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Your Patrons Love Scripts On Stage, But Not In The Box Office

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:00:35 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Matthew Robinson, Senior Implementation Specialist, Patron Technology.
I don’t know if you’re like me, but I dread calling up customer service representatives. We all have a nightmare story about the time you called “Company A” and they treated you so poorly that you’ll never do business with them again. Don’t worry; I won’t ask you to relive that maddening experience. In fact, just for good measure, take a breath.
I was worried that I was going to have a situation like that a couple of weeks ago: I had rented a Zipcar, the well known car-sharing service which allows you to rent a car for a couple of hours at a time. But, when attempting to return my rental to the parking spot reserved for it, I noticed another (non-Zipcar) car parked there — I immediately got a knot in my stomach. After checking the “Someone is in my spot!” button in the app, I accepted that I was going to need to call and talk to someone…
Within the first minute of the call, I explained the scenario, and the Zipcar rep said: “Oh man, that’s so rude of them.” This comment was quite a turning point in the conversation, because (as far as I’m aware) no company would script that kind of off-the-cuff reaction. I knew I was working with a real person.
I understand the draw of scripting calls from a management standpoint: you can ensure that the same information is getting to the customer regardless of the employee with whom they are talking. While you may gain a level of consistency, you lose the personal connection which will keep your patrons engaged with your organization.
I may be overly critical of the practice, but as a customer, I find it a little insulting when a company scripts a conversation with information which can (hopefully) be found on their website. Most scripts also try to replicate a personal connection with phrases like “I understand that must be frustrating for you” or “please know that your call is important.” When I hear that, I know that my input is not truly going to affect this conversation. ...

The post Your Patrons Love Scripts On Stage,
But Not In The Box Office
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Managing Humans: Getting Started as a Mentor

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 13:00:04 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is the fourth in a six-part series by Rachel Hands, Senior Manager, Client Administration, Patron Technology. Click here to start at part one. 
In our last post in this series, I made the case for investing the time and energy in mentoring relationships, even if your team is small. If you’re new to mentoring, this post is designed to help you understand how to gauge whether that’s what’s needed, how to get started, and what to expect from each other as a mentor/mentee.
The main purpose of any mentoring relationship is to help the mentee set and reach career goals. If you’re approaching this as a mentor, you have a few jobs in this relationship:

Listen to the mentee, and ask questions about their interests and goals.
Help them clarify goals that might not be fully formed.
Help them identify and access the resources they need to meet those goals.
Help them identify and make plans to develop the skills they need.
Hold them accountable for acting on those plans.
Act as an advocate for them in areas where you have influence and they don’t.

Here are a few questions to consider as you approach a mentoring relationship from the mentee perspective, to help you decide if a mentorship is the right fit:

Do you know what you want to do in your career, or what opportunities exist in your field?
Do you know what resources or skills you need to succeed at what you want to do?
Does the prospective mentor have the means and expertise to help you develop and meet those goals?
Do you trust the prospective mentor to advocate for you?

Let’s focus for a moment on the question of what it means to be an advocate. In some cases, being a mentor/advocate might mean asking the board to budget for a promotion or salary raise for your mentee; maybe it means convincing your organization’s leadership to implement cloud-based systems that allow folks more flexibility to work remotely. Advocacy (sometimes also described as sponsorship) is especially important if the mentee is not at the beginning of their career and doesn’t need as much guidance ...

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The Rise of the Intelligent Machine

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 13:00:56 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kirsten Main, Account Executive, Patron Technology. 
Each year, the Center for the Future of Museums (CFM) releases an annual report highlighting top trends they believe will be highly significant to museums. These are trends that are apt to shape the ways museums engage with visitors, and will also likely affect how institutions equip themselves and their communities for the future. I always enjoy reading through the Trendswatch report because the identified trends are sometimes unexpected, always well researched, and inevitably worth exploring.
This year’s report (which can be downloaded from the CFM site here) did not disappoint. One identified trend that caught my eye was the one titled ‘The Rise of the Intelligent Machine’, which immediately made me think of HAL, the good computer gone bad in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Watson, the mega-machine that beat the pants off Jeopardy’s two greatest human champions in 2011.
The report goes on to discuss artificial intelligence (AI), and how its emergence holds both promise and peril. Whether AI is heaven sent or hell bent is being hotly contested in Silicon Valley at the moment — the April edition of Vanity Fair magazine has an excellent article on the debate — and is not likely to be decided soon. After all, the topic of AI brings up some heavy questions. Does the fate of humanity hinge on how we handle AI today? Will we all turn into cyborgs? Will AI vastly improve our lives?
While Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are duking it out over humanity’s future, I’m intrigued about what the AI trend means for museums. While it’s fun to imagine the fantastic (the Terminator leading a museum tour, or Roombas going crazy in galleries), the reality is that AI is already on the scene. Here are a few places we have already seen — or will see in the very near future — AI at work in the museum landscape:

