Are Your Brochures Working For You?

Arts marketing has moved on dramatically in the last number of years. Many of our venues are using powerful tools such as email automation, Facebook remarketing, custom landing pages and lots more cool stuff to improve their reach and conversions.

There is still one stronghold that has been a constant since the dawn of arts marketing. Yep, you guessed it. The brochure. And you won’t be surprised to hear that many arts organisations still use them – maybe you too! Maybe it’s because your customers love receiving them, or maybe sending brochures seems more tangible somehow. Whatever the reason, do you actually know if those brochures are actually converting into ticket sales? Afterall, brochures are expensive to produce and send, we should really ensure they are working hard for us.

Measuring ROI on the (Seemingly) Unmeasurable

When we start talking marketing with our customers, the conversation inevitably turns to brochures. And the sometimes difficult to answer brochure-questions; how much do your brochures cost, who do you send them to, and importantly –  do your brochures actually lead to sales?

Normally we only ever get vague answers, but even in the case of brochures which seem untrackable, we need to figure out a way forward, so that we can evaluate whether sending brochures really works.

So, how can we start to analyse the effectiveness of our brochures? Well, that bit is very simple – especially with Ticketsolve.

  1. Create a segment of customers who will receive your brochure.  
  2. Add them all to a campaign.
  3. Once your brochure is sent, you can generate a report in Ticketsolve on that campaign.

While this is not 100% accurate (some customers might purchase tickets from another marketing source), it will give you a good indication as to which customers within the segment actually purchased tickets when they got their brochure.

Mansfield Palace Theatre’s Experience with Measuring Brochure ROI

The above simple measurement is a great first step if you’ve never calculated your brochure ROI. However, you can start to play around with this to see if your segmentation is working. Recently, we did just this with one of our customers Mansfield Palace Theatre. They were sending a brochure to customers who had purchased a ticket in the last three years. Three years is a long time frame, so we challenged them to think deeper about how they were sending out their brochures. Ultimately, we settled on A/B testing, where we segmented their customers into two segments:

Segment A – Everyone who purchased in the last year.

Segment B – Everyone who purchased in years 2 and 3 and not in the last year.

We then did our segment set up and added them to the campaigns and we finally did some ROI reporting with Ticketsolve once the brochure was sent out. The results shocked us all. Overall they had a 19% ROI from the whole brochure campaign, however, looking at each segment individually they had a 32% ROI in segment A and 0% ROI in segment B. You read that correctly – not one person from segment B purchased a ticket. This information was invaluable to Mansfield, and led them to change how they send out brochures to their customers.

Implementing this type of reporting means you can get away from the “finger in the air”/best guess approach to your brochures. Being data driven – even for marketing activities that seem like they have no data available – is the best way to improve your overall marketing, while being incredibly effective with your budget.

This type of approach can be replicated into pretty much all marketing activities, plus you can get even better analytics from digital campaigns.

If you are interested in learning more about our work with Mansfield, please get in touch with us; we’d be more than happy to send on the case study.

Engaging Your Subscribers: Keep Your GDPR Compliant Mailing List Subscribed

It’s been an interesting few weeks for arts marketers; we hope you are feeling confident that you understand GDPR, and the concept of legitimate interest and PECR is clear to you and your team. In this blog, we want to look to the future. We want to see how we can be creative and confident with our tidy new databases. If looking at your unsubscribed Mailchimp report is getting you down, keep reading, you might be surprised at how powerful a tool your customer database is now that you’re GDPR compliant!  

Working with What We’ve Got!

It feels like there has been a lot of doom and gloom around GDPR, but we think GDPR has given us a data gift – a truly engaged customer database. GDPR forced us to conquer the mother of all marketing chores – tidying up our customer database. And while it might have been a bit of a painful process, a clean and tidy database is a fantastic way to engage with customers who really want to hear from you. What’s more, this engaged customer base provides you with a fantastic opportunity to rethink our marketing strategies. An engaged audience is a great place to try out a few new ideas!

