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PatronManager CRM: One Database for Ticketing, Marketing, and Development

Last Build Date: Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:00:02 +0000


Looking Back to Tomorrow

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:00:02 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Lorna Dolci, Vice President, Business Affairs, Patron Technology.
I recently visited Walt Disney World in Orlando. It was the first time I had been there in about 18 years and other than looking somewhat dated (especially Tomorrowland!), it still felt just as fun and exciting as it did the first time. However, there was one big difference that truly made my most recent experience magical: a mobile app.
The Disney World app which features an interactive map, a place to reserve a fast-pass (yeah, where you get to skip the lines!), and a list of the wait times at all the attractions in the park enhanced my experience in ways I would have never thought possible 18 years ago. Instead of strolling through the park looking for the fun, I had an interactive tool that gave me real-time information about where to go and how to get there.
My phone was an important part of my experience. (Note – A year ago my colleague Erin Ramirez wrote two posts about her experience with Walt Disney World and how they put the customer experience at a new level by using a CRM system. You can read her post and follow-up post here.)
Upon returning from my trip, I couldn’t help but reflect on the stark differences between my two visits separated by 18 years, years which were filled with world-wide adoption of the internet and the mobile smart phone.
This experience had me thinking about overall mobile trends, and I did a little research… on my mobile phone of course. I came across some noteworthy facts trends and facts which I thought would be interesting to share.  

Most media consumption now happens on a mobile device. The tipping point occurred in 2014 when mobile media consumption surpassed usage of a desktop. Techcrunch
Overall email usage is on the rise, primarily driven by consumers’ shift to mobile. CMO October 2016
People are reading their emails on their mobile device: 56% of opens are on a mobile device vs. 17% on desktop opens and 27% on webmail opens. Litmus September 2016
Desktop browsing is on the ...

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Using Data to Create a Better Patron Experience (And Maybe Even a Better World)

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 14:00:19 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Jess Hutchinson, Client Administrator, Patron Technology.
The data we gather about our patrons is powerful. It allows us to segment, target, retain, even regain an audience, which for arts organizations, is more than business critical – it’s the whole reason we do what we do. If a great show happens in our theatre, but no one is there to see it, does it make an impact? So that begs the question: is our data even more powerful than we’ve given it credit for?
I used to think that collecting and utilizing patron data was something that happened separately from my art. But the more deeply I’ve come to understand how good, well-organized data can paint a remarkably full picture of each patron I encounter, I’ve found it’s quite the opposite. I’ve started to see the siloing of data as a missed opportunity to truly connect with our patrons and extend the efficacy of the art we are passionately driven to create.  
So what if we rethought every potential communication with our patrons as a chance to not just sell tickets, but to increase the reach of our art? Think about the intrinsic impact art has in our society: in addition to entertaining, diverting, or providing a joyful escape (all of which are valuable services) artists have an unparalleled ability to build our collective capacity for empathy, which is like a primer coat for creating lasting social change.
There are myriad ways for us to build empathy and connection every time we interact with our patrons. These connections are most effective when they’re customized, and that’s where our data comes in: take the notes on seats Gene talked about in August or the list segmentation that Elise showed us in October. These require some strategic thinking and planning, but they utilize data you likely already have. You can also use the absence of data to welcome patrons you don’t yet know. What if your door list alerted you when someone was visiting your organization for the first time so that you could more personally greet and thank them for coming?
We can also model ...

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How the Cultural World Continues to Adapt Phone Culture

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 14:00:29 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Whitney Rutter, Senior Account Executive, Patron Technology.
Here at Patron Technology we advocate embracing new technology especially when it has the potential to benefit your organization either through generating attention or enhancing your visitor engagement. In this month’s Atlantic article entitled, “Please Turn On Your Phone in the Museum,” author Sophie Gilbert offers up a survey of museums efforts in adopting smart phone culture and technology. The institutions discussed share their objective of pushing their audience engagement a step forward… allowing the visitor to access, interact with, and mine their collections in ways that previous generations would have gawked at.
This article brings to light how new approaches utilizing smartphone platforms can foster an audience that might otherwise be distracted by the plethora of gaming and social media opportunities available outside the museum. The aim of these efforts is to both allow and even promote those habits by opening the door to the galleries.
As we here are focused on CRM technology, the idea of developing an understanding of your targeted audience speaks directly with what we’ve found to be the secret to impactful marketing and fundraising. Whereas we often talk about surveying and gathering demographic data points, a real-time interaction such as Pokemon Go, Instagram, 3D printing on demand, and Google 3D virtual reality museums provide a whole new level of “understanding your visitor” and present potentially powerful new platforms for maintaining and cultivating your patrons.
Though these platforms may at this stage sound more playful than serious, over time they very well may become the dominant ways we provide content and engage with visitors.
If you want to read more about how organizations are embracing smartphone culture check out some of our previous blog posts here:
Mobile Marketing: Just Do It
Pokemon: Come Along for the Ride
Give Your Organization an Instamakeover
Are Museums Really Simply Adapting to ‘Selfie Culture’?