Exhibits and programming aimed at educating and informing visitors about AI — what it means, who it affects, how we society will make decisions around its use
As a tool to handle museum data sets ...

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Adopting a “Jobs to Be Done” Mentality to Arts Innovation and Customer Service

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 13:00:16 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, Patron Technology. 
I’ve just recently finished reading the book Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Service by Clayton M. Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, and David S. Duncan.
The book’s central premise is to help people rethink the way they approach purchasing anything, using their “jobs to be done” framework. In the book, the authors suggest that customers “hire” products and services because these things accomplish something for the customer easily or cost effectively. In order for a customer to “fire” one product or service, another product or service must provide a level of innovation or customer service that sways the customer to “hire” it. For businesses, there is an opportunity to redefine what is delivered to the customer by focusing on the customer’s “jobs to be done.”
An excellent example is Amazon. Amazon innovated beyond traditional retailers by putting literally millions of items in front of the customer, far more than a typical brick-and-mortar business, at more competitive pricing. However, Amazon went further by engaging with the customer and redefining how customer service was measured. Instead of concentrating on a revenue model metric regarding how many items were shipped in a given period, Amazon chose to concentrate on the number of items successfully delivered to customers in a given period. Redefining success around customer service and the job that the customer needed to get done meant that more customers were hiring Amazon when it came to purchases.
I can relate to this strategy because I recently ordered a violin technique book for my daughter from Amazon. The item arrived exactly when Amazon promised — right before my daughter’s next violin lesson. Great! Unfortunately, upon its arrival, I realized that I had ordered the wrong edition. When I returned the order, not only did Amazon refund my order, but it also shipped the correct edition overnight. Amazon didn’t even want the wrong edition back. For Amazon, it was simply the cost of doing business. For me, I was still able to get the job I needed to get done for my daughter and her violin teacher.
What does ...

The post Adopting a “Jobs to Be Done” Mentality to
Arts Innovation and Customer Service
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Is Your Donation Page Costing You Money?

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 13:00:12 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Aaron Schwartzbord, Marketing Manager, Patron Technology. 
A few months ago I received a call from my alma mater, asking me to make a donation to its annual fund. I decided to make the donation but asked if I could pay at a later time. They told me that this was no problem and within a few days, I received a reminder in the mail.
I sat down a few months later to make the donation online through their website — I filled out all of the fields and even decided to give more than I originally pledged. I clicked “Confirm” and was surprised to get an error message telling me there was a problem and my transaction could not be completed. Thinking I had missed a field or mistyped my credit card number, I filled in my information once more, but again I received the same error message:

Worried that I had caused the error somehow, I emailed the alumni office. They responded that they were having problems with their credit card processor at the moment and would let me know when the issue was resolved and I could finish my transaction.
I had committed to making this donation and I bet they would have continued to remind me to complete it had I just given up that day. However, imagine now that you have a patron who wants to make an unsolicited donation and they go to your website and get this type of error message. Do you think they’re going to tell you or just move on?
While we don’t all have the time to test our online forms daily (or even weekly), it’s vital that we do routine checks as we are relying more and more on these tools and methods for patron activities, especially giving. When was the last time you checked your online donation form?
Beyond just making sure that the forms are working, testing periodically can also help you make sure that the content and flow of the forms still make sense and are communicating accurate information. It could be as easy as setting a monthly reminder to spend 15 minutes to test ...

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Are You Rising to the Opportunity of CRM?