Arts marketers across Ireland and the UK are experimenting with a new confidence, now that GDPR is in effect. It really is an exciting time, and a great opportunity to try new trends and attempt brave campaigns. Ticketsolve’s marketing integrations with Google Tag Manager, and Google Analytics etc., can help you keep track of your ROI and adjust, tweak or pivot your campaigns as necessary. This level of agility allows you to see what works and what doesn’t – fast – ensuring your valuable resources are not wasted.

Ticketsolve’s Top Four Tips For Keeping Your Database Tidy

Create a Fandom Campaign!

People love stories. Compelling narratives that focus on good vs evil, a comedy, a love story, whatever it is, stories work when it comes to creating fans. Using a “hero event,” why not try a story based campaign? Track the story of your hero event from the moment the performance arrives at your venue to opening night and closing night, backstage and everything in between.  Story based marketing content is a great way to build your fan base. Fans create buzz and buzz helps to grow your audience.

Create a Conversation

Now is the time to start asking yourself the tough question when it comes to your communication: are you really having meaningful conversations with your audience? Are you simply selling to them or are you providing valuable and engaging information? Now that you have a database that truly wants to hear from you, make sure you are communicating effectively.

Please and Thank You!

Sometimes all it takes is a simple thank you. While you may have your “Friends of the Theatre” or membership scheme in place, now is a great time to think more about what benefits you can offer members. Are your benefits easily accessible? Are member benefits easy to understand? Are benefits really desirable to your target audiences? Have you thanked your members, friends and others recently? Even a simple update on a refurbishment project to donors goes a long way!

Newsletter or “Snewsletter”?

How many newsletters do you receive? Customers are no different – they are inundated with offers, newsletters and more. You need stand out and give them a compelling reason to opt-in to your newsletter. Maybe it is an in-depth insight into your upcoming season or maybe new discount reward codes. Audiences need to know that they are not signing up for another generic newsletter. Give them something more: the venue’s journal or digest, important dates and tempting offers or meaningful thank yous, are all important to your best and newest customers.

Speak with me like I’m human – you have my data

The awareness campaign around GDPR was astounding – everyone knows about it and is aware of the power of their own personal data. With that knowledge also comes a demand. A demand for personal data to be used responsibly and fairly, and for organisations to really appreciate the customer information that they hold. You have the perfect opportunity to use customer data to build meaningful – human relationships with your audience, instilling trust and loyalty for the long term.

Make haste!

This is the time. We have never been any stronger at our jobs as arts marketers than as we are now. We clearly understand the marketing needs of our venue and the desires of our customers. Let’s take a moment and appreciate that our customers are in the driving seat now, and they telling us exactly what they want. They own the data but we own the strategies to make an even more meaningful connection with each and every one of our audience members.

GDPR’s Silver Lining: Focus on Data Driven Decisions and Improved ROI

Tired of GDPR yet? You are in good company, every industry from education to retail is exhaustively facing the new hurdles GDPR has created. But it’s not all bad. GDPR has brought data back into sharp focus, while putting customers firmly back in the driving seat when it comes to their personal data and information – and rightly so. Afterall the misuse of data and data collection affects us all. But GDPR also gives our organisations two advantages: 1. If a customer is sharing data with you, it’s because they really want to engage with your organisation. 2. With this increased focus on data, we have the opportunity really think hard about how to best use customer data and segmentation in our sales and marketing strategies; and really engage with our customers.

But First . . .GDPR Compliant Data

Before we can take advantage of any opportunities that GDPR can bring, we need to get compliant. Recently, we ran a series of GDPR workshops that outlined in detail exactly what arts organisations need to do to get GDPR compliant. If you have not started this process yet, do have a read of our GDPR Playbook (email us to get your copy). The guide is a great resource for arts organisations who need help getting started with GDPR.

Segmenting Your Market and Data

GDPR is about securing personal data and information, and the appropriate use of that data by an organisation be it a school, business or non-profit. In fact, in many ways, GDPR encourages you to really think about how you communicate with your customers – making them, not you – the focus. We have written many times about audience segmentation (here, here and here) and the invaluable role data plays in helping to segment audiences effectively. If you are not already segmenting your audiences, there are some really compelling reasons to consider doing it right now.

