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

Last Build Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:00:27 +0000


Database Efficiency: Be Your Own Architect

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:00:27 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Mary Alice Dutkanicz, Data Migration Manager, PatronManager. 
I was recently introduced to the term “Choice Architecture” through a segment on NPR’s TED Radio Hour. You may already be familiar with the concept: how, by human nature, we’re most often drawn to make decisions based on the way that our options are presented to us.
Most books and articles you’ll find on the topic focus on the more nuanced methods of manipulating consumer purchasing decisions, through framing options in a positive or negative light (“90% lean” vs. “10% fat”) or offering decoy comparisons to make one option seem more appealing than another. Step into any grocery store across the country, and you’ll see a large-scale example of how choice architecture affects consumer habits, from product placement to a bright neon “SALE!” sticker.
You could say that the core of this whole deal is really just catering to (or taking advantage of) lazy decision-making, but a responsible application of choice architecture can actually be used to boost productivity in your own life and work in a practical way. Have you ever had one of those days where you’re so mentally exhausted, you can’t decide what to make for dinner? After a long day of critical thinking, you might be suffering from decision fatigue. Think about the number of decisions you’ve made so far today; each choice has required a certain degree of cognitive energy. Why not conserve some of that energy by implementing a bit of your own choice architecture to streamline the smaller, inconsequential decisions of your day?
Most of the technology tools you use already have built-in presets and shortcuts to nudge you in the right direction. When I log into my web browser each morning, I know that the first three items I need to access are my email, my calendar, and my Salesforce® database. Rather than wasting any mental energy opening tabs and typing web addresses, I’ve set up my browser to automatically open to those three pages upon startup, which sets my focus for the day ahead. This might seem like a pretty insignificant example, but those tiny, incremental ...

The post Database Efficiency: Be Your Own Architect appeared first on Patron Technology.

Starting ’18 with the Best of ’17

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 14:00:54 +0000

In 2017 we published 92 blog posts, and as we start the new year I thought it may be informative to look at the posts that got the most page views as a reflection of what interests you most, and as a way of highlighting for all readers which ones had the most relevance to the field.  
As you review these results, you’ll see that there’s a bias around business and marketing fundamentals. As any music teacher or sports coach will attest, paying attention to the fundamentals is about as important as anything else, and it is often the reason teams achieve great results.
Here, in rank order, are our top five posts of 2017:

How Important Is Customer Data? The Case of Amazon vs. Ticketmaster: This post focuses on the increasing importance of customer data, as played out in an epic tug-of-war between Amazon and Ticketmaster.  
Top 10 Data Points Arts & Culture Organizations Should Know, Part I: This first of a set of three posts talks about the high-level data points that arts organizations should be measuring, and suggests ways you could use this data to produce more successful marketing and fundraising campaigns.
The Importance of Gender Inclusivity in Your Database: Discussions about gender in our society played out in the media last year in a significant way, and this post brings that discussion directly into your arts organization in both a conceptual and a highly pragmatic manner.  
The Most Important Marketing Questions Your Organization Should Be Asking – Part II: We all know that great solutions come from the quality of the questions you’re asking. This post looks at marketing questions relating to retaining first-time ticket buyers.  
Personalizing the Renewal Call: The subscription renewal call is often generic and boring. How many scripted calls have you received? This post provides a more personalized approach to subscription renewals, making your subscribers feel that you really know them.  

I want to thank you for being a loyal reader of this blog, and I hope that by reviewing these top five posts you’re refreshed and motivated ...

The post Starting ’18 with the Best of ’17 appeared first on Patron Technology.

Executives and Organizations in Transition – Part Two

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 14:00:22 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager.
In part one of this series, we looked at understanding the financial position of an organization. In this second part, we will look at the marketing and development plans of an organization. These two areas represent the revenue engine.
Marketing Plan
It is a given for just about any nonprofit that attracting, retaining, and upgrading patrons is the name of the game. Afterall, if an organization produces great art and there is no one in the hall to see it, is it still great art? An organization’s marketing plan is crucial to operations.
Within the larger narrative of the marketing plan, a new executive needs to understand some key information.

