Live from RECHARGE! Missing Audiences and Legitimate Interest Communications
Join Anna Walsh, Director of Theatre Forum, Aoife Demel from Mermaid Arts Centre, Marie Claire Cowley, from An Táin Arts and Ticketsolve’s Aoileann Ní Riain as they discuss how legitimate interest can be used to re-engage with customers.
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Anna Walsh : Welcome to the Arts and Everything in between podcast brought to you by ticketsolv.
Lucy Costelloe: I’m just going to give a big warm welcome. We’ve got a few people now joining us up on stage. The first is Anna Walsh, director of Theater Forum. I’m also delighted to welcome IFA from Mermaid and Mary Claire from Montana. And we also have our own Elaine Irene joining us as well to take us through a case study example now of a project that we’ve been working on with Theater Forum and lots of different organizations as well in Ireland. So I’ll welcome Anna first to the stage. Thank you.
Anna Walsh : Lucy. Thank you very much. But standing here today, this is a bit of an impostor role because Lucy and everybody who’s participated in the Marketing Commissions project has actually done all the hard work. But going back to the start of this project, back about this time last year, we were hearing reports that ticket sales were very slow with the few exceptions, few notable exceptions, but ticket sales in general had slowed down and audiences were not coming back as quickly as we might have expected them to. And capacity was an issue where people were finding it difficult and their marketing efforts, albeit that they were very significant, weren’t yielding them the results and the ticket sales that they might have or that they should have. So over the course of the summer, in association with Katie Reigns, we carried out the Missing Audiences Survey, which many venues participated in and that identified the reasons why people might not have been coming back as quickly as they might have been or might have been expected to. The reporting and the analysis of those findings identified that people weren’t really familiar or didn’t know about again, with a few notable exceptions about the work or the shows that were available or that they could go and see, or that they could attend, whether it be their city venue or in their town venue, art center or wherever. So a lack of information over those early few months was a feature of why or one reason why audience didn’t seem to be returning as might have been expected. A series of certainly I would have been receiving emails from a number of organizations, but notably not receiving any from others. And then when we came to a marketing forum last September, it was Katie Reigns and Heather Maitland who worked in delivering this project with Lucy over the last few months, flagged that people’s database and contacts, which, when the missing audience survey was being sent out, people were cleaning that database for the first time in maybe two years. Two and a half years. So there had been a lot of decay and a lot of contacts in that database that hadn’t necessarily the cleaning hadn’t been done regularly. So it took people longer to send out the missing Audience’s survey than we had expected or we had projected that combined with different organizations, sending out email and other information to previous ticket purchasers. They were doing things differently, people were doing things differently. And Katie Flagged to us. And with the ticket solve team, we looked more closely at what we described as the marketing permissions workshops and going back and I know the horror show of GDPR. And all those years ago, it had us all sort of cornered into GDPR opt ins, opt outs, receiving email, promotional material, receiving brochures by post. And it had us all terrified into the fact, including Theater Forum, that once we had our mailing lists and our database, we didn’t want to do anything more. We didn’t want to touch it, because we knew that there were potential GDPR breaches all over the place. But Katie flagged at that time the fact that for most arts organizations with the database that you might only have permission to contact between ten and at best 30, 40% of those contacts on your database, they might not have given you permission. The database could be made up of people who had received opening night invitations, who’d received comps, who hadn’t given you permission, had given you permission for email, but not for post or vice versa. So that combination, it’s obviously different for every organization, but it means that the traditional opt in to receive marketing information from the organization was working against the marketing effort. So it was Katie who I say identified the legitimate interest, which was the reason that we were all receiving emails and promotional material from airlines, from retail organizations, from ticketmaster. If you had bought anything from that organization. They can take that as legitimate interest. And that’s the basis on which they were sending you and me and everybody else lots and lots of marketing