September 13, 2018 Amanda Deely

No matter how big an organization’s marketing budgets may be, it just never seems to be enough. Your patrons are aggregating across dozens of channels while moving across their multiple devices, which makes them hard to reach.   Arts patrons are both educated and affluent which means they are in high demand from other deep-pocketed advertisers, which drives up your own media costs making budgets less effective.

What’s an arts marketer to do?  There are three things arts marketers are doing to market bigger than their budgets:  

Activate Your Data

Most marketers do not know how valuable their data or how much of it exists. Data is the new oil is a great metaphor for this.  As an arts marketer, your organization sits on more actionable data than you may realize. If you could just extract all of this data, and then refine it to benefit your marketing, you could increase sales and reduce the cost of sale.

The first step is to understand what type of data you have. Do you use online data from analytics, desktop, mobile, social and search channels? Do you also have offline data like direct mail and email lists containing patron name, address, email as well as ticketing CRM data?

Now that you know what you have, how can you unify it into actionable insights and then activate it across marketing?

The best way is through what’s called a Data Management Platform or DMP. A DMP is the backbone of data-driven digital marketing and serves as the unifying platform to collect, organize and activate your own data(First Party) and data from other sources(Third Party). This data can come from any source online and offline including desktop, mobile, analytics, CRM, point of sale, search, social, video, and your ticketing platform.   

While arts marketers have an enormous amount of patron data, the challenge is that it typically resides in multiple silos which can make the data unusable. A DMP is the unifying platform that offers a holistic view of your patrons’ demographics, interests, and behaviors.  A DMP takes personally identifiable data and assigns a single unique identifier to the data making it privacy compliant.   

Arts organizations like the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and the Stratford Festival use a DMP to more effectively connect, engage and activate their patrons.  

Leverage Shared Insights & Successes

What if you could take the insights and successes from other arts organizations marketing campaigns and deploy them into your campaigns?  What if instead of spending your own precious marketing budget to test a new strategy or tactic you could start at the fully optimized level based on the success that another organization has already seen?

By aggregating data, arts organizations can benefit from a more collaborative approach to using campaign performance data that benefits everyone.  

For example, the Stratford Festival, Denver Center and Tulsa Ballet all have one thing in common. They share campaign successes and best practices giving them a competitive advantage that they would not have otherwise. Even though they are in different cities, and have different patrons, they all share campaign successes enabling all of them to market bigger than their budgets.   While the geography and patrons are different, where the patrons aggregate online and their patrons purchase behavior is similar. When campaign successes are shared across hundreds of clients from thousands of campaigns, everyone benefits.

In this way, a single arts organization now has the scale and learnings from millions of dollars in media budgets. This type of granular sharing is powered by enterprise tools.

Measure What Matters

Measurement is still one of the least understood aspects of digital marketing. There are dozens of KPIs to measure, all with different levels of importance.  Clicks are valuable but so are views and engagement. The most important KPIs are those that reveal the patron behavior that drives ticket sales.

The most important decision is your approach to either measuring media channels or patrons.  Whichever you choose will take you down a path with very different data. For example, if you market to a patron across three disconnected media channels of video, display and search and there is a purchase, each media channel will report a purchase making it three purchases.  The problem is that it is only one purchase and now your performance data is inaccurate. This is called duplication and can lead to expensive budgeting mistakes.

According to Google/Boston Consulting “utilizing a unified view of consumer’s advertising engagement results in a 30% CPA reduction.” That’s 30% of your budget wasted, by incorrect attribution associated with counting a single purchase across multiple channels, as multiple purchases.  

Instead, those channels should be connected at the patron level.  Now you will see that there was a single patron, you will see the exact sequence of ads, and that the outcome was a single purchase.  Now you can better understand the optimal combination of channels as well as the optimal ad frequency over the optimal marketing period for all of your patron purchases. You can also bring in other channels like Spotify, native and even TV, all at the patron level.  

Arts marketers can win the day through a more unifying approach to data activation, leveraging shared insights from other arts organizations campaign successes and measuring what matters at the patron level. This way arts marketers can truly market bigger than their budgets.

Want to keep reading? See how Cal Performances was able to drive subscriptions through digital to market bigger than their budget.