetime cost

ROI also goes beyond just cost versus net gain. Take for example, for a box office platform with license fees or user limits. As your box office grows, so do your costs, thus increasing the lifetime cost of that investment. While that will always happen to some degree, it should not hinder your growth. Consider also any added support plans or maintenance and upgrade costs. These can all impact the total ROI from your investment over time.

Opportunity costs

Opportunity cost means the missed chance to do something else that might have saved or made your venue money. For example, if your team is spending too much time on work arounds for example, instead of being able to work on other areas of your organisation, this could significantly impact your revenues. Consider as well, any downtime due to upgrades or support issues. Again, these can adversely affect your venue.

Other hard to measure costs

Taking a hard look at time and effort costs is also a useful measure. For example, you may feel that it takes too much time for your team to manually set “go-lives” for your full programme, but how do you measure it? Maybe try and time how long repetitive tasks take, versus using a system like Ticketsolve where those tasks can be automated.

Intangibles

We’re all for data, but sometimes it is the intangibles that are the real heroes of an ROI story. For example, maybe being able to capture richer customer data will allow you to broaden your reach to new audiences. Or maybe working with an easy to use system like Ticketsolve, improves everyone’s work experience, boosting morale. Perhaps your membership team loves the type of functionality in Ticketsolve because it just makes everything easier to do.  There is no concrete number you can attach to intangible benefits, but these sorts of benefits still add to overall ROI even without hard and fast numbers.

Take some time and reflect on ROI, are you getting the most from your box office?

Why Net Neutrality Matters

You may have seen the news coverage or maybe you saw the front page of Reddit yesterday. Americans are fighting hard to save net neutrality. We wanted to take a moment to explain why net neutrality is important, and how the goings on may effect the UK down the line.

What is Net Neutrality?

From Wikipedia: “Net Neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs), and governments regulating most of the Internet must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.”

In other words everything is equal on the Internet. Net Neutrality ensures data equality in a sense.

Without net neutrality, ISPs could block, slow down or charge for certain content on the web. For example, Verizon Wireless has been accused of slowing down Netflix and YouTube speeds, while no other sites were effected, and Comcast was also accused of purposely blocking P2P networks back in 2009.

Without net neutrality, ISPs could act as gatekeepers to information, allowing them to control which websites load quickly, which load slowly and which do not load at all. And this is before we get into charges to the consumer. This would allow ISPs a huge amount of power over content.

Are your alarm bells ringing yet?

What is the situation for Net Neutrality in Europe?

In 2015/2016, Europe had a similar net neutrality fight. In the end, thankfully, net neutrality was strengthened and protected in the EU, and has been lauded as a triumph in European digital rights. It would be incredibly difficult for net neutrality to be rolled back in the EU.

In a published open letter calling on European regulators to “save the open internet.” signers stated:

“Strong guidelines will protect the future of competition, innovation, and creative expression in Europe, enhancing Europe’s ability to lead in the digital economy,” the letter said. “They will ensure that every European, no matter the color of their skin or the size of their wallets, has an equal chance to innovate, compete, speak, organise, and connect online.”

So, “we’re fine, what’s the big deal”?

Yes and no. There are a few examples where net neutrality doesn’t exist, and we can see what ISPs have done. Portugal and New Zealand have bundling already, and the UK, where there is some net neutrality, ISPs have been experimenting with bundling. This effectively creates a “two speed Internet” – the haves and haves not if you will. Depending on the tier you pay for you, you will get certain bandwidth, or specific sites – for a price of course.

So for the moment, in the UK, EU net neutrality rules apply. However, with Brexit, those rules can be amended or even rolled back. Observers are concerned about some of the long term impacts of bundling experiments in the UK, stating that while in the short term they may seem like good deals for consumers, (notwithstanding having to pay for something that was once free) they can stifle competition.

What does it mean for arts organisations?

Did you know that a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions? Page loading speed can hugely impact your revenues. If ISPs relegate certain websites to the “slow lane” – and your site happens to be in that category – that will impact your organisation for certain.

So while the net neutrality fight is won for now in the EU, for the UK, it is something we all need to keep a close eye on.

 

Cutting Through the Social Media Noise

We talk a lot about the benefits of digital marketing, how to use it and how to optimise it. But your customers have to sift through a lot of information before they can even begin to hear your message. How do you cut through all the social media noise?

This week, we are going to look at how best to stand up, stand out and get noticed in the sea of digital media marketing.

Even if you try to keep to the minimal of just Twitter and Facebook, the amount of digital noise can be overwhelming. It can feel like a daily barrage of offers and ads, without ever really resonating with you. Your customers are in the exact same boat, the difference of course is that you have to play the other side as well and get your message heard. In order to get heard, you have to first be relevant.

