Putting Audiences Centre-Stage: Take Action (3/3)


Focussing on the interests of customers is no rocket science, you just need to start somewhere. Embrace the change, be an ambassador and stay on the competitive edge.

What you need to do

Finally, there is the question of how best to get started. And as is so often the case, it starts with being aware of which data is truly relevant and should be collected systematically. At least as important, however, is a willingness to change among marketing teams, directors and management.

Encourage a data-oriented mindset - but focus on the essentials

The biggest mistake you can make is to "give up" old transactional data when converting the ticketing system. Almost always, only customer master data (such as contact information, addresses) is transferred to a new system, even