Booking Curves – Every organization claims to have an audience that is full of last-minute buyers. Truth is, every organization in every city is full of last-minute buyers. Booking curves model patron-buyer behavior.
Marketing Schedules and Distribution Channels – When does an organization begin marketing an event? What distribution channels are being used, print, online, radio, television, social media? How does the marketing budget for each event relate to the setting of ticket goals?

Understanding key marketing metrics is also important. An organization should know the following:

What percentage of first-time ticket buyers attend events?
What percentage of first-time ticket buyers return for a second event?
What percentage of the audience are multi-performance ticket buyers?
What is the size of the subscriber base? (If there is one)
What percentage of multi-ticket buyers convert to subscription?
How many first-year subscribers renew for year two?
What is the five-year subscription drop-out rate?
What is the cost of attracting a single ticket buyer, with and without overheads?

All of these metrics help both the executive and the organization understand its pipeline. If some of all of the areas indicate growth or decline, then further conversations can take place to address these areas.
Development Plan
For many performing arts organizations contributed income is more important now as it is representing a larger portion of total revenue. Understanding an organization’s pipeline, who is in it, who isn’t, how they are engaged, what gifts are being upgraded, and how the process translates into gifts is necessary.
Organizations should be able to look at their donors and ...

The post Executives and Organizations in Transition
– Part Two
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Your Patrons are Ghosting You

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 14:00:28 +0000

Last month, I wrote a blog post about retention, and since this is such an important topic, I invited David Seals of TRG Arts to write a post about it as well. – Gene Carr, CEO PatronManager
Today’s guest blog post is written by David Seals, Director of Client Development, TRG Arts
Few people are talking about the arts industry’s biggest threat. The problem barely shows up in conference sessions, industry publications or workshops. It is not cuts to arts funding. It’s not greying audiences or Millennials. It’s not a lack of data. Though these issues deserve attention, the problem is patron retention—and its extent is staggering.
The Deep Retention Problem
I’m going to give you the news, but first some context: TRG Arts studied 16,963,146 transactions (not surveys) from 130 arts organizations across the United States over five years (2012-2016) to understand the gravity of the retention problem. The full slide deck can be found here, but a key finding is this:
When looking at the combined dataset, 59% of all arts donors, subscribers and single ticket buyers disappeared in the last two years. They did not show up again in 2015 or 2016. Take a look at your own database—chances are, you’ve only kept 4 out of 10 patrons you had in 2014. The figure is even more alarming when we looked at new patrons: 75% of new single ticket buyers came once and never returned.

In what other industry would these figures be acceptable? What would become of Apple if it was content for you to stop after your first iPhone? How would Major League Baseball fare if it was satisfied with you only seeing one game in your lifetime? What if Spotify were happy for you to try it for one month and move on?
Why is this so hard?
From a financial perspective, we all know that new patrons are expensive to acquire. The harder, more nuanced truth is this: getting new patrons to return is also expensive. It requires strategic, relentless and targeted invitations across multiple channels. If you do get them back, converting them to subscribers can be more expensive still—sometimes more than acquiring brand new patrons. ...

The post Your Patrons are Ghosting You appeared first on Patron Technology.

Executives and Organizations in Transition – Part One

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:00:10 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager.
It is a fact of life that people change jobs. Whether it is for professional growth or other reasons, organizations are facing more job transitions as a result of the improving economy. While it can be inconvenient to replace an employee, what happens when that employee is the head of your organization, an executive or general director? To use a football sports metaphor, think of what happens when a football team replaces its quarterback? Sometimes it goes well, other times it doesn’t. What can your organization do to prepare for an effective transition?
If the transition is one of executive succession, the current executive is a huge asset to the transition process. If the current executive is no longer with the organization, then it falls to the board of directors to onboard the new executive. Let’s look at the important issues that should be part of any successful transition.

