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Patron Technology

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

Last Build Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:59:31 +0000


Real Time Foreign Language Arrives

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:00:28 +0000

I have always been fascinated with what’s up and coming in technology, especially when it’s something that could apply to the arts! My goal with this post is to provide you with some grist for your creative mills — when you have an idea of what’s coming down the pike in the technology world, it may inspire you, or challenge your thinking about what’s possible in the art world. This post is likely to be the first of several on this general topic over the next few months.
Let’s start with foreign language. If you’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you will recall the Babel Fish, which is defined by Wikipedia as:
…small, yellow, leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the universe. It feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain, the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language: the speech you hear decodes the brain wave matrix.
If you’ve ever used Google translate (or seen translations on Facebook), you know that computers can do this kind of work pretty quickly. Well, this week Google announced “Pixel Buds,” which operate pretty much the same way as the Babel Fish. Here’s an article about this exciting development from MakeUseOf, a techie blog typically reserved for reporting on cutting edge consumer tech, which this undoubtedly is.
Quoting from the article:
It’s like you’ve got your own personal translator with you everywhere you go. Say you’re in Little Italy, and you want to order your pasta like a pro. All you have to do is hold down on the right earbud and say, ‘Help me speak Italian.’ As you talk, your Pixel phone’s speaker will play the translation in Italian out loud. When the waiter responds in Italian, you’ll hear the translation through your Pixel Buds.
Applying “Pixel Buds” technology to the arts seems both amazing and sacrilegious. Imagine during a classical music performance you hear a ...

The post Real Time Foreign Language Arrives appeared first on Patron Technology.

Interns: Your Data Powerhouse

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 13:00:41 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Katie Campbell, Data Migration Specialist, PatronManager. 
Data entry: someone’s gotta do it, and that someone is probably an intern. Interns are often on the front lines of data management, as they key in email lists, pledge payments, and address changes. However, if you simply hand the intern the keys to your database with no preparation, you may wish you had just entered the data yourself. Here are some strategies to make interns your powerful data-entry ally.
The Big Ask
Imagine someone places a huge pile of potatoes in front of you, asks you to peel them all, and walks away. You inwardly roll your eyes, wonder why someone else can’t do it and think this must be more potatoes than is actually needed. You grow resentful as a second pile of potatoes is added before you even finish the first. Your peeling becomes sloppy, leaving bits of skin behind. Your pace slows. The potato supply appears to be endless, so why rush?
Now imagine someone asks you to peel a huge pile of potatoes, but before they give you the potatoes, they explain that the potatoes are for your grandmother’s special family recipe. The dish will be served at her 90th birthday party at the end of the week. Grandma has been eating retirement home potatoes day in and day out, and boy will she be surprised that someone bothered to make her favorite dish for the party. For this particular dish, the potatoes need to be perfectly peeled, with no skin remaining, and ready to go in the pot by the end of the day tomorrow. Then — still no potatoes on the table — this person ASKS you if you are willing to do this big job. You’d say yes with gusto, wouldn’t you? You would peel those potatoes with precision and persist through the mundane job because it is now a labor of love.
To an intern, data entry can feel just as mundane and mindless as peeling potatoes. You may feel bad putting that huge pile of potatoes, I mean, sign-up sheets in front of the intern and asking them to enter the sign-ups into ...

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Top 10 Data Points Arts & Culture Organizations Should Know, Part II

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 13:00:37 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Paul Miller, Senior Director, Sales & Marketing, PatronManager. 
In my first post in this series, I explained how data is being used to drive business decisions at the corporate level, and I hope I made the case for why it’s time for arts and culture organizations like yours to start applying the same principles to grow your audiences and revenue. I also detailed the first five data points you should know, showed you how to calculate them, and explained why they’re so important to track and improve. In this post, we’ll work through the next five, but be sure to come back for our final installment where I’ll share the results of these top 10 metrics from nearly 100 arts organizations that participated in our workshops earlier this year. Let’s continue…
6. Percentage of Ticket  Buyers Who Subscribe
Buying a subscription (or purchasing a museum membership) is the first sign of allegiance to your organization. It’s a patron’s way of raising their hand to say they enjoy the work you do and want to commit to a more frequent number of engagements. It’s an important metric to measure internally because it’s the most predictable metric your organization will use to set budgets for the coming year. Subscription dollars are collected early in the season and provide the basis for covering the production costs associated with all the performances you’re going to present. It’s tremendously important!
How to calculate:
Another way to say this is how many seats were sold by subscription, so divide the number of seats sold as part of a subscription by the total number of seats you sold. For example:

80,000 subscription seats / 100,000 total seats sold =
80,000/100,000 =
.80 or 80% of seats were sold by subscriptions

Before we go any further, a few words on ROI
The next three metrics focus on what I call promotional ROI (return on investment), which is very different from the broad kind of ROI that excites your finance department or board members. Usually when we talk about ROI, we’re talking about how much money you earn, minus the amount you spend, expressed as a percentage.
Now, if ...

The post Top 10 Data Points Arts & Culture Organizations Should Know, Part II appeared first on Patron Technology.

Patron Motivation — The Stuff That Drives Your Customers

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 13:00:19 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kathryn Schmitt, Data Project Coordinator, PatronManager. 
The psychological concept of motivation is too often neglected in the world of business. While many professionals have caught on to the influence of emotion over marketing, the reality is that making someone feel is only half the battle. The word emotion comes from the Latin root “to move”, and what we really want is for our customers to take action as a result of how they feel. Keep invoking emotion, but considering emotional responses in terms of motivation rather than feelings will give you a clearer direction and further insight into your marketing campaigns.
Motivation matters because it’s the catalyst responsible for every action. It is not only beneath every purchase decision but every move we make day to day. Unmotivated patrons will simply not show up or spend money, and those aren’t the kinds of patrons we want. Deciphering what truly motivates someone to buy, donate, or attend could be the key to increasing the efficacy of your marketing. Your customers must experience motivation in order to give you their business, and it’s your job to make that happen.

Donation Motivation
Have you spent enough time thinking about what drives your funders to give? Remember that when it comes to being charitable, people act from the heart instead of the head. Avoid using only facts and figures with percentages and fund allocations; make your appeals meaningful and personal, and tell your donors why they should care and how much their patronage means to your organization. Research shows that donors give when they are moved or personally invested, but also when they feel like they are a part of a community and connected to others; so make sure your patrons know that they’re a part of the collective and an essential piece of your puzzle. The next time you solicit donations, try to get inside the hearts of your donors and hone in on what drives their motivation to give; and keep in mind that feeling a part of something meaningful is a substantial human motivator.
Audience Motivation
If you’re a theater company, have you ever asked ...

The post Patron Motivation — The Stuff That Drives Your Customers appeared first on Patron Technology.

Patron Journeys: Time to Renew Your Subscribers

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 13:00:59 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager. 
With each passing year, arts leaders wrestle with the depressing statistics about their subscriber base. Subscriptions are dead we keep hearing. People are too busy to subscribe. Their schedules don’t allow them to think further ahead than the day view on their smartphone calendar. Abandon all hope!
And yet, if all this doom and gloom were true, we wouldn’t have subscription programs. The reality is very different. Many arts organizations still offer subscriptions, and there are still patrons that prefer to purchase some type of subscription package. In fact, some organizations still enjoy a robust subscriber base. However, many organizations are missing out on the opportunity to cultivate these subscribers just like they do their donors.
It takes a lot of marketing dollars to attract a new subscriber. Many first year subscribers don’t renew for year two. And a lot of the ones that DO renew in year two don’t make it to year five. Why is year five so important? Because by looking at your subscriber base most organizations will see that those subscribers who remain with you for five years often remain much longer. 
The patron journey from being a first-time ticket buyer to becoming a subscriber isn’t all that different than the patron journey that organizations employ to cultivate a patron as a donor. In fact, I would argue it is the same journey! Take a look at your subscriber base. While you may know if your subscriber base is growing or shrinking, there are several other factors to consider.

How many first-year subscribers renew for year two?

You should be converting a minimum of 40%

How many fourth-year subscribers renew for year five?