material and lots and lots of promotional material in relation to adopting a legitimate interest. Assuming that if you as an audience member have bought a ticket, you are then treated as being legitimately interested in receiving marketing information for that organization does have a basis in GDPR and in legislation. So you do have to be careful and you do have to do what is called a balancing test, where you look at the interests of the consumer or the person who’s receiving in the information balanced against the basis on which the organization is making that assumption that it can send you the marketing information. So Katie and Lucy have very kindly worked through these templates and they are available. And it’s simply a test for you to work through with your team, with your board, to say that yes, it is in the interest of the customer to receive this information. And on balance, this is what the team are signing off on. So the first round of marketing permissions workshops are about to come to a close in the next month. The templates and so much of the useful working through all of the sort of back end privacy policies, all of the wording for statements for customers, they’ve all been very carefully crafted and put together by Lucy working with Katie and with the frontiers people who’ve already moved to legitimate interest. So over to you. And I hope that your experience might persuade others to adopt this. And essentially in the current climate, this is probably thankfully, I think audience numbers have come back and people are experiencing ticket sales are on the increase and that is a very healthy and a very good thing. But what it might do in the future. And in going back to some of the climate action actions talked about this morning, moving to legitimate interest for your future marketing effort might actually make that effort more efficient, more time efficient, more cost efficient and more communications efficient in that you’re not wasting time and effort with those audience members ticket buyers. That is not going to produce another ticket sale or in the future. So it’s probably in the future it’s probably more about efficiency and marketing efficiency and a return on your time and on your investment and your effort rather than a GDP or legitimate interest database argument. But that’s for over to you IFA thank you.
Lucy Costelloe: And I’m going to grab Elon now, who’s going to come up and give a quick tour just on how you might set this up through ticketsolve. Thanks, Elon.
Lucy Costelloe: Thanks very much, Elaine. So we have the absolute pleasure of welcoming two organizations today who have gone live with legitimate interest and are going to share a little insight into their experiences that they’ve had. So I think we’ll just start off, if it’s okay. Some of our delegates here today have been speaking with so many of you on lunch, and so far the feedback has been really positive. So we’re going to talk data now or we’re going to talk GDPR. We all love a little bit of GDPR, but what we want to do is just kind of highlight some of the results that IFA and Mary Claire have really experienced since changing over to legitimate interest. So if you’re okay, maybe IFA just to give a quick introduction into you.
Lucy Costelloe: Thank you. And just, I suppose, a question that I have. And Anna, if you have any questions as well for ifo or Mary Claire, but in terms of, I suppose, particularly giving guidance to members of your team who might be dealing with customers over the phone or in person. And kind of instilling that confidence amongst your team. Have you any tips or advice? Or could you just share a little insight into the experience that you’ve had?
Mary Claire Cowley: Yeah, well, one thing we did, I have an absolutely amazing colleague. She’s here today, Linda. She’s our front house and marketing officer. So we work very, very closely together. And her and I basically just really sat down and thought about, okay, how are we going to talk to the rest of our front to house and box office staff and explain to them how they need to save? Specific things now and make sure that they do it with every customer purchase as well. So that you know that we’re definitely adhering to all the guidelines. And so I just got all of our front to house staff in a room. I scheduled the time. I said, Everybody come in, told them why it was important that we were doing this, told them what the reasons were behind it all. And then we just role played and just pretended to be different customers and just role played the conversations. And we had a little script and what you say to somebody if they’re like, oh, no, I don’t want that. That’s no problem, that’s fine. So that’s basically just what we did. And then just alleviated their fears as well. If they’re feeling like they’re under pressure, there’s walk ups coming up and the show is about to go up and I have to ask the customer this. And we just found different ways that suited within our organization to give them the opportunity to be able to manage that and not feel under pressure.