The post How the Cultural World Continues to
Adapt Phone Culture
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Building a Better Grocery List Database

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 14:00:06 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Shasti Walsh, Training Specialist, Patron Technology.
My partner and I live together. We used to keep two separate grocery lists on our separate mobile devices. That meant every time one of us went to the store, the following exchange happened via text:
“Um, hey, did you already buy rice?”
“Yeah, yesterday. I forgot laundry detergent, though.”
“Oh, I ordered that online this morning. Do we need eggs?”
A dozen or more texts later, we’d still manage to forget some crucial household staple, and one of us would have to go back to the store (in Seattle, in the rain, uphill both ways, etc).
Now we keep our shopping list on a shared Trello board (in the cloud), and we each update it independently. If I notice something running low, I add it to the list. When he’s out running errands, he checks things off as he picks them up. We now collaborate online in real time on our household shopping needs, and we haven’t run out of anything important since.
That’s great for a grocery list, but how does it apply to working in the arts?
I was once asked to manage the holiday card mailing list for an arts organization. It consisted of one Excel sheet with about 10 different tabs — subscribers, donors, board members, volunteers, press, vendors…. Sound familiar?
Updating this list each year meant starting about two months ahead of the mailing, and asking each person in each department to update any tabs relevant to them. That wasn’t so bad, but since the file was saved on an in-house server, only one staff member could edit it at a time. Let’s not talk about all the times someone left the spreadsheet open on their password-protected computer, and someone else tried to edit and wound up saving their changes in a new copy of the original file instead.
Finally, once all the data was painstakingly gathered from the various different systems and spreadsheets and post-it notes and binders where it lived in each department, I would assemble it all into one ‘master’ list, and valiantly attempt to dedupe.
Did you know: patrons often interact with an organization in more than ...

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You Are Not Your Donors

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 14:00:24 +0000

Here’s the challenge about raising money vs. selling tickets. We are all consumers of our own shows – we like to go to them, and we’re very much like the audience we want to attract. So our instincts are generally good in terms of what will motivate people to attend (and enjoy) our events.
When it comes to fundraising, I would venture a guess that the vast majority of fundraisers do not have the capacity to donate money in the same way as the people they are soliciting do. In other words, those who fundraise mostly don’t live in the same world as their donor prospects. These two sets of people see the world differently, and though fundraisers may trust their instincts, they may not understand their donors’ motivations perfectly.
That’s the guiding message in Mary Cahalane’s recent post from her Hands-on-Fundraising blog, recommending that you ask your donors to tell you what motivates them.  
You can’t use yourself to take their measure, or guess what they’ll respond to, or know what they like. Because you’re on the inside, your view is different. You see behind the curtain. And that forever changes your perceptions.
It’s easy to survey people today, not enough of us do. We make our decisions based on too little evidence, or gut feelings. That very same reliable gut that tells you which song to use as the background music on your radio ad, is not the same reliable gut that tells you what subject line will get a donor to open your email solicitation. Ask and you shall learn.

The post You Are Not Your Donors appeared first on Patron Technology.

There Really Is an App For That

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 14:00:04 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Aaron Schwartzbord, Marketing Manager, Patron Technology.
There is a major shift in how we operate as marketers, and how businesses operate as a whole. You may remember that Apple ran an ad campaign a few years ago focused around the phrase “There’s an App for that.” Well, that idea is more true today than ever, not only for consumers but also for business. New software and programs are not expensive, and no longer standalone beasts. There’s now an App for nearly anything (and many are low cost and or free).
Therefore, we no longer live in a world of siloed software where you have your word processing program, and your web browser, and your financial software. We now live in a world where our technology is integrated and it’s all about connecting all the programs and services in our lives together.
And though you may not realize it, you don’t have to have a smartphone to utilize them. There are thousands of Apps for your computer, for your web browser, and yes, even for your CRM system (our technology partner Salesforce has the AppExchange which today has over 2,000 different apps). We provide a curated list of about 67 for our clients.  
So, as marketers and fundraisers do you think about how Apps can make your life better, more efficient, and smarter? What would you like your technology to do for you?  
I’d love to hear what your favorite work Apps are. They can be for PatronManager, your phone or tablet, web browser (like Chrome), or anything you can think of. Please comment below.

The post There Really Is an App For That appeared first on Patron Technology.

Adapting Your Content for the Mobile Age

Thu, 03 Nov 2016 13:00:10 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Christy Warren, Onboarding Client Trainer, Patron Technology.
Two things have happened to me recently that have caused me to think about my “phone” differently. First, I saw a post from someone complaining about the cost of their new smartphone. “A phone should not be $700!” they moaned. Yes, things have changed now since most cell carriers have stopped offering “free” phones with a 2-year contract. That may be causing our sticker shock, but there’s more at play that we’re not always recognizing right away.
It’s a phone, yes. But, it’s also:

Your main camera (chances are, the camera in your phone is probably better than any other camera you have in your house)
Your connection to the internet
Your GPS
Your link to your social network
Your device to kill time playing games when waiting for your kids/plane/train/dinner
Your means to chat with friends
Your virtual wallet where you can pay for things both online and in real life
Your tracking device to record your healthy (or unhealthy) activities.