You should be converting a minimum of 85%

How many five-year or longer subscribers do you have?

You should have a minimum of 40%

What is your five-year subscriber drop-out rate?

You should be less than 50%

You should be able to run all of these reports out of your CRM solution. If you can’t, then you need to get another CRM fast!
If your subscriber base isn’t healthy, ask yourself the following question, “How are we engaging our subscribers on a ...

The post Patron Journeys: Time to Renew Your Subscribers appeared first on Patron Technology.

Customer Service: How to Prepare Your Staff for the Frontlines

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 13:00:32 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Hatsumi Yoshida, Assistant Bookkeeper, Patron Technology. 
Prior to making the jump into the arts sector with my role here at PatronManager, I held two different positions in customer service. One as a sales associate/cashier at a famous Times Square retailer, the other as a lead teller at one of the world’s largest commercial banks. My time in these positions really taught me how personalizing your service to the customer you are helping, can make all the difference.
When I began as a sales associate, connecting to customers was an exasperating experience. The clothing store I worked for had over one hundred employees and a high turnover rate, so they put very little time/money into properly training us. Consequently, I had a difficult time conversing with customers and ended up leaving my position after a year.
Unlike my previous job, my first week at the bank was entirely dedicated to training! I remember at my first session, the instructor Joyce said, “We do not need you to be counting tools since there are machines to do that. We want our tellers to build rapport with customers.” She immediately introduced us to the Teller Express, which showed a fake profile of a customer. We were trained how to use the data we collected, such as their birthday or where they were from, as conversation starters. I spent hours practicing different scenarios with Joyce and the other new hires. This practical, hands-on training taught me how to build (and grow) personal relationships on a foundation of trust with my customers.
For example every Thursday, I had a customer named Joseph. He would come into the bank to cash his check from Lincoln Center. Noticing the name of the employer, I said, “Hi Joseph I see here you work for Lincoln Center, what do you do there?” Although Joseph looked like he was having a rough day, he seemed happy to converse with me. He replied, “I work as an engineer for Lincoln Center moving around sets.” We then proceeded to discuss some of the projects he was most proud of such as setting up for The King the I. After ...

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How to Prepare Your Staff for the Frontlines
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Is Your Customer Service “Activated?”

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:00:00 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Alyssa Jean, Client Cultivation Specialist, Patron Technology. 
Why is it that art has such a profound effect on its viewers almost instantaneously? Museums, cinemas, and theatres all act as catalysts eager to activate patrons in their own unique way. From my time working in professional theatre, I have seen the significant role artists serve as powerful communicators. But one of the most critical lessons I’ve learned is that the effectiveness of that communication does not begin at showtime, but rather with the early implementation of “activated” customer service.
Often times when it comes to training customer service representatives, we focus too much on the “supply-side” of communication (i.e. relaying correct information, appropriate responses, box office policies etc…) and not enough on the “receiving-side,” specifically, listening. It’s obviously crucial for your staff to be knowledgeable and to be able to answer any basic questions that your patrons may have. But what if a more complicated situation arises in which a protocol isn’t already in place? Is your staff equipped to tactfully listen to a patron’s problem and help suggest a creative solution?
As a former theatre House Manager, I came to find that active listening was the most powerful tool I possessed when interacting with patrons. I distinctly remember one night when a concerned family approached me on the closing night of a sold-out show. The family explained to me that they had purchased six tickets to the show and when they arrived, only four tickets were available. The box office was swarming with patrons and as a House Manager, the responsibility then became mine to find seats for this anxious family.
Although the house was completely full, the family pleaded with me to understand their frustration and begged me to help them. I smiled calmly and replied, “I’m going to make sure that you all see this show, is there anything else I can do for you in the meantime?” They all thanked me and repeatedly told me how much this meant to them. I knew that there were no extra seats available but after listening to their circumstance, gauging possible alternatives and working with the rest of ...