  1. Better conversions. Segmenting your market means that your marketing messages will hit the right target at the right time, in turn leading to a bump in sales.
  2. Less time, money and marketing effort. Let’s face it, arts organisations really need to make their money, time and effort stretch and work hard. A scattershot approach can (and often does) waste all three of these valuable resources. Taking a targeted, segmented approach to your efforts is far more efficient.
  3. Happier customers. And here is the crux of it. Customers prefer it when you talk to them about things that interest them; they are more inclined to buy if the message feels directed at them and not generic. GDPR has reframed the data question forcing us to really consider not only privacy concerns but also how we can use the data we hold on customers that best meets their needs.

The Tools for Data-Driven Decision Making

The fantastic thing is that there are a myriad of tools to help with gathering and analysing the entire customer journey to help you make better marketing decisions. These tools can also help you to identify segments worth going after, or if even if there is a case to not segment at all. Data can help us determine how to segment: demographics, interest groups, proximity to the venue, frequent bookers, first-time bookers, etc. A general best practices rule is that your segments should be measurable, substantial, accessible, differentiable and actionable. Pulling all of this data together gives you the opportunity on a granular level to create and test marketing strategies for very specific audiences.




Data Driven Decisions and ROI in Digital Campaigns

Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics

Ultimately, the goal of any marketing campaign is to get the biggest possible return on your investment. Again, powerful tools such as Google Tag Manager can give you instant feedback (via data) on the success of your campaign. But GTM only gives you data from one aspect. The real strength here is the interplay between Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. For example, with Tag Manager, you can decipher a form click versus a normal click, and even get special insights such as a ‘hover over’. So if your customer hovers over a particular show, but does not click, you could follow up with them with a special discount or other remarketing campaigns. This is a more advanced use of Tag Manager but can be done through the setup of an audience or goal within Google Analytics. This combination of tools and data allows you to really make educated decisions about your marketing campaigns and how to maximise conversions.


Another great tool that can help with data-driven decision making is Mailchimp ROI reporting and automation. This has been a game changer for many Ticketsolve customers. Take Hertford Theatre, who set up an automation to target lapsed customers who have bought a ticket in the last 300 days. 8.9% of these customers have re-engaged and ‘and more importantly, re-purchased! It was these tools and more importantly the data that these tools provide that has allowed Hertford and others to harness data-driven decision making to increase ROI.


Another Ticketsolve customer has really engaged Facebook as a successful promotional medium, and over a 12-month period, they have seen four times their return on investment. Their success comes down to data-driven decision making, where they have tried and tested several ideas (with varying degrees of results), and changed their marketing strategies as needed. This data-driven mindset and the use of powerful tools such as Google Tag Manager has helped to define their very creative and results-oriented culture.  If you want to learn more about how to successfully implement data-driven thinking into your marketing campaigns, check out our Marketing Campaign Playbook.

Data-Driven Decision Making in Traditional Arts Marketing

Do we really need to send out brochures?

Brochure mailers are a standard in the arts industry. Direct mailers certainly have their place amongst certain (well defined) audiences. But brochures have a massive cost from production to mailing – they are not a cheap option for marketing. Often they are also generic, i.e., our whole database of patrons gets a brochure. But maybe we should deeply consider the value of brochures and specifically who should receive them. I personally receive brochures from various organisations when I haven’t been in attendance for over five years.

Our real-life example of this questioning, came recently when we worked with a Ticketsolve customer. Together, we carried out an A/B experiment on their direct mail brochures. In the end, we were able to save the customer £14,000 on their brochure mail outs. How can we justify such a cost without sufficient ROI?

Data Driven Thinking Lets You Move Fast

One of the key advantages of data-driven thinking is the ability for arts organisations to be agile. The arts industry is stretched: for time, money and resources. This is a given and a state of the industry that is not changing any time soon. Given the constraints arts and culture organisations face, a model that allows you to trial strategies, and importantly move away from those strategies if they are not working is a huge advantage. Learning to experiment – and potentially fail – is naturally something we are afraid of.  But if we could fail fast, that would give us the room to be agile and move quickly away from strategies and tactics that don’t work to ones that do, increasing our overall ROI.

