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

Last Build Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2017 14:34:36 +0000


Top Ten Data Points Arts & Culture Organizations Should Know Part I

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:00:13 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Paul Miller, Senior Director, Sales & Marketing, Patron Technology. 
The phrase “big data” has been in the news a lot lately and for good reason. Numbers don’t lie, and the field of data science is transforming the way organizations conduct business at every level. Every second, 1.7 megabytes of data is created for each human being on the planet, and although only one-half of one percent of that data is ever analyzed, that is rapidly changing. From online shopping to pro sports, upper management is now realizing that large data sets can drive business decisions with remarkably fruitful results.
While the amount of data the average nonprofit collects is much smaller, it’s time we started using it to our advantage. The best part is, you already have all the data you need to help make informed decisions that can transform your marketing and fundraising operations and sustain your organization for years to come. You don’t have to be a mathematician or scientist to leverage the power of data mining, but you probably do need some help getting started.
With this in mind, I’ve been leading a workshop that explains what high-level data points arts and culture organizations should be measuring and suggests ways we could use this data to produce more successful marketing and fundraising campaigns. I conducted this workshop in four cities this year, and in each case, the organizations in attendance were asked to provide their metrics in advance and submit them to me anonymously. Then I shared the aggregate results during the presentation so organizations could see where they stood in relation to their peers.
Out of all the responses I received to my questions, the most common answer was also the most unfortunate: We Don’t Know. This answer took many forms: we don’t track that information, we don’t have access to the data, we don’t know how to calculate it, etc. (It’s no surprise that organizations with an integrated customer relationship management system such as PatronManager had more complete answers than those using multiple systems.) That said, what I learned was that we need to do a better job of teaching our teams ...

The post Top Ten Data Points Arts & Culture Organizations Should Know Part I appeared first on Patron Technology.

How Important is Customer Data? The Case of Amazon Vs. TicketMaster

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 13:00:19 +0000

Last week the press revealed information that many of us in the ticketing industry were aware of for a while — that has designs on selling tickets. Tickets are the ultimate digital product in that you don’t need a warehouse to provide the product, which makes it an ideal target for Amazon. The entrenched commercial ticketing industry is lead by TicketMaster which last year earned almost $2 billion selling tickets largely on behalf of commercial venues and promoters.
My thesis for the past decade has been that today, ticketing companies can’t simply just provide technology for venues to sell tickets. That gets you in the game, but it doesn’t win the game. Ticketing companies now must provide ways for the sellers of tickets to amass a rich, robust database of buyers from which they can build relationships. That’s the essence of CRM and what has guided us to build PatronManager for the arts community.
TicketMaster has built its own database of hundreds of millions of ticket buyers and they market events to these buyers in a highly targeted way (as an aside TicketMaster uses’s “Marketing Cloud” to power these efforts). That’s their approach. 
Now think about Amazon’s approach. It’s pretty much the same — marketing directly to consumers on behalf of themselves and their selling partners. They too have a rich database of millions of buyers as well as an incredible ability to segment and market. With technology and a big customer database, they have been displacing nearly every brick and mortar retailer in the world.
So in their quest to get into the ticketing business, apparently attempted to forge a deal with TicketMaster which ultimately failed. According to a recent article in Forbes:
Amazon has failed to close a deal with Ticketmaster because they can’t agree on who would control customer data.
I find this very interesting and worthy of significant attention. Here we see Amazon trying to partner with the ticketing industry giant to enter the said industry and what stands in the way? Customer data!
Yes folks, it is customer data that’s the currency of every Internet marketer. Without it, you’re shooting in the dark. With it, you ...

The post How Important is Customer Data?
The Case of Amazon Vs. TicketMaster
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Do Your Donors Think They Matter?

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 13:00:23 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, Patron Technology. 
I was recently invited back to my high school to attend an in-service day to prepare teachers for the new school year. The day began with recognition of length of service awards, some teachers had over forty years with the school district! There were also teaching excellence awards. As the husband of a music teacher in the public schools, I clearly understand how much public affirmation means in an age where it seems like our society has made a professional sport out of complaining about schools and teachers. The school district was making a statement that their team was important and mattered to them.
After the awards, a keynote speaker, Angela Maiers, spoke about how students, as they progress through our educational systems and workers as they enter the workforce, become less engaged over time. Engagement has become such a critical part of our society that Gallup, the national polling company, regularly measures worker engagement.
In a 2015 Gallup poll of US workers, 32% were considered engaged in their jobs, 50.8% were not engaged, and 17.2% were disengaged. Lack of engagement results in an estimated $11B in lost revenue annually. See State of the American Workplace at Gallup.
Interestingly enough, similar engagement percentages apply to students.
In a 2014 Gallup poll of US students, 53% of students were engaged, 28% were not engaged and 19% were actively disengaged. See Gallup Student Poll at Gallup.
The number one reason why students and workers are not engaged is that they believe that they don’t matter. Both groups cite the following reasons for wanting to become more engaged:

There is somebody who cares about them
There is an environment where questions are encouraged
The school or workplace is safe both mentally and physically
They are accepted for who they are and the contributions they bring

This keynote got me thinking about my own experiences as a donor and how organizations communicate with me that I matter. Unfortunately, it is all too easy for organizations to fall into the disengagement trap.
Donors want to matter to an organization.

The post Do Your Donors Think They Matter? appeared first on Patron Technology.

A Peek Into the Future of Live Entertainment: It’s All About the Experience

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 13:00:10 +0000

The performing arts have always been about the live experience — the interaction between performers and audience. As technology has begun to infuse nearly every aspect of our lives, more and more high-end shows are incorporating technological wizardry to amaze and enthrall. I suppose Cirque du Soleil began this trend decades ago, but nearly every commercial show I’ve attended includes some attempt at a jaw-dropping moment. 
But another technological aspect of the live event is playing itself out in a very different arena, and I mean that literally — the arena. In sports, they refer to it as the “fan experience” — and the new stadiums that are being built around the world are increasingly attempting to use the building itself to enhance the patron experience. This article, “Stadiums of the future: a revolution for the fan experience in sport,” from the Guardian does a great job of describing what architects and planners have in store for sports fans. Be sure to watch the video of the new Falcons stadium in Atlanta.  
If you follow the money, you’ll quickly realize that because sports generates so much cash, the venues are expendable — every few decades they knock them down and start over. And if you want to see how another industry is taking the live experience to an amazing new place, read this article about how Disney is creating an immersive Star Wars-themed hotel where each guest gets a storyline.
In the arts, we don’t have that luxury. We’re often performing in venues that have not (and cannot) change. Or venues that have been restored, where the whole point is reimagining the past.
In a world in which $100 buys you a ticket for an incredible sports experience — not only the game, but also the overall experience beyond the game itself — how can the arts adapt and adopt?
Clearly, the “patron experience” must take its rightful place alongside the programming of your organization. It’s no longer good enough to put on a blockbuster show or concert. You’re going to be judged on the entire experience, from the moment patrons buy their tickets to the day ...

The post A Peek Into the Future of Live Entertainment:
It’s All About the Experience
appeared first on Patron Technology.

In The Age of “Click to Contact,” Are We Losing Connection With Our Patrons?

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 13:00:47 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Ameris Poquette, Data Specialist, Patron Technology. 
I’ve lost count of how many mailing lists I’m signed up for, but it’s probably in the hundreds. Every day, I get (at least) twenty some-odd emails from different sources all wanting my business — most of which end up living out their years unread in my spam folder. There’s no question that the Internet has changed the nature of marketing and the way we communicate with our audience — it’s become a digital, mass-market affair. Signing up for a new mailing list is something we do at the drop of a hat, for anything that even mildly piques our interest.
Today, even “contact us” pages that are meant to lead to a real human interaction can feel impersonal, cold, and automatic. In some ways, this is the nature of this new medium, which allows us to reach more people simultaneously than we’ve ever been able to before.
So the question becomes, how do we learn to stand out from the hundreds of unread messages in your patron’s inbox, most of which are trying to do the same thing you are? How do you maintain a connection with your target audience in the digital age?
For the purpose of this blog post, I pulled up all of the emails that were sent to me by an arts event space I frequent — they show movies and host nights of performance art — and when I see an email come through from them, I almost always open it. I wondered to myself, why?
Well digging in, the first thing I noticed about their emails is that the subject lines are always patron centric. It’s not “here’s what we’re doing,” it’s “here’s something you would enjoy.” The second thing I noticed is that the emails are all written by the same person, the woman who runs the space. She writes in first person (using “I” or “we”) and always signs the emails with her name. And lastly, I noticed that their content is not purely promotional, in fact often times they don’t even mention the events they have coming up until the end. For ...