What are you selling?

This may seem like a basic question. It is and isn’t. Of course what you are selling is a show/an experience. But, if you dive a little deeper, you can really hone into the right audience with the right message – helping your message to get views. For theatres and cultural organisations, you might think about what specifically makes your venue different, what is on offer that might really draw in your audience. Is there an opportunity post show for people to hang out your cool bar? Promoting that to the right audience can do wonders for your visibility.

What content do you have? What can you repurpose?

We’re all for reusing and repurposing content. Think about how you can take an email campaign and turn it into an Instagram story, as well as a live twitter chat. There can be a multitude of ways to repurpose even old content and make it new again. Not only does this save you time, but it allows you to use your content in different ways for different audiences. One bit of content for many!

Who is the target audience?

Not every show is perfect for every person and audience. Aiming your content at the right audience helps to grab attention and cut out the noise. Don’t use the same content and messaging for everyone, change it up to fit the audience profile. Try a few tests as well. This doesn’t have to be super formal, you can even test it with friends that fit the user profile. Testing helps to hone your message so you know it will get through.

Make it connected – online and offline need to be on the same page.

If you are also using offline marketing channels, be sure to coordinate them with online channels as well. Consistent messaging across all channels, plus a coordinated effort both online and offline helps to surround your customer and get your message through.

Remarketing and retargeting

Some people use remarketing and retargeting interchangeably. While they are similar in what they want to achieve (bring back a non-purchaser), they are a little different in strategy. Typically retargeting using cookies to drop relevant ads to bring customers: 1. User comes to your site 2. User browses away from your site without purchasing 3. Cookies drop an ad while user is away from your site 4. User comes back to site. Remarketing usually uses email to bring customers back: 1.User comes to site 2. User browses away from your site without purchasing 3. Triggers an email workflow with offer or similar to bring customer back.

Retargeting and remarketing can be used in combination or separately. What is great is that both strategies are targeting customers who have shown some interest, and can be enticed back – a much easier proposition than finding cold customers.

While Expedia is clearly not an arts example, their remarketing ads have hallmarks of the three things your ad/post needs to do to get attention.

The ad/post, is well targeted and engaging (last minute deals), uses an eye catching image, and has a simple CTA (book now).

Real time marketing

Oh man when it works it is brilliant and when it doesn’t well . . .

Real time marketing uses current happenings, holidays etc., to create engagement. TV events, major and even minor holidays, milestones, politics, newsmakers and even witty retorts are all great examples of real time marketing. The best ones feel real, unforced and are typically funny. Use with caution of course, but certainly worth a try when the opportunity presents itself.

Some brands that have really done this well have been FlightRadar24 and their tweet on Friday 13th and flight 666 to HEL

This is a great timely, funny tweet that got a great amount of viral attention.

Or how about Stoli’s great Instagram post on Donut Day featuring an espresso cocktail paired with a donut. A great way to take a random holiday and grab attention.

Personalise content

Personalised content is a powerful way to stand out. Using data to help build personas, you can change your content in subtle and powerful ways to make it personalised and meaningful to customers.

Some great examples of personalised marketing are Spotify recommended playlists or Amazon recommendations.

Ticketsolve’s recommendations feature is another great onsite way to market other products and shows to customers already on your site.

Personalised marketing is an area we will explore further in another post, as it is an up and coming area in marketing.

Engage Influencers

Influencers are people in your fan base or elsewhere that have sway in your target audience. The trick here is to get influencers to share your content to get more impact and more eyes and more traffic. For example, if you use Pinterest, good news! Pinterest has low comment levels – though high views. If you comment on an influencers post, they will likely get seen – and can help boost your engagement level on that platform. Taking a closer look at your followers and fans may also dig up influencers, allowing you to engage with them better.

Don’t leave good old discounts!

And remember traditional discounts work wonders as well! Weaving old ideas into new ones is a great way to get noticed. For example, consider a “tweet your pic” campaign with an offer of a discount for the most votes/best pics, try location based texts to draw people in. Even a Twitter based customer support strategy can help cut through the digital noise, building your brand awareness and increasing customer engagement.

#MeToo: The Arts Have A Responsibility to Help Tackle Sexual Harassment

As more and more details emerge from every industry, and across the globe – workplace sexual harassment has been brought to the fore again – and with powerful voices for change this time around.

The statistics are enraging:

According to the FRA, The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, more than one in two of EU women surveyed have experienced sexual harassment since the age of 15.

Last year, a poll conducted by TUC revealed that 2 in 3 women experienced sexual harassment at work in the UK. That accounts for 50% of women in the workplace. Sadly I wonder if that figure is actually higher, due to fear of reprisals resulting in under reporting.