Financial Reports
Marketing Plan
Development Plan
Artistic Plan

While each organization is unique and may choose to add additional items to this list, every organization should start with these items. Let’s break each of these down.
Financial Reports
It goes without saying that a new executive director should have a clear understanding of an organization’s financial position. I have been surprised over the years just how poor some organizations accounting practices are. In an extreme case, I once went to work for an organization that didn’t know it was illiquid! While this speaks to lack of oversight by the board, that’s a completely different topic for another day; it also demonstrates how important financial accounting is to a transition.
In addition to looking at Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet statements, the CFO and the head of the finance committee of the board need to sit down with a new executive and go through each with a fine tooth comb. In addition to the above statements, every organization should have a cash flow statement and forecast. Cash is king in every business, and a good looking P&L or Balance sheet means little if there is little cash on hand to conduct operations.
An organizational budget would seem to be a given for any new executive ...

The post Executives and Organizations in Transition
– Part One
appeared first on Patron Technology.

2017 Year-End Summary

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 14:00:26 +0000

A year ago, I made some predictions about the technology trends we should be paying attention to in AI, VR, IoT, and AR — which I called “the Alphabet of the Future.” And in the past year, each of these emerging technologies has advanced, some faster than others. One of them, AI, seems to have jumped to the front of the pack and will likely influence what we see coming in the next few years. Here’s what I wrote last year:
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.
Artificial intelligence is being spoken about and invested in at a pace and with a level of importance that cannot be overemphasized. As I was drafting this post, The New York Times published an article titled “A.I. Will Transform the Economy. But How Much, and How Soon?”, which I encourage you to read. Here’s a key point regarding where we are in the development of AI:
It can probably do less right now than you think. But it will eventually do more than you probably think, in more places than you probably think, and will probably evolve faster than powerful technologies have in the past.

This point was driven home by Mark Cuban, speaking at a gathering of small- and midsize-business leaders that I attended last month at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference. Cuban likened the importance and the disruptive potential of AI to the machine age and the way the internet transformed the world. It isn’t just another newfangled technology — it’s something entirely fundamental.
The creative part now comes with imagining how AI may filter down to the arts in our daily lives. Let me give you a made-up example that is plausible though not yet real. ...

The post 2017 Year-End Summary appeared first on Patron Technology.

The Museum of Possible Futures

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 14:00:42 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Elise Rebmann, Renewals & Retention Manager, PatronManager. 
As a life-long art museum fan and patron, I felt fortunate to be able to attend the American Alliance of Museum’s Annual Meeting earlier this year. It was fascinating to meet people in the industry and learn more about museum technology and trends.
At the conference, I was introduced to Museum Magazine which just finished their November/December edition called Museum 2040. As you might suspect from the title, this edition is written from the year 2040 and imagines how museums would respond to one possible future resulting from some of the existing environmental and cultural challenges we face today. I highly recommend this fascinating read which includes articles about:

Museums operating well-being and health centers, schools, and elder-care programs
Museums contributing to urban planning trends and sustainability, helping cities achieve carbon-neutral status
The rise of technology designed to compensate artists for creative works of all kinds
Museums as leaders advocating for human rights and healing
Communities working together as cultural ecosystems
Relocating culture and science collections to space to ensure climate-control
A living museum and zoo alliance opening additional locations for African game animals in Idaho since those populations had to be relocated because of environmental pressures

…and much more! You can download a free copy here (you don’t even have to be an AAM member).
It’s clear to me that no matter what the future brings, museums have an important role to play in helping us respond to the challenges our world faces and stretching our ideas of what is important to our culture.
This industry seems to be eagerly embracing technology and helping us find ways to integrate those new technologies into our lives, resulting in more meaningful conversations around the dinner table. While I’m not sure about having my museum experience dictated to me by my smartphone quite yet, I would love my aging parents and children to be together in a museum-based health and education center!

The post The Museum of Possible Futures appeared first on Patron Technology.

Is it Time to Rethink Your Cultivation Processes?