The post In The Age of “Click to Contact,” Are We Losing Connection With Our Patrons? appeared first on Patron Technology.

The Dreaded Log-in Requirement — Why?

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 13:00:49 +0000

If you’ve been reading this blog over the years, this post may seem eerily familiar as I’ve covered this topic before. However, I’m prompted to write about it again because of an experience I had this past weekend when I decided to go to the theatre. I went to an organization’s website (Organization A for this blog posts purposes) — fully committed to buying a ticket for a show that looked interesting.
After I checked the dates, selected my seat, and got ready to pay, the site asked me to log-in. I hadn’t been to this theatre in over a year, and couldn’t recall if I had ever logged in, so I put my email address in the “new customer” field. After pressing submit, I got an error message saying that I did, in fact, have login credentials so I should type my email address in the returning users box. But of course, I had no idea what my password was so I was directed to click on “lost password.”
At that point, my frustration with this checkout experience far outweighed my interest in the show, so I left the website in search of an easier ticket buying experience. Could I have persevered and gotten a new password and logged in? Sure. But there were other shows at different organizations that I had an interest in seeing. So, I went to Organization B’s website where no log-in was required and purchased a ticket in 90 seconds. Done. (And the show was fantastic! )
People, why do you let technology companies dictate your relationships with your patrons? Why even chance frustrating a new ticket buyer? Yes, there are very good reasons to create log-ins — especially if you want to avoid duplicates in your database.
However, it’s hard enough to find someone who wants to come to your show — so how about making that your priority, and dealing with the duplicates later? (I would be remiss if I didn’t say that PatronManager has a built in “data qualifier” that automates your staff’s ability to deduplicate regularly and quickly, thus eliminating the requirement to have people log-in.)
If you’re in a decision-making position about the customer experience ...

The post The Dreaded Log-in Requirement — Why? appeared first on Patron Technology.

Beyond “Busy” — Expanding the Contents of Your Story

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 13:00:15 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Travis Jones, Summer 2017 Marketing and Lead Dev Intern, Patron Technology. 
If someone asks you about work, you’re likely to say, “it’s busy.” So now, that person will walk away knowing that you’re busy, but not much else about you. Unless you add more to it, “she’s busy” becomes your life story. However, “I’m busy designing the marketing campaign for the world premiere of our next show,” leads to a different and more fulfilling conversation.
Adding content to your story allows other people to create a better picture of what you do. They might remember that you work in marketing or that your organization is putting on a world premiere.
The same is true for organizations. When people talk about your organization, they will discuss what they see or hear about it. In this context, “busy” means the stuff your organization does publicly: your exhibitions, shows, events, etc… But is that all your organization can claim to do? Most likely, there are also artists rehearsing, designers creating, and education programs running that people don’t see, but are just as interesting. Every bit of information you share with your patrons helps complete the story in their heads of what your organization does.
What story would your patrons tell about your organization? If you were to ask them to describe your organization what do you think they’ll say? What is the response you want to hear? Will they say everything you want them to say? Take the patron’s perspective to see if your organization comes across the way you think it does.
Now you may have some answers, but if they’re not what you expected, you’ve got some work to do. You probably need to review the kind of information your customer receives. This is not to say your customer is receiving bad material, more likely they’re not receiving enough. But how can you, in your busy week, possibly come up with more content?
Truth is, you already have it. Gene Carr, our CEO, talks about this in his article on content marketing. Essentially, the best way to get your customers to know what your organization is ...

The post Beyond “Busy” —
Expanding the Contents of Your Story
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Managing Humans: Establishing Core Values

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:00:59 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is the fifth in a six-part series by Rachel Hands, Senior Manager, Client Administration, Patron Technology. Click here to start at part one. 
In this series, we’ve been looking at ways to cultivate strong managerial relationships with individuals; for the last two posts in the series, we’ll be looking at ways to establish a positive and productive team culture.
Don’t worry, I won’t make you do any trust falls with your staff. There’s a reason those are the most cliché of team-building activities, though: teams are made up of relationships, and relationships are built on trust. As a manager, you can help build trust among your team members by setting clear expectations regarding how they work together and interact. I recommend incorporating these expectations into your organization’s (or department’s) core values.
The kind of core values I’m talking about are different from your organization’s mission statement, which you probably have down cold, in multiple formats. It’s your raison d’être, and although you might have a few different ways to articulate it, it’s probably not changing (much) over time.
Core values are also different from your organization’s strategy — the specific steps you take to carry out your mission. The strategy probably will change over time, at least to some degree — even if your organization’s mission is historically informed performance of music from the 1700s, you’re probably selling tickets online and marketing your concerts via email and social media.
If your mission is your destination and your strategy is your planned route, your core values are your compass. They’re how you know you’re going in the right direction; they’re informed by your mission, and they can help guide your strategy. Like your mission statement, your core values should be things you don’t expect (or want) to change over time. (For more on these and related distinctions, check out this Harvard Business Review article.)
A complete set of core values doesn’t have to be long, but it should include guidelines on how to work as a team — guidelines that you’re willing to stick to, prioritize, and reinforce constantly. For example, ...