While the recent high profile cases have shone a bright light on how pervasive the problem really is, more and more it seems we have only scratched the surface.

Sexual harassment in the workplace spans industries: from food service and retail to education, tech companies, government and as we have all seen in recent months to the entertainment industry.

It doesn’t have socio-economic barriers or gender barriers. It doesn’t matter what country you live in, what your sexual orientation is, whether you are young or old, or what your education level is, sexual harassment can be found everywhere. While the great majority of workplace sexual harassment happens to women, men and boys can and do suffer as well. And if we think the arts community is immune, we can think again.

In the UK and Ireland, and other countries as well, there are laws against sexual harassment (The UK’s 2010 Equality Act protects against sexual harassment), but many feel that laws are unclear and that the fear of reprisals and retaliation keep many people from reporting incidents.

Even as some surveys show that 70% of companies and organisations provide some form of sexual harassment training in the workplace, and 98% have sexual harassment policies – still it persists.

So what is going on exactly?

First, to be clear, sexual harassment in the workplace is usually about power and control. When companies are informed of harassment, and do nothing, this sends a clear message that harassment is tolerated, giving the harasser and others the green light to continue their behaviour. For victims, it feels like the company will do nothing so what can they do anyway?

One Harvard Review study stated, “some people stated that sexual harassment was just something they had to put up with.” What’s more witnesses to harassment seldom reported what they saw as well, saying, “I didn’t want to rock the boat.”

Significantly, many people and witnesses don’t report sexual harassment because often, companies try to minimise what is happening or want to sweep the issue under the rug. In some cases organisations have been down right hostile towards those reporting harassment rather than investigating the matter. Many people reported fearing retaliation and feeling intimated as reasons for keeping quiet. Job loss, fear of poor future prospects, fear of gossip, and creating a bad working environment for speaking up lead many to stay silent.

In addition, many people in the survey spoke about trying to downplay or diffuse a sexual advance. In doing so, it would neutralise the situation in the short term, but unless reported – and acted on – gives harassers the idea that such behaviour is fine.

So what can we do in our own organisations?

  1. Assign someone to be in charge of your policy and be the point person in your organisation for reporting incidents.
  2. Be sure to communicate clearly your organisations policy on sexual harassment. Have a written policy in place for people to access.
    – Clearly define what constitutes harassment.
    – Include examples.
    – Explain the process of reporting.
    – Outline how HR or administration will handle the process.
    – Explain what disciplinary measures will be followed.
    – Clearly state that all complaints are treated as confidential.
  3. Have a clear reporting system in place, so that everyone knows how to report an incident and knows exactly what will happen during each step of the process. This level of clarity can help reduce retaliation and gossip and can help victims understand exactly how incidents will be investigated.
  4. Teach people about the bystander effect and what to do if they witness someone being sexually harassed.
    – Make observers aware of the problem so they can identify it when they see it.
    – Teach people that help should always be given.
    – Remind people that we are all responsible for stamping out sexual harassment.
    – Have a clear process in place for witnesses to use for intervening and reporting.
    – Encourage everyone in your organisation to report or intervene if they see sexual harassment.
  5. Check your organisations culture.
    – Anonymous surveys can help you to understand exactly what is going in your organisation in a way that feels safe for everyone.
    – Zero tolerance policies and a management that is committed to stamping out sexual harassment creates the right atmosphere and culture.
    – Explicit training and a supportive environment are keys to creating  a safe environment.
    – Traditionally male dominated industries are typically worse for sexual harassment culture, as are higher echelons of management, again traditionally male dominated.
    – Remember that while the vast majority of sexual harassment is directed at women, men can also be victims – take all reports seriously and act accordingly.

If there is a silver lining in any of this, it is that there seems to be that these issues are finally coming to the forefront. It feels like we can finally make some progress and say enough is enough. One great example of an arts organisation being proactive on the issue is The Royal Court in London. You can read more about the day of action held there No Grey Area as well.

As Helen, here at Ticketsolve, so rightly said,

“I feel that this is important because the arts have a responsibility to provide a mirror to society and a platform to provoke thought and discussion on any topic, no matter how uncomfortable and controversial.”

 

There are no excuses, there is no more rationalising. It is not “just harmless banter; it’s just flirting,” that idea is downright ludicrous and offensive.

Together, we must work to expunge this from our workplaces.

Enough is enough.

#MeToo #HowIWillChange

If you are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, below are places you can seek help, support and information.