Data is the key ingredient to create this agility.

Data-Driven Thinking: A Real World Example

We can point to a Ticketsolve customer to show you a real-world example of this data-driven mindset in action.

Using Ticketsolve’s Google Analytics integration, the theatre is able to see and analyse their customers’ journey down to a very fine level. This high level of clarity allows them to tweak marketing campaigns and messages to improve their return on investment. Similarly, with Facebook Ads, they are able to thoroughly analyse their data giving them invaluable remarketing information and strategies. Specifically, the Ticketsolve Mailchimp integration allows them to further improve their direct mail campaigns using automation with particular attention to re-engaging lapsed customers.

Having such focus on data, also means they have a focus on ROI. Take for example their Facebook Ads which are central to their overall marketing strategy. Using Ticketsolve’s Facebook integration they can establish ROI’s for every single campaign they run, giving them a deeper view into what works and what doesn’t. For example, in the last year they have run 719 campaigns on Facebook with a reach of almost 400,000 people. What is significant, however, is the ROI they got from these campaigns. From the 719 campaigns, they reached a ROI of 338%. One particular campaign saw a ROI of almost 3900%. The proof is in the results: the revenue generated from Facebook campaigns in 2017 alone accounted for almost 10% of their online sales. This really shows how powerful data can be, and the feedback loop that can help to fine-tune marketing campaigns, strategies and tactics.

Data Driven Thinking is Integral to Ticketsolve

Data-driven thinking has always been central to the development and improvement of the  Ticketsolve platform. Looking at aggregate customer data has allowed us to really understand the patron buying journey. This understanding helped structure how we refined and redeveloped the Ticketsolve front-end. We looked closely at how patrons navigate sites that use the Ticketsolve platform. These real user experiences, which are recorded on Ticketsolve customer sites, helped to ensure that our redeveloped front end improves on the customers’ buying journey. We are constantly using real user data to improve Ticketsolve’s front and back end, making it more user-friendly.A Final Thought

Love it or hate it, GDPR has forced us to reevaluate how we gather, use and keep customer data. We have the opportunity to really re-examine our relationship with data, find that silver lining, and use data as a driver to help our own decision making, and ultimately, improve our customer relationships.  

Welcome Lucy!

We’re not sure Lucy could pack more arts experience into her career, but we are certainly happy she has!

A big welcome to Lucy, who joins our Sales and Marketing team, from Flynn’s Irish Memory Orchestra, where she was project manager.

A fluent Irish speaker, Lucy has worked with The Ark Children’s Cultural Centre and with Ceoil an Gheimhridh, where she was an adjudicator.

With a BA in Irish Music and Dance and an MA in Arts Management and Cultural Policy, we are confident that Lucy will a great addition to the Ticketsolve team and our customers.

Pop her an email to say hello!

Welcome Siobhán!

Sometimes you just get lucky – we definitely did when we were looking to expand Ticketsolve’s Sales and Marketing team.

We are incredibly excited to welcome Siobhán to Ticketsolve!

Siobhán comes to Ticketsolve with a solid background in sales, marketing and PR.

Most recently, Siobhán worked with Irish Film & Television Network (IFTN) / Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA). As part of her role, she was responsible for pitching to potential advertising clients, as well as managing the social media accounts for the company.

Siobhán has also worked as a volunteer coordinator with Indiependence Music and Arts Festival managing and coordinating volunteers for the festival.

Her background in sales and management is outstanding, we are delighted to have her on board! Don’t forget to pop her a mail to say hello!




Why Did We Choose The New Brand Identity? Or What Have You Done to Louie!

Brands are funny things. Think about it. We take an icon, and fill it with meaning. Have a look at this:

You know what it is immediately – but more importantly – you feel something about it. Good or bad, you feel it. And we do it over and over and over again with brands. Apple, Coke, even brands in the arts industry – we pour emotion into them.