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The Benefit of An Internal E-mail Newsletter

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:00:34 +0000

In all the years I’ve been writing about email marketing, I’ve always focused on how your organization can target, and engage your audience. I never really paid much attention to the idea of an internal newsletter. That is until I read this post titled, The Benefits of Creating Newsletters for Internal Purposes (and How to Make It Happen).
The article caused me to pause and think about what we do here at PatronManager to keep our employees updated and motivated towards our goals. First, we use Chatter a ton, obsessively in fact. For those who don’t know, Chatter is an internal communication tool built right into PatronManager/Salesforce that mimics Facebook style conversations.
We have over 15 Chatter groups including departmental groups, a full company group, and even one dedicated to our “cheese club.” In some ways, our “full company” Chatter group serves the purpose of a newsletter when we have big announcements to make. We also have a monthly live “all hands” call where we present an update for the whole staff. So it didn’t occur to me to do an actual newsletter, which I think is a pretty interesting idea.  
For your organization, the article points out all sorts of benefits — not just the obvious ones around keeping people updated. This is a place to celebrate successes, call out individual achievement, and help focus on important goals. It’s also something you could repurpose and send to your board members and/or donors.
Do any of you do an internal email newsletter? Would you be willing to share it and/or let us know how it’s working for you?
I’m intrigued!

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Executive Directors: Here’s Your Pre-Season Checklist

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 13:00:41 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager. 
With Labor Day now behind us and summer winding down the fall arts season is about to begin. Hopefully, you have had an opportunity to pry yourself away from your desk for a much-needed vacation. Now that you are back in the office do you and your team have a plan in place to have a great season? If you are behind or just feel like it, you need to move quickly. Here are some very important things you can do to strike out on the right foot.
As an executive, one of your most important tasks is to clearly set and manage expectations. Internally, your board of directors and your team need a stable leader. You, in turn, need a board and team that you can rely on to be responsible for the key metrics of your organization and exercise the authority to achieve them.
Begin With Your Board
Your board is the foundation of the organization. They serve four very important functions: Sponsor, Ambassador, Governor, and Consultant. In order to execute in these four areas, they must be informed. While you may have gotten their buy-in on the events in your season and they may have unanimously approved your budget, have you taken the time to carefully outline how the organization intends to achieve the approved outcomes? Many times these kinds of money conversations get buried in the finance committee or split between several different committees that don’t understand the full scope. It is important that the board realize and commit to two critical concepts:

Their most important job is to help the organization raise the money needed to support the organization’s activities.
As ambassadors, their ability to evangelize to their network is critical to cultivating new ticket buyers and potential donors.

Market Smarter
In most instances, if you are offering subscriptions, you are past your renewal period and are marketing to first-time subscribers. If you fell short on subscriptions you may have to adjust your single ticket numbers. However, just rolling over the dollars into your single ticket campaign without a strategy is not a recipe for success.
Take a look at your marketing plan ...

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Here’s Your Pre-Season Checklist
appeared first on Patron Technology.

How Important Is Customer Data? The Case of Amazon vs. Ticketmaster

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 13:00:19 +0000

Last month, the rest of the world learned through news reports what many of us in the ticketing industry had been aware of for a while — that has designs on selling tickets. Tickets are the ultimate digital product because you don’t need a warehouse to provide the product, which makes it an ideal target for Amazon. The entrenched commercial ticketing industry is led 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 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 it markets events to these buyers in a highly targeted way (the company uses the Salesforce Marketing Cloud to power these efforts). That’s its approach.
Now think about Amazon’s approach. It’s pretty much the same — marketing directly to consumers on behalf of Amazon and its selling partners. This company, too, has a rich database of millions of buyers as well as an incredible ability to segment and market. With technology and a big customer database, Amazon has been displacing nearly every brick-and-mortar retailer in the world.
So, in its quest to get into the ticketing business, Amazon apparently tried to forge a deal with Ticketmaster that 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.
This is worthy of significant attention. Amazon tries to partner with the giant of the ticketing industry in order to enter said industry, and what stands in the way? Customer data.
Yes, it is customer data that’s the currency of every Internet marketer. Without it, you’re shooting in the dark. With it, you ...

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The Case of Amazon vs. Ticketmaster
appeared first on Patron Technology.