UK

Equality and Human Rights Commission – Sexual Harassment

Helpline England: 0845 604 6610

Helpline Scotland: 0845 604 5510

Helpline Wales: 0845 604 8810

equalityhumanrights.com

Direct Gov – Harassment in the Workplace

direct.gov.uk

Citizen’s Advice Bureau – Sexual Discrimination and Harassment at Work
adviceguide.org.uk

ACAS – Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service

Helpline: 0845 747 4747

Victim Support

Supportline: 08 08 16 89 111

victimsupport.org.uk

Scotland Victim Support

Northern Ireland Victim Support

RASAC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre)

National Helpline: 0808 802 9999 (12-2.30 & 7-9.30)

Survivors UK – Male Rape and Sexual Abuse Support

National Helpline: 0845 122 1201

survivorsuk.org

 

 

Ireland

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission – Rights and Laws

Information and rights

Citizens Information – Harassment at Work

Citizensinformation.ie

Crime Victims Helpline

National Helpline Freephone 116006

Crime Victims

Rape Crisis Centre

National Rape Crisis Centre, Dublin

National Helpline 1800 77 88 88

Reach Out – Information on sexual harassment in the workplace

Reach Out

Fundraising Playbook: Easy Steps to Kickstart Your Arts Fundraising Strategy

Over the last couple of months we have been putting together a suite of  “playbooks” (a set of ideas, strategies, game plans etc.) to help our customers with a variety of aspects of their organisations. Our playbooks are easy to follow guides giving you ideas, and clear how tos on everything from box office best practices to fundraising and marketing and loyalty.

The playbooks use benchmarks or Ticketsolve user averages throughout, which gives you an idea of where you and your organisation compare to other Ticketsolve users. This is a great concrete way for you to create your own roadmap for success on any given project. 

Fundraising Playbook: First in the Series 

To date, we have only shared these playbooks with our users, however we wanted to share some of them with a wider audiences, as we found that Ticketsolve users find them extremely useful.

Below is our Fundraising Playbook, which will give you benchmarks and a deeper insight into how to jumpstart your own fundraising campaigns. Right at the end, you will also be able to download the playbook so that you can keep it as a quick how to guide. We hope you enjoy it and please let us know what you think.

Getting Arts Fundraising Right For Your Organisation

We all know how important fundraising is in the arts. With budgets getting tighter and funding drying up, fundraising has become even more crucial to arts revenues. However, it can be difficult to know if your fundraising strategies are on the right track. Is there a better way of raising funds? What are best practices in fundraising inside and outside the arts? How do we increase per patron donations? All valid questions that are hard to answer, especially if you are only looking at your own data.

Enter Ticketsolve fundraising benchmarks. We have utilised aggregate data from over 250 organisations in the Ticketsolve community, to provide you with a benchmark of where others are with regards to fundraising, along with insights on how to improve fundraising efficiency and effectiveness in the arts. 

Benchmark

Turn the Dial to Kickstart Fundraising

Keep in mind, the above are averages. Some organisations are making significant strides in their fundraising and donations activities, while others have identified clear areas for improvement.

So what exactly are the successful organisations doing? What strategies are they using to improve their overall donation percentage, and the amount given per donation? We spoke to some organisations who do particularly well with fundraising and donations, and shared their ideas below, along with some ideas of our own. We haven’t gone into too much detail below, as you can download the playbook yourself to see all of the hints and tips.

Use the Right Hook

Engaging audiences is job one of any donations strategy. But if you can’t get your customers’ attention right away they may never even get a chance to fully engage with you. The right hook, an attention grabbing headline or title can be all it takes to capture your audience’s interest. Consider changing the title of the support us page to make a bigger impact.

Establish an Emotional Connection

You’ve hooked  them, so now is the time to engage them. Your copy needs to be targeted, engaging, lively, impactful, and interesting to read. Think about using real stories or people in your copy. Using the correct narrative that really speaks to your audiences is the key ingredient to encourage patrons to leave a donation. Be clear on why you need their donation now, what the donation is for and how their generosity will help.

Nudge Tactics

Another option is to try a “nudge” tactic. For example, people are often influenced by their peers, a simple message of: “Did you know that 40% of all our theatre attendees left a donation,” is a little nudge to show customers what their peers are doing, and encourages them to do the same.   

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Images, videos and the like are another great way to capture people’s imagination and attention. The Greenbelt Festival incorporate a fantastic image that quickly explains their mission. The image clearly shows how working together will help the festival grow and thrive. Check out Greenbelt’s Support Page for a great example of image use on a fundraising page. 

Donation Prompt

Adding an auto donation to the cart is bad practice, and likely to upset customers. In addition, donation legislation is a definitely fuzzy, so rather than worry about opt in or opt out for donations, it is better to provide a donation prompt for customers. Prompting the donation puts the choice of donating into your customer’s hands.