Because of this, rebrands can be risky. Remember Gap’s rebranding misstep?

That is why we have taken our own rebrand slowly. With plenty of time for research and feedback.

Our current brand – black and deep pink with Louie at the helm – has been with us for a long time. Louie has always been a part of the brand and we have tried our best to imbue him with a little personality when we can. But as much as we love Louie he couldn’t quite capture the company we have evolved into.

As we started to explore where we wanted to go with the new branding, the first step was trying to hone in on our core values – figuring out who we really are. Part of that process was also getting a better understanding of how customers viewed us.

Through our early research, there were three main ideas that stood out about the perception of Ticketsolve: our excellent customer support, our human approach to everything we do, and Ticketsolve as problem solvers.

These ideas really seemed to resonate with customers, but equally important, they resonated internally. Especially intriguing were the ideas around friendliness and solving problems.

The challenge was how to visually communicate these ideas. How do we encompass all that in a brand identity? Could Louie do that for us or did we need something new?

Working with a Professional Branding Company

Working with a professional branding company has meant we were able to explore these ideas further. They were able to bring our story to life exploring the idea of Ticketsolve as problem solvers, while still keeping the very human face of Ticketsolve intact.

The Brand Story

The idea we hit upon when thinking about Ticketsolve’s main messages, was around the idea of a puzzle. Puzzles are really interesting as a concept. There are many pieces, when put together form a coherent picture. They can be simple or complex. You can work on them by yourself, but it is much more fun to work on them with others. They require problem-solving skills, the ability to see the bigger picture and even creativity.

Puzzles are a great analogy to our Ticketsolve work.

The incomplete puzzle represents potential challenges and problems arts organisations face. Ticketsolve helps to solve the puzzle. We help arts organisations overcome these challenges, through a feature-rich platform, and direct collaboration and consultation with customers.

The Brand Identity

Our new brand id is a tangram (dissection puzzle consisting of flat shapes called tans). When the geometric tans are put together they can form a variety of different shapes.


For Ticketsolve, this works well on so many levels:

  • Features: Breadth and depth of functionality
  • Service: Working closely with customers to make sure they achieve their goals
  • Community: The Ticketsolve community
  • Development: All the parts working as a whole

Both visually and conceptually the puzzle can be an engaging a unique way to convey our messaging.


The entire tone of the branding is to build off of the Ticketsolve name; solving problems with a human approach. We wanted to communicate our passion for the arts, our drive to work together with arts organisations and make them stronger, and that we are always there to lend a hand.

The tone of voice is passionate, positive and friendly.

One glaring problem with the puzzle idea was that it needed a bit more personality. So, we opted on a second level of imagery using photography to capture the human side of Ticketsolve. This combination of people plus the tans really captures the people plus problem-solving brand ID we wanted to communicate.

Where Are We Now

We are now in the process of designing and developing the imagery for the website and collateral. Our mid-March deadline was a little ambitious, so we are a ways yet from completion, but we needed to make sure we got it right.

We hope we’ve given you a better feel for the branding we have chosen. We’d love to hear your thoughts on our new look!

Welcome Ben!

We are delighted to announce a new member of our support team – welcome Ben!


Ben is an arts guy through and through, having worked with Spektrix prior to joining us. He has been involved in projects with Sheffield Theatres, Chichester Festival Theatre and Town
Hall Symphony Hall in Birmingham to name a few.


We are incredibly delighted to have him join Ticketsolve where his in-depth box office and ticketing experience will be an amazing asset for our customers, especially during onboardings. His experience includes project management, customer support, as well as direct box office and systems management experience (when he worked with The Lowry). In his spare time, volunteers on the management committee of an amateur dramatic society where he helps out backstage and with sales and marketing.


Ben is based in the UK, so we are certain you will be seeing a lot of him – if you have not already.


Drop him a line to say hello!

Does Real Social Media ROI Exist?

There is a lot of information on social media ROI, finding it, measuring it, and maintaining it. How do you best measure it? What about other “fuzzy” benefits? In this post, we’re getting to grips with the beast that is social media ROI.


First . . . Goals.

Before even starting to think about ROI, we need to consider what our goals are for each social media channel. Customer acquisition, clicks, offers, competitions, etc. Clearly knowing what you expect from each channel – and knowing what success looks like is our first step. In the case of venues, theatres and festivals those goals might be to increase customer service, boost ticket sales, see a rise in offers or discount use, online contest signup, membership signups, video views or something else. Not everything need be a sales goal, but all your content needs to be ultimately driving to a sale. And remember that some channels are good at driving sales, while other channels might be better for customer service. For example, Twitter is a great channel for running contests, offers and managing some aspects of customer service. 


Which Platform?

Well, that depends. Where is your audience? Who is your audience? When are they on social media? They might be spread out or they might all really live in one place. Using some analytics, get into your data and find out where your audience and fans are – that is where you need to be as well. That said, some channels are definitely better than others depending on your goals. So for example, Facebook is ubiquitous – this is one channel you have to be on. Pintrest? If your audience is mostly women and you are focused mainly on lifestyle or products – then it is definitely for you. For most Ticketsolve customers, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram work best. But again – take a look at your audience personas – where ever they are is where you need to be. We can email you Ticketsolve’s Creating The Perfect Campaign Playbook which can really help you devise the best strategy.


Get Tracking.

For years, we’ve attended the AMA conferences and Theatre Forum conferences, where the virtues of social media have been – very rightly – touted. But measuring the success of these campaigns has been notoriously difficult. But with the right tools, you can start to visualise how successful your campaigns are. Our next step is to start building a picture of ROI for your campaigns. In order to do that you need some tools. Ticketsolve’s Facebook and Google Analytics integrations mean you are already on your way to getting rich social media data. There are a ton of tools for tracking and measuring your data – some free, others not. Our suggestion is to start with the basics and build up from there as you gain understanding and determine exactly what your arts venue needs.


How Ticketsolve Can Help You Determine ROI.

So now let’s take a look at how to determine ROI from your social media campaigns, using a real Ticketsolve customer as an example.

Using Ticketsolve’s integration with Facebook, our example 300+ seat theatre is able to take a deeper view into their ROI to understand which campaigns are working and which ones are not. This focus on ROI means that the theatre can adjust their social media activities quickly. Utilising Facebook so efficiently means they save time and money, and get much better reach. For example, in the last year the theatre ran 719 campaigns on Facebook with a reach of almost 400,000 people. The ROI from these campaigns? From the 719 campaigns they saw an ROI of 338%. One campaign saw an astounding ROI of almost 3900%.

This ROI translates into Facebook campaigns generating real revenue of almost 10% of their online sales in 2017.

In addition, the theatre uses Ticketsolve’s Facebook Pixel integration. This allows them to monitor their data even more closely, and make adjustments to campaigns to improve ROI. Ticketsolve’s Facebook Pixel integration data, also gives the theatre an accurate representation of their audience’s behaviour, helping to close the loop on the customer journey and experience online.

Finally, using Ticketsolve’s Google Analytics integration, the theatre tracks and reports website traffic, and can begin to make direct correlations to social media links and purchases. Coupled with Google Adwords, they can review online marketing campaigns and review landing page quality and online conversions, across desktop and mobile. The ability to really dive deep into their data, and tweak their campaigns has allowed the theatre to see a sizeable lift in their ROI on social media and Google Adwords in the last 12 months.


Closing the Loop: Remarketing.

One the key benefits of tracking and measuring your data so finely is the ability to remarket to your customers. In order to remarket, you need to be able to understand where customers are falling off the purchase process. Ticketsolve is fully integrated with Google Analytics, and Facebook Ads giving you full visibility of your customers’ journey. This high level of clarity allows you to adjust marketing campaigns and events to improve your ROI.

With this data, you can then re-engage customers with Google Remarketing Ads, even within MailChimp, to draw them back in. Remarketing really boosts your ROI – maximising every pound or euro you spend on social media and beyond!

Why not try measuring ROI, and remarketing now? Try these tips from Mailchimp on making the most of social ads during the holidays.