I could keep going, but you get the picture. We are carrying tiny 6-inch computers in our pockets, and even for as much as $700, that’s a pretty darn good investment in my opinion.
So, as all of this has been mulling about in my head, the second thing happened just last night. A dear friend was using her phone… (ahem)… mobile device… to find something on a website and commented, “I really hate mobile websites.” I asked her why and she explained it was because they have reduced content and what you were able to find on their actual site isn’t available on their mobile site.
So, now that we use tiny hand-held computers for so much of our interaction with businesses, how can businesses make sure our experience is a good one? How can they deliver the content that is most relevant when and where we need it? The three most common options are:

A mobile website – which is a complete stand-alone website designed with mobile devices in mind
A responsive website – this option adjusts your current website into formats based upon the screen size of the viewer (there are multiple ...

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Prepping for End-Of-Year Giving

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 13:00:20 +0000

Is it really time to start thinking about your annual appeal? Here’s the challenge, few people donate because the words “annual appeal” show up in their mailbox or inbox, as this excellent post from Kivi’s Nonprofit Communication Blog points out. Rather, they give based on emotions. Kivi says “They give because you gave them the feels – fear, compassion, pride, outrage, solidarity – you made them care!”
Unfortunately, you can’t make your patrons start caring on December 15th. You’ll need to start a communications program now that feeds them information gradually about why your organization deserves their support at the end of the year. Only then will your the annual appeal “ask” be as effective as it can be.
I realize the first day of November may not be the time that you thought you’d be strategizing about your year-end fundraising, but Kivi suggests now’s the time.

The post Prepping for End-Of-Year Giving appeared first on Patron Technology.

Content Is Still King: Making Sense of the AT&T and Time Warner Merger

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 13:00:33 +0000

In the midst of the news cycles dominated by the presidential election and a significant part of the Internet being down last week, the headlines about AT&T buying Time Warner seemed relatively muted. But what is happening is seismic and has lots of precedents. A look at the recent past explains what’s going on.
Remember back to the end of the 90s’s, and you’ll recall that Time Warner merged with AOL in what is regarded as one of the worst deals in recent business history, and something that ultimately fell apart. But what was driving Time Warner then was the notion that as a media/content company driven largely by print and cable, their world was about to be usurped by AOL, which had the capacity to bring Time Warner’s content into the digital age.
Conversely, AOL recognized that to provide a great consumer experience for its customers, its content (at the time mostly text and pictures) had to be delivered faster. They may not have foreseen Youtube, but they definitely saw video coming. They  knew the days of dial-up were coming to an end, and since Time Warner had access to consumers at home providing them with fast bandwidth this was a merger they had to do. In the end, these two companies recognized that their respective futures were all about content – and getting that content to the consumer faster and in digital format.
Looking back further in the 1980s Sony was a hardware company, and Sony was the Apple computer of the day. Its products were sleek, expensive and cutting edge. But they too recognized that content was going to rule the day, and they started buying content companies, notably Columbia Pictures, and several record labels.   
Today we see this same tension playing out in the world of Apple and Google. Apple is a hardware company whose leader, Steve Jobs, recognized that if they produced hardware tightly integrated with great software that they controlled, they could deliver a better consumer content experience. Jobs was right. And, it’s also why in the last two weeks Google has essentially admitted to the world that the Apple strategy is ...

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AT&T and Time Warner Merger
appeared first on Patron Technology.

The Alphabet of the Future: AI, VR, IOT, AR

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:00:53 +0000

I’ve just returned from the annual “Dreamforce” conference, an annual gathering of some 170,000 in San Francisco. We were well represented with 5 of our staff presenting at various points during the 4 day event.
My takeaway from this mega-event is a set of letters, which to me represent the future of technology and which I’ll be writing about more in the coming months and years. Here’s the list, along with a quick definition and some off-the-cuff examples of why I think these new technologies will matter to arts organizations.
AI: Artificial Intelligence – This is the hottest topic in tech right now, and it’s all about the potential of technology to forecast (based on huge datasets and algorithms and “machine learning”) something that will happen in the future or might happen. For marketers, AI promises to give better guidance on when email campaigns should go out and/or in what cadence. Rather than our having to guess what will work best, AI tools will do a better job than we can.
VR: Virtual Reality – I’ve now had a dozen demos on various consumer VR headsets and without a doubt, this is the next biggest improvement in experiential entertainment and learning through technology. I recently took a five-minute “tour” to a glacier in Alaska, complete with sound effects and a seat that shook, mimicking the engine of the boat I was riding on. It was so immersive and realistic that my interest in going to Alaska is now significantly more, based on those five minutes. Imagine if there were to be a VR experience of sitting inside an orchestra as the orchestra plays?
iOT: Internet of Things – This is a broad catchphrase for when hardware is connected to the internet. There are a few widely distributed examples of this already. Google’s “Nest” thermometer, for example, is connected to a database that through technology figures out when you’re at home and subsequently when the heat should be turned up or down. The uses of this will become more apparent over the next few years as Google, Apple, and others work to infuse the home with IOT devices. I’m ...

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