Follow Up Email

Our Mailchimp integration allows you to create automated emails as soon as a customer leaves a donation. It is really important to do this immediately, as you want to thank those customers for leaving a donation. The thank you email, is a great way to continue building customer loyalty.

As we said, we have only included a few of our ideas above, please feel free to download the playbook by clicking below. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be releasing more of these playbooks so keep an eye out for them.

Like what you read? Want more? Sign up below for more helpful content from Ticketsolve!

 

Ticketsolve UK User Day: Networking, Learning, Sharing

We were delighted to host our UK User Day at Leicester Square Theatre in London, on the 5th of October this year. With a fantastic turnout, the event was a great opportunity for all of our current and potential users  to get out of the office for the day, and learn about all things box office, marketing and of course Ticketsolve.

If you couldn’t make it on the day or are just interested in what happened, we have written all about it below. If you would like to get a copy of any of the presentations from the day, please get in touch at talktickets@ticketsolve.com we’d be happy to forward them on.

Welcome

To kick off the day, Paul, our managing director, opened the day with a big welcome, and outlined what the day had in store. The day was packed full, but with plenty of time for everyone to get to know each other during lunch and after the event.

Session 1: Using Digital Marketing to Grow Ticket Sales

Christina Jones – Black Type Digital

Christina Jones

Christina Jones, MD of the digital agency Blacktype Digital, spoke about how to best use digital marketing techniques to boost ticket sales. She focused on remarketing, one of the best opportunities to re-engage customers to purchase tickets. Christina also spoke about Facebook chat bots which seemed to be an exciting area; however the technology is still very new, so only time will reveal its ultimate effectiveness.

If you want to know more about how to utilise the tools that Christina spoke about, please get in touch with our lovely support team – they can help get you started.

Session 2: Creating the Perfect Campaign Playbook

Paul Fadden – Ticketsolve

Paul

Paul jumped back on stage to talk through our latest playbook: How to Create the Perfect Campaign. It’s a seven step plan that is really easy to follow:

  • Set a clear goal
  • Who is your audience
  • Build Your Message
  • What channels to use
  • Budgeting
  • Engaging content
  • Adapt your campaign

We have each playbook available in digital format, and we will be bringing out some blogs in the near future to share them all with you. If you can’t wait until then, please get in touch with us at talktickets@ticketsolve.com and we will be more than happy to send it on.

Session 3: Customer Profile: How Hertford Utilise Ticketsolve to Optimise their Marketing Activities

Emma Parlow & Rebecca Butcher – Hertford Theatre

Emma & Rebecca

Hertford Theatre showcased how they use Ticketsolve to develop their marketing strategy and improve the effectiveness of their campaigns. Both Emma and Rebecca said that rather than change the platforms that they use, they dramatically changed how they use those platforms. Below are some of the key areas of improvement:

  • Mailchimp – Each email that is sent out, is targeted to a specific segment of their audience. This has lead to a huge increase in open and click through rates along with increased ticket sales from those specific campaigns. Another big improvement was the use of automation in targeting first time customers and lapsed customers.
  • Facebook – They now post more behind the scenes stories which has increased engagement with their audiences. Taking advantage of Facebook remarketing and conversion pixels, allows them to target their audiences, and also understand the success of each campaign.
  • Segmentation – Emma and Rebecca also discussed their use of Ticketsolve’s Your Reports, which they use a lot to segment each customer for individual campaigns. 
  • Google Analytics – Using Google Analytics much more deeply, Hertford can see each digital marketing campaign that they run, see how many people come onto the website from that campaign and more importantly see how many tickets are sold from that campaign. They also have a cool dashboard emailed to them on a weekly basis.

They also finished the presentation with some takeaways for everyone and it was all centered around “don’t worry, try it, if it doesn’t work, tweak it and try it again”.

Session 4: Fundraising Tips & Tricks

Nick Stevenson – Ticketsolve

Nick

Nick took everyone through Ticketsolve’s Fundraising playbooks. We know that everyone in this industry is busy and normally do multiple jobs. And while some are lucky to have a full time fundraising team, for many this is not the case. The ideas in the playbook are designed to so that you can really start seeing increases in your fundraising activities without having to do much at all; more with less. Some of the main points from the talk were:

  • Using the right hook for your fundraising pages
  • Establish an emotional connection with your audiences
  • Nudge tactics
  • A picture paints a 1000 words
  • Recommend a donation
  • Donation prompts through the booking journey
  • Follow up with customers one they leave a donation
  • Have clear goals
  • Create specific fundraising campaigns
  • Get buy-in from the whole team

Session 5: GDPR – Facts from the Fiction and How the Sector Can Use the Changes to Their Advantage

Oliver Mantell – The Audience Agency

Oliver Mantell

Oliver from the Audience Agency delivered an excellent presentation on GDPR. Nothing scary at all – just focused on the main change: accountability. Luckily enough the Ticketsolve system is good to go with GDPR, but their are some organisational changes required such as appointing a data controller and so on. Before the presentation, everyone was a little apprehensive however Oliver made GDPR sound like a walk in the park, and you could see the relief on everyone’s faces by the end!