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 13:00:55 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Matt Lehrman, Audience Avenue LLC. 
Matt Lehrman’s consulting work is focused on helping arts & cultural organizations build their audiences. I thought this blog post was a great perspective of someone who sees our industry from a slightly different vantage than I do.
– Gene Carr, CEO Patron Technology
As with most things in life, “wanting” and “having” are entirely different situations.
As leaders of arts & cultural organizations, we aspire to the order, efficiency, accountability, durability, and rational decision-making promised by customer relationship management (CRM) technology. There is, unquestionably, virtue and value from being able to unify and systematize every facet of patron engagement.
For organizations that have not yet taken steps to explore or deploy CRM technology I bluntly ask, “What the heck are you waiting for?” If you’re not willing to strengthen the ways in which you serve relationships to your donors and audience members, there are countless other businesses, causes, and communities that will gladly (and vigorously) step in to take your patrons elsewhere.
Simply put, there is no good reason to not want a CRM system.
Yet there is a very good reason to NOT have a CRM system: Don’t buy the tool if you’re not willing to use it.
CRM is not merely “fundraising” or “marketing” software. It’s unlike accounting or project management software that serves only a few specialized positions. I advise my consulting clients to recognize CRM as their organization’s new “operating system” – the central technology by which staff assigns and organizes tasks, collaborates, and communicates.
It’s easy to be misled by the word “customer.” But when you appreciate that “customers” can be both external and internal, it becomes clear that the power of CRM technology is “Relationship Management” — how a technology framework drives communication, productivity, and accountability.
So, are you willing to inject that much rigor into your organization’s administrative process? Do you possess the personal diligence to write up the substance and takeaways of all your customer encounters — and expect every other member of your team to do the same? Are you willing to assign (and receive) tasks through this technology? How committed are you to training and sustaining the ...

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Museums and the Web 2017

Thu, 01 Jun 2017 13:00:45 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Allison Klein, Senior Platform Specialist, Patron Technology. 
Last month I headed to Cleveland, OH to attend the Museums and the Web (MW) conference. MW 2017 was the 20th conference held by the Museums and the Web group, and it brought together a wide variety of museum professionals and the companies that support them from all over the world. As a self-proclaimed museum nerd, I felt lucky to be there among them!
Here are some of the highlights —
Over the course of three days of MW sessions, I got to hear from technologists from across the museum sector about their most exciting projects and initiatives. Inclusivity and accessibility were among the recurring themes that resounded through all the presentations that I attended.
The opening plenary started with conference chair Sina Bahran boldly stating that in 2017, inclusivity and accessibility should never be thought of as the “phase 2” part of a project — whether technical or creative/programmatic — they have to be phase 1 objectives. It was so interesting to hear how organizations and the tech companies that support them were applying these themes in so many different ways.
Several of the sessions I attended highlighted how museums can embrace technology so that they can have a more personal relationship with their visitors. Whether that means using a CRM system to bust the data silos that exist between departments, or developing a wayfinding app that gives people directions around the museum using the kind of language a real person would (“Take a left at the giant bug”), the topic came up again and again.
Other presentations focused on how museums can embrace the technology that visitors already use on a daily basis and use those platforms to let their visitors create content. The La Brea Tar Pits & Museum, for example,  has had a lot of success with this. They launched a YouTube campaign that went viral and used that to drum up interest for what’s become a popular Instagram contest. The museum then uses the visitor-generated content in targeted Facebook ads to reach ...

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Content Marketing Pep Talk

Tue, 30 May 2017 13:00:09 +0000

Content marketing has become a definable marketing strategy in the corporate world, and something that most arts organizations should do regularly. If you’re unaware of the benefits of content marketing and/or are not doing it now, this post may jump-start your efforts.
Here’s how Wikipedia defines content marketing (the words in bold below are my takeaways):
Content marketing means attracting and transforming prospects into customers by creating and sharing valuable free content. The content should be relevant to the business area and category so that the audience will remember and make a selection. The purpose of content marketing is to help the company to create sustainable brand loyalty and provide valuable information to impressed consumers, as well as let them be willing to purchase their products in the future. This relatively new form of marketing usually does not involve direct sales. Instead, it encourages the audience to make a purchase from the company when they are ready.
Many corporations are still pretty challenged to do content marketing as you’ll see from this infographic from Hubspot.
My sense is that content marketing in the corporate world is hard. After all, how can you reliably and sustainably produce content for months and years talking about socks, peanut butter, or faucets?
We in the arts, however, have it so easy! We have actors, directors, dramaturgs, playwrights, and new shows/exhibits all the time. We have an endless stream of so-called content to engage with our audiences about. I see a lot of newsletters from arts organizations that do a fantastic job of embracing this — offering backstage interviews, preview shots of sets being built, and even live webinars.
The arts should own content marketing — we have so much opportunity to do so, and it’s so valuable. Next time you think you don’t have enough time to create a piece of content, consider how fortunate we are to have so much to talk to our audience about. Not doing content marketing seems unfathomable.