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 14:00:58 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager. 
Let’s face it, your organization can always be doing a better job of cultivating donors — right? As a former executive director, one of the most difficult parts of my job was to manage the relationships between patrons and my organization. Before CRM solutions we had donor cultivation software, but it only showed you one-third of your relationship, ticketing and marketing were left out. I had spreadsheets (“Thank God for Spreadsheets!”) that helped me try and keep all of this information straight. Still, it wasn’t enough, and inevitably relationships slipped through the cracks and opportunities were lost.
Fortunately, CRM solutions have saved us from ourselves when it comes to effective donor cultivation and management. We can now capture all of the data and relationship points needed to really know our patrons. Still, we need good processes to effectively manage patron relationships. For years the process of patron cultivation consisted of a series of Moves or Steps that an organization took to advance a patron from prospect to donor; a process known in industry lingo as Moves Management.
A traditional Moves Management approach advances the patron along a series of stages:

At each stage in the process, there is a transfer of information from the patron to the organization and also from the organization to the patron. Capturing the exchanges and proactively moving the patron forward is the tricky part. Move too early to solicitation and the patron may be scared off. Wait too long, and the patron’s giving priorities might shift. Fortunately, CRM solutions invite and encourage organizational collaboration with patrons to carefully map the patron cultivation.
Because of technology, the traditional model of Moves Management has evolved into a model that places the patron at the center of the organization.

This model is true Patron Engagement. All parts of the organization are now collaborating with the patron, learning and communicating with them while simultaneously collaborating cross-departmentally. Given this evolution what can organizations do to maximize its effectiveness?
Define Success Metrics — Go beyond the dollars in the budget and define what metrics your organization is going to use to define a ...

The post Is it Time to Rethink Your Cultivation Processes? appeared first on Patron Technology.

Why isn’t Retention More Exciting?

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 14:00:32 +0000

I recently attended the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMP), which is always a great conference to get a pulse on our industry from a marketing perspective, and this year was no different. What really stood out to me this time around, were presentations on the subject of retention, sometimes known as churn. These terms describe the same thing — essentially how many patrons attended your organization last season and didn’t return this season.
This presentation from JCA demonstrates conclusively that between 60% and 70% of customers churn every year (based on data from 40 large arts organizations). For those of us that have been working in the industry for a while, this is not news.
This revelation represents the tip of the iceberg in a reality that seems illogical. Although recurring revenue (money from patrons that come back year after year) makes up a disproportionate amount of an organization’s total annual revenue, the amount of time, attention, research and investment in retaining the existing audience is minuscule by comparison.
In a Q & A session, I posed the question as to why otherwise rational business managers routinely ignore this fundamental truth in our industry? We are decidedly unlike commercial industries where there are entire departments dedicated to retention. For instance, how many arts organizations do you know that have a director of audience retention?
My theory is that for many organizations, finding new customers matches their mission — they get funding for this activity, they focus and measure it, and use it as a representation of their effectiveness in building their artform. That’s exciting, but evidently, retention isn’t.
However, a house has to be built on a strong foundation, and the foundation of our industry is renewals and recurring revenue. I fear our emphasis on new audiences continues to skew our hiring and our compensation of those that manage retention.
It seems to me we ought to have conferences that are SOLELY about revenue retention. If there were one thing that could help our industry thrive (and in some cases survive), it would be making our focus on revenue retention much more important than it appears to be today.

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Alexa, How Many Tickets Have We Sold Today?

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 14:00:21 +0000

Two weeks ago, Educational Development Manager, Christy Warren wrote a blog post about how voice control will become an integral part of our interactions with computers in the future — the keyboard and mouse are ultimately doomed. This likely won’t happen anytime soon, but we decided to explore this future by incorporating Amazon’s Alexa voice-operated system with PatronManager.
Imagine an Amazon Echo device on your executive director’s desk, and at any moment they can say “Alexa how many tickets have we sold today?” Intrigued?  
We made a short video to give you a glimpse of the possibilities this future holds. (And if you’re a PatronManager customer, let us know if your organization would like to be considered to participate in our Alexa pilot program.)

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