Session 6: Box Office Best Practice Playbook

Aoife & Katy – Ticketsolve

Katy & Aoife

Katy and Aoife have both worked in venues previously as box office managers so who better to deliver this insightful and educational presentation! It was all about how box office teams can implement ideas to improve their customer service, box office efficiency and sales. Some of the points that they covered were:

  • SMART goals
  • Make use of downtime
  • Train staff on the value of data
  • Implement a call script for the box office

Session 7: Ticketsolve Future

Paul – Ticketsolve

This was the session that everyone was looking forward to the most – even us Ticketsolvers! We couldn’t wait to show everyone what is coming down the tracks. Paul began with showcasing some conclusions from the front end project. There were some really telling stats, for example, the average conversion rate on the legacy front end was around 1.8%, but with our new front end – conversion rates are up at the 6% mark. Paul then moved onto the big unveiling where we showed everyone our new back end. We’ll be sharing more over the coming months – so stay tuned! 

Session 8: Ticketsolve Tips and Tricks and Q&A

David & Conor – Ticketsolve

We closed the day with David and Conor talking about helpful tips and tricks, and how to get the most out of Ticketsolve. They then opened up the floor to questions which generated some interesting discussions. 

Well, I hope that has given you a flavour of what the day was like. As we mentioned above, if you would like copies of the slides or playbooks, please drop us an email at talktickets@ticketsolve.com.

Dynamic Pricing: Why Your Organisation Needs to Leverage It Now

We’ve all experienced dynamic pricing in various scenarios, whether it be purchasing airline tickets or a paying for a taxi. Its a standard across multiple industries, and well known for raising profits for businesses that use it. Yet, its estimated that only about one-third of businesses are using dynamic pricing to bolster their bottom line. If your organisation falls into this category, its time to re-examine why, and consider how to best implement it.

What is Dynamic Pricing?

Dynamic pricing, also called real-time pricing, is a flexible pricing model. The goal of dynamic pricing is to adjust prices in response to market demands. If implemented correctly, arts organisations can drastically improve their profit margins, but testing and experimenting with different strategies is imperative.

Allocation-Based Dynamic Pricing

With allocation-based pricing, a organisation offers a certain number of tickets at one rate. When those sell out, an additional tier of pricing becomes available, and so on, and so on.

Date-Based Dynamic Pricing

With date-based dynamic pricing, the organisation schedules rate increases as the show date nears, regardless of how many seats have sold.

Why Dynamic Pricing Works

Depending on which survey you check, average revenue increases range from 10-40% after dynamic pricing is added. The benefits to the organisation are obvious, but what of the benefits to the consumer? No doubt, this is the part that can upset even the most loyal customer base.

 

As an end consumer, I feel quite ambivalent towards it. Im usually a late booker, so I generally suffer at the hands of dynamic pricing, but your customers dont have to feel like its something they must suffer. While most of us think of it like we think of Uber and airline ticketsgetting gouged for buying at the last moment – this is really a public relations issue. Consider how you position it; something like happy hour at the neighbourhood pub. Its the exact same concept, but turned around. Customers know they can get a better deal by showing up earlier, and so some plan to go early and catch the deal. Getting the lower-priced drinks is a reward, but showing up after happy hour ends is no punishment, even though you pay slightly higher prices.

Best Practices for Dynamic Pricing Rollout

You want your patrons to view your dynamic pricing scheme like they do happy hour, not like Uber or airlines. To do that, youll need to plan your rollout with them in mind.

 

Be Transparent: Transparency is key. No matter what pricing scheme you go with, make sure all marketing materials mention how youre pricing tickets. This way, they wont feel duped by paying higher prices later. Instead, it will serve as a positive motivator to plan and get tickets early.

 

Hype It Up: Monitor your sales and publicly mention how close you are to the price increase. The scarcity of lower-cost seats will motivate people to take action. Use social media and your website to play this up and encourage early bookings.

 

Reward Loyal Customers: Give your loyal customers a leg up when it comes to scoring lower-cost tickets. Let them know through email and social media that youve released a certain number of tickets or are providing an early bird sale just for them. Boost prices when you begin your main marketing campaign or whenever your early bird allotment sells out.

 

Test: Start by testing dynamic pricing on a single show. Then, use A/B testing and experiment with which type of pricing scheme works best, what prices to set, and what timelines to use.