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Why Big Data Isn’t Enough: The Influence of Emotion and Neuroscience Over Marketing in the Arts

Thu, 25 May 2017 13:00:25 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kathryn Schmitt, Data Migration Specialist, Patron Technology. 
We already know that data plays a key role in marketing for your organization. It provides you with a keener understanding of your patrons: knowing their buying or donating patterns and preferences makes for more targeted and thereby more successful marketing strategies, which in turn produces more sales and revenue. Seems obvious, right?
We hear a lot about “big data” lately — for an arts administrator, big data enables you to apply your patron data into a broader pool of consumer data and extract patterns that tell you very specifically who is most likely to respond to a campaign. Big data is a science, it is cold hard facts married with mathematical logic; and taking the guesswork out of targeted marketing can certainly be useful.
But when it comes to arts organizations, is focusing on the quantitative and extracting all creativity and emotionality from your marketing plans the best course? Are you trying to forge meaningful human relationships with your consumers, or have you fallen into the habit of treating them more like data clusters than individuals?
Psychology is a huge component in effective marketing. Humans are governed by emotions, including what we share and what we buy. The science of emotions, therefore, becomes a crucial consideration for your organization. IPA Databank analyzed 1400 successful advertising campaigns and found that 16% of those using strictly rational-based strategy reported major profit gains; while 31% of those using purely emotion-based strategy reported the same results. As artists, catering to lovers of the arts, doesn’t emotional marketing make a lot of sense?
Scientists know that the brain feels first and thinks second: the emotional brain processes sensory information five times as fast as the cognitive brain. Emotions are what ultimately drive human beings, including our customers. Studies show that humans are capable of feeling four basic emotions: happy, sad, fear/surprised, and angry/disgusted. Each can motivate your patrons to act.
Emotions related to happiness are proven to be the main drivers of social media sharing and are the feelings that drive most viral content. If we see an ...

The post Why Big Data Isn’t Enough:
The Influence of Emotion and Neuroscience Over Marketing in the Arts
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Managing Humans: The Value of Mentoring

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:00:16 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is the third in a six-part series by Rachel Hands, Senior Manager, Client Administration, Patron Technology. Click here to start at part one. 
So far in this series, we’ve talked about the very beginning of your colleague relationships: crafting a job posting and interviewing candidates. Now you’ve hired your best candidate, got them trained up on the nuts and bolts of the job, and they’re ready to dive in.
In the remaining posts of this series, we’re going to talk about fostering individual growth on your team through mentoring and cultivating a team culture. Whether you’re a leader in your organization or looking for ways to grow your own career, this is a great chance to think about how each person’s skills and talents impact your organization’s ability to carry out your mission.
The value of mentoring relationships is easily overlooked in nonprofit spaces, where the urgency we feel of accomplishing the organization’s mission can overwhelm the importance of making sure we’re equipped to do our best at accomplishing that mission sustainably in the long term. (If you’re not familiar with the Stephen Covey/Eisenhower “important vs. urgent” time management matrix, check out this helpful breakdown.)
Plus, our teams are often small, with overlapping roles, forcing close working relationships if anything’s going to get done. But even if you pride yourself on closeness and good communication with your colleagues, that doesn’t mean you’re getting the benefits of a mentoring relationship. Don’t let yourself off the hook.
So what’s the difference? In any successful working relationship, there’s a focus on helping a new person develop the skills and access the resources they need to succeed in their position. For example, you would never hire a new box office manager without showing them how to log into your online ticketing system and guiding them through your organization’s policies on returns, exchanges, and discounts for members or major donors.
With a mentoring relationship, the focus on skill growth and access to resources is both broader and deeper. Good mentors are there to help the mentee develop ...

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