The post Managing Humans: Establishing Core Values appeared first on Patron Technology.

Phone Still Reigns Supreme… For Now

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:00:15 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Elise Rebmann, Renewals & Retention Manager, Patron Technology. 
Even though many feel that telemarketing in today’s society is much more intrusive than it once was, phone calls thanking patrons for their support continue to increase retention and lifetime giving. The field of telemarketing has had to evolve quite a bit in the past decade with the rise of regulation, changing preferences, decreasing landlines, and the myriad of digital channels for marketers and fundraisers to choose from. 
I actually still have an old-fashioned landline, but like many people in this day and age, unless I recognize the number, I don’t answer. Because of this, a new technology is now becoming more popular for companies that still want to use the phone as their main marketing tool, but recognize they might not be able to reach their targeted audience with a phone call — ringless voicemail. These are messages that are dropped into your voicemail box without your phone ever ringing. It’s been around a few years now, but it recently popped onto my radar as it has been in the news a lot this summer.
The whole topic has gotten very political. One service provider asked the FCC to exempt this practice from anti-robocall rules. One political party supported the move, and the other party (along with consumer advocates) opposed it. The FCC public comment procedure began and the whole idea was widely considered terrible, so the company withdrew their request… at least for now.
I received my first ringless voicemail message on my mobile phone about two weeks ago. While I was pretty horrified by this practice based on the recent news coverage, my ringless voicemail message was from my local art museum and it simply said:
This is Patty and I’m just leaving you a quick message to thank you for being a member of the museum. We couldn’t do our work without your support, and we hope you’ll have time to stop by our new exhibit next month.
I deleted it of course, but it made me feel good about supporting this organization. It felt more personal than ...

The post Phone Still Reigns Supreme… For Now appeared first on Patron Technology.

Marketing & Development: Shifting from Competition to Collaboration?

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 13:00:18 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, Patron Technology. 
Every non-profit organization relies on two departments to generate revenue.

Marketing is tasked with the job to sell tickets to performances resulting in earned income for the organization.
Development is tasked with raising money from patrons who are interested in supporting the mission and programs of the organization resulting in contributed income.

Traditionally, both departments are siloed off from each other, protecting turf and justifying their work. While each department focuses on different revenue motivations, both must work with the patron to achieve a positive outcome. However, in today’s world, both marketing and development need each other more than ever.
If we think about the traditional patron pipeline (Attract, Retain and Upgrade), marketing and development historically had defined roles. It was up to marketing to put customers in the pipeline — attract them. Development was also trying to attract customers to become donors. For development departments, most annual fund donors came to them from the attract phase of marketing. Each department had very little reason to work with other. So, in effect, you had two competing pipelines:

Competition escalated once the customer was in the pipeline as marketing was trying to turn the single ticket buyer into a subscriber or a lower level subscriber to a higher level. Meanwhile, development was trying to cultivate both the single ticket buyer into the annual fund or the subscriber into becoming a major donor! Despite this conflict, both departments managed an uneasy coexistence. Marketing took care of the transactional part of the customer experience while development took care of cultivating the patron experience.
Today, in many arts organizations this relationship is evolving into a new model that focuses on cultivating a shared patron experience. The dual pipeline has now evolved into a patron loyalty loop with marketing and development sharing the responsibility for the patron experience.

What factors are driving this evolution? There are a number of areas but two (patron behavior and technology) stand out. Let’s examine both.
Changing patron behavior has had an enormous impact on organizations. Some factors include:

Patrons moving away from subscriptions and toward single ticket purchases.
Patrons grazing across multiple arts organizations, sampling individual events ...

The post Marketing & Development:
Shifting from Competition to Collaboration?
appeared first on Patron Technology.