 

Research: Dynamic pricing may not be a good fit for every show, so do a little research and see what types usually sell out and when most tickets are sold. You may find that some of your shows are the type that people plan their week around, whilst others attract people who are merely looking for something to do as the weekend approaches. The latter is not likely to command higher prices, while the former most certainly will. Your A/B testing will be very telling.

Dynamic Pricing is Included in Ticketsolve

As part of our ongoing commitment to helping theatres improve their profit margins and deliver the very best customer experience possible, Ticketsolve allows you to create a custom dynamic pricing strategy with just a few clicks.

 

Our dynamic module allows you to create multiple ticketing allocations which can be set up according to best available pricing.

 

In the example below we have 4 Pricing Allocations, once the first allocation (cheapest) is sold out the next cheapest allocation is then available, which is fully visible to the consumer.

In the example below there are only two allocations available as the other two have been sold out.  

Before engaging in dynamic pricing, it is best to do a trial on only one show. Extensive research will help you determine what pricing schemes will work with your audience base. This is something that can be trialled on a single show, and extended out from there.

Ready to Integrate Dynamic Pricing?

Ticketsolve is here to help. If you’re a current Ticketsolve user in need of assistance, feel free to reach out to our 24/7 support team at any time. If you arent using Ticketsolve to boost your organisations revenue and improve your customer experience, wed love to walk you through dynamic pricing and all the other powerful tools we offer. Contact us today for more information.

Welcome to Aoileann!!

We’ve had a busy, busy summer – between user days and new developments – we’ve been going full throttle.

During the summer, we were really excited to welcome a new member to our ace support team: Aoilenn! If you haven’t met Aoileann (pronounced Eee-lin) yet – no doubt you will soon! Aoileann comes to Ticketsolve with a depth of box office management and front of house experience. She has experience in event management, arts administration and has worked with festivals and cultural institutions across Dublin.

Aoileann’s festival experience is bar none, having worked with the Dublin Dance Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival and significantly, having helped coordinate the Gaelspraoi for Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival, which programmes and manages all the Irish language activities for the festival.

Her theatre work includes work with The Ark, and The Project Arts Centre. In addition, she has excellent production and media experience. To say we are excited to have Aoileann on board is an understatement. An amazing arts professional, with great enthusiasm she is already a core member of our team.

Pop her a mail if you have not already, and welcome Aoileann!

Understanding GDPR and the Arts

From 25 May 2018, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect. In the UK, GDPR will replace the UK’s current data protection regulation, DPA, and although this is an EU regulation, UK organisations will still need to comply. With less than a year to get ready, this post will take a look at what changes you may need to implement to get ready for GDPR.

Over the years the amount of data companies and organisations collect from customers and Internet users has become staggering. There are very few services, products or sites that do not collect some amount of data from their visitors. Combine this with the advent of wearable technologies that collect data constantly, and it becomes clear why data protection has become incredibly important to regulators, customers and organisation alike.

What is GDPR?

GDPR will replace the existing data protection framework under the EU Data Protection Directive, and will apply to all organisations in the UK, Ireland and across the EU. The GDPR emphasises transparency, security and accountability by data controllers, while at the same time standardising, and strengthening the right of European citizens to data privacy.

At it’s core GDPR is about explicit consent

The significant change that GDPR brings is threefold:

  1. Customers must give explicit consent to data gathering.
  2. Data protection authorities will have more robust powers to tackle non-compliance, including significant administrative fining capabilities of up to €20,000,000 (or 4% of total annual global turnover, whichever is greater) for the most serious infringements.
  3. It will be considerably easier for individuals to bring private claims against data controllers when their data privacy has been infringed, and allows lawsuits for compensation even in cases of non-material damage.

What Do Arts Organisations Need to Do to Comply with GDPR?

Build awareness about the change and what GDPR will mean for your organisation, especially the tougher penalties.

Make an inventory of the personal data you hold and how it is managed.  Consider:

– Why are you holding it?

– How did you obtain it?

– Why was it originally gathered?

– How long will you retain it?

– How secure is it, both in terms of encryption and accessibility?

– Do you ever share it with third parties and on what basis might you do so?