Aoife Damel: And very similarly, in Mermaid, we’re blessed with a really strong box office team. We have Steph here, our box office manager today, and she has a fantastic way with customers. You’d want to opt in for more after talking to Steph, so we haven’t had any problems at all. So she has briefed her team and we have our little script on that, but we haven’t really needed it. We just say to people, most people are buying tickets online anyway, so it’s their decision. And if they’re at box office, then staff will say, you’re ticked in there now to get our newsletter. Is that okay? And it’s something as simple and as friendly as that, and if people don’t want it, they’ll say it. But the majority of people seem happy to hear from us and it’s definitely working so far. Now, we only have seven weeks of data, but it’s a lot of email addresses. When I was doing our analysis of our mailing list, I do it on a monthly basis, but there’s been a couple of blips through the years. There was the GDPR, which we we lost a chunk of emails there in 2018. Then, I don’t know if you recall, AIRCOM started to charge for the email addresses and there was another drop down. Then it picked up a little bit as people came back to us with their Gmails. And then during COVID it did despite our best efforts to send them newsletters on what was not happening, we did lose, we did lose. Like, the chart will go down a little bit, but it’s skyrocketed since the 9th of Jan again. So it’s really nice. It’s nice to have some positive news after the pandemic. And people can unsubscribe at any time, so we don’t feel like we’re doing anything shady or tricking them. They have the option to leave again. So definitely would recommend it.
Lucy Costelloe: We were doing a little bit of a conversation yesterday because as you can imagine, if and Mary Claire in the hot seats currently, like, they’re talking GDPR to a room filled with GDPR enthusiasts, as we can clearly see. But I think something that really struck out in the conversations as we were developing how we were going to pinpoint some of the fear aspects. So definitely around customer complaints and mass on Subscribes, they were instantly wiped out because neither of you have experienced those. But something that I found so interesting was what became our conversation started, and it was very much filled with fear and we weren’t too certain, and it started to grow into something that turned into and now we love to see the numbers rise. And I think that’s something maybe just to touch on, like the fun side of legitimate interest.
Lucy Costelloe: Amazing. So who would have thought GDPR was a Friday afternoon task? But there you have it. I just love to just kind of touch on Anna and Mary Claire. Sorry IFA and Mary Claire have spoken so much about their resources. Anna and just if you would maybe direct some of our because I can feel good things are happening and there’s a wave towards legitimate interest. Maybe just to give an insight into the amount of instructions and webinars and step by steps that are currently on the website available.
Anna Walsh : Well, all of the policy templates as well as the balancing test template, they’re all available. The sessions with Lucy and with Katie reigns have been recorded. The Q and A’s are there and I think there have been additional ticket solve webinars that particularly in response to things like MailChimp and combining maybe the contacts that you had collected from the older opt in system and then combining those with the legitimate interest ones. So all of those things have been worked out and all of the support material and ticket solve instructions are there. We will collect it all into one place and maybe share that link with Lucy on the website so that everything is there. And if there was enough interest, we would repeat the series of workshops because I think there is value in the workshop in that if you have to turn up in the group and be interrogated by Katie lucy was always the very nice one, katie was always the very demanding one. And to be interrogated by Katie as to what you had or hadn’t done since the last workshop I think might have been an inspiration to some, but we’re very happy to do a short sort of repeat of those workshops because I think they do help. And the one to ones and the ability to ask questions and the support and other people’s experience I think is really useful. So we’re very happy to do that. If people are interested, there may be a group of festivals because the first group was art centers, but another group before festival season is in full flight. There would be maybe value in doing a similar series of workshops, but with a focus on festivals, but very happy to do either if people are interested.
Lucy Costelloe: What we could do is open up the floor for any questions that you might have for either Anna IFA or Mary Claire. Oh, we do have questions. Thank you Connor for I was like, I won’t be able to see them now.
Aoife Damel: Yeah, no, to be honest, no, we just made the change over at the start of the new year we didn’t do out of comms notification that we’re doing this internally yes, with our management team and with the team but we just made the switch as part of our ticketing I’d have to think about that. I suppose you’d need to look at the amount of ticket sales that came through the system and see how many of those customers are opted in. The unsubscribes are very low. So people who were signed in and then left afterwards after a show but I don’t have data on how many people would have bought a ticket and then unticked. I don’t know if it’s possible to see that in tickets off if they’ve unticked. I don’t know.
Aoileann Ni Rian: It might be a.