Create a plan for any changes that you need to make in your current process. Under GDPR individuals will be able to request an audit of the information you hold on them, so you will need a clear plan in place to deal with such requests and other GDPR requirements. Your plan needs to include:

  1. Who will be responsible for handling GDPR requests?  Remember requests must be processed within one month, and must be free of charge to the individual making the request. Individuals have the right to access their data, have inaccuracies corrected, have their information erased and object to direct marketing.
  2. What are your procedures for detecting, reporting and investigating a data breech? Who will be responsible? Remember that all breaches must be reported to the DPC or UK equivalent, typically within 72 hours, unless the data was anonymised or encrypted.
  3. How is customer consent currently being managed? How do you currently seek, obtain and record consent? What changes do you need to make to this process? Remember under GDPR consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. That means they must be completely aware that they are consenting to the processing of their personal data, and know exactly what they are consenting to – there can be no doubt. Silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity is not consent.
  4. What information do you give individuals prior to processing data? Remember before gathering data, you need to let people know: the legal basis for processing the data, how long you will retain their data, and their right to complaint. And you must communicate all of this in easy to understand language not legalese.

GDPR and Brexit

If you process data about individuals in the context of selling goods or services to citizens in other EU countries then you will need to comply with the GDPR, irrespective as to whether or not the UK retains the GDPR post-Brexit.

The UK Government has indicated it will implement an equivalent or alternative legal mechanism. It is expected that any such legislation will largely follow the GDPR. This is supported by the support previously provided to the GDPR by the ICO and UK Government as an effective privacy standard, together with the fact that the GDPR provides a clear baseline against which UK business can seek continued access to the EU digital market.

In Summary

GDPR will become effective in May 2018. In preparation, your organisation should do a data protection audit and develop a plan for change where necessary. Remember:

  • Consent is required to be freely given
  • Requires positive indication of agreement
  • Customer has the right to be forgotten

As new information becomes available we will of course provide updates, but keep in mind compliance with GDPR is the responsibility of the individual organisation.

Please contact us if you have further questions, we are happy to offer guidance and assistance.

Content Marketing: Creating a Message Map

How do you create a consistent message for multiple customer personas? What about other people you may need to communicate with? Press, affiliates, partners, suppliers, etc.? What about the need to create content for a variety of social media channels and formats?

Consistent messaging is at the core of good content marketing, but with multiple targets, it can be difficult to stay on message. We are going to look at how you can create a one page message map that the whole team can use to create consistent messaging across a variety of targets and channels.

Why a message map?

Consistency with multiple messages

When you are using multiple channels for your message, it can easily get watered down or lost entirely. Twitter content is different than content for your newsletter or Facebook. A message map ensures that all your salient points will get across regardless of the channel you need to use.

Consistency with multiple authors

Another good reason to use a message map is so that no matter which team member needs to create content, it will always have a consistent voice.

Consistency with facts and clarity in message

A message map is really about distilling your message into its central point. It also allows you to support your message with concrete facts. The combination of this means you can really get to the heart of your message for all your target audiences.

What does a message map consist of?

A message consists of a “home base,” which is your central message. “Positive Points” extend from the home base with the proof points and support for your central message.

Home Base

This is your central message. It needs to answer “what’s in it for me,” for all your target personas. This is the overarching idea you want to get across.

Positive Points

These are the the supporting points for your main message. You should have no more than four positive points to support your central message.

Proof Points

These are the next level out and provide concrete evidence to the positive points. These proof points will be granular and specific and can contain stats and facts or quotes etc. The key here is that the proof points are a logical support to the positive points above them.

Take a look at an example of a blank message map below.

As you can see, everything branches from and supports the central idea. That central idea is something all your personas (including any partners, press etc.) would be interested in and care about.

Below, we’ve filled in the message map with information from a fictitious family music and arts festival:

This one is very basic, but as you see, you can add as much detail as you want to the proof points. The key here is that all the main points are in one place.

But what about multiple personas?

Targeted messaging is a must, and this is where a message map really comes into its own. Rather than multiple maps or multiple messaging docs, you can create one message map for all your personas.

If you think about, messages for each persona are going to overlap. What matters to one persona will matter to another, but not everything will overlap. Within the message map, you can colour code each message that maps to each persona. Overlaps and differences in messages can be easily seen and tracked.

 

In our festival case above, you might consider parent personas, as well as teens and maybe even couples. While couples may not be interested in the kids activities, they would be interested in the cheap tickets, good parking, nice camping etc. By colour coding you can keep all your messaging in one place and have consistency across personas.

The idea here is to have one central message, but with many angles that are all linked. This allows you to create incredibly consistent and powerful messages for your all your customers.

So how do you get started?

One piece of advice here is to get your team together, and have each person create a message map on their own. This will quickly give you a view into how consistent your message is within the team. Plus this gives you a great starting point for creating the message map you will all use. Having your whole team involved in the process will ensure consistency, clarity and buy in.

Message maps can be used for marketing shows, membership drives, donation activities and even interviews. So they are a great tool in your marketing arsenal.

And remember to come back to refresh your map(s) . . . things change.

Why not give it a shot and see how you go? If you are interested in more specific help – let us know!