Aoife Damel: Ticket solve question, but I don’t yet anyway. It’s a good question though. And also I’d be interested in spending time to work out from the emails that have signed up since the 9 January what the revenue of that is. I mean, maybe they were going to come anyway, but now I have them for selling the next show to them. So it’s interesting. Yeah, I don’t know if you do.
Mary Claire Cowley: I actually don’t have anything just like same but no, it’s true. Again, I don’t know if tickets off know how to do that report that that might be really helpful to do and also to find out the actual financial benefit to the organization of this transition would be really helpful to know as well.
Speaker G: It would be possible to report on that. So it’ll be date based. So from the 1 January, for example, you can report on people who bought online. You can also see those people who are opted in. So there are people who left the tick in the box and you can see people who are not opted in. There are people who physically opted themselves out. So you can get access to that data, certainly. And we can help you do it if you’re not sure how.
Aoileann Ni Rian: Great.
Aoife Damel: What he said.
Lucy Costelloe: We have a few questions coming in here now. So we are just say recording this session. So that’s why if we could just use the mic. Perfect. If we can’t, no worries at all.
Aoileann Ni Rian: Hi. Janice from Backstage. I’m hoping that old adage of there’s no such thing as a stupid question holds for this. Mary Claire, you mentioned that you ticked the update button on tickets all for MailChimp and I was like, there’s an update button?
Mary Claire Cowley: Oh, just update the report. Yeah, okay.
Anna Walsh : All right.
Mary Claire Cowley: That’s all right. No, sorry, use the wrong language.
Speaker H: Hi, I’m Mary and I am the marketing manager at Gawi International Arts Festival. So I just like to say yes, there is definitely interest from Gawi International Arts Festival. If you do run another series and is there a way I can get an email or how do we just get in contact to express interest in kind of running this workshop or learning more about how to implement this?
Anna Walsh : If you would want to just find myself and Lucy just directly after this session when there’s a coffee break, we’ll look at maybe just putting in place a series of workshops. It’ll have to be soon though, before festival season kicks off and before you go on sale, we have a question down here.
Speaker I: Hi, I’m Fiona from Thrive. I’m the data gig, so I’m on after you. So I suppose when I listen to it, my question is always, what next? So you get all this really good new customers. I want to know how they behave differently than the people that you already have. So just wondering what metrics you’re looking at. This is a stupid question. You’re not going to know the answer to this question, but I’d be fascinated to know if there’s a change in either the demographics of those customers, are they different people or do they behave differently on future reporting?
Anna Walsh : In a general way, fiona? In a general way. I think the thinking and the origins of this change over go back to people who have attended a performance in your venue before. Getting them to come back for one and ideally, two or more performances is a very efficient use of your marketing budget. So that’s the basis of this entire approach. The analysis of the customers, whether it be by the numbers of types of show or the genre that they’re interested in, can all be done in the way that it’s been done before. But I think the legitimate interest approach certainly facilitates the presale of tickets to audiences who’ve been to work of a similar nature before and has been used very effectively. So it’s probably more rather than hugely detailed sociodemographic analysis, it’s probably more what are the preferences in terms of program preferences that people have? And it makes it much easier to sell and pre sell tickets to similar work in the future, sometimes well into the future.
Speaker I: Yeah. It’s so interesting. I’d love to see the results of it. Just a quick plug for Thrive. We’ve worked with Kitty many times in the past. We also have lovely stuff we’ve stuffed on privacy stuff on our website. I’m a great proponent of write your privacy statement in the same tone you write your other marketing material and make sure it’s not as dry as Dos.
Lucy Costelloe: Thank you. Are we any more questions this side of the room? No. In that case, I’d like just to take the opportunity to give a massive round of applause. Chief and Ray Claire, as you can imagine, it was not easy getting up talking about GDPR. Thank you both. Massive. Thank you as well. To Anna at Theater Forum. And Irma and Casey are also here today from Theater Forum. Thank you so much for everything. And thank you to our wonderful panel.
Anna Walsh : And Lucy for making it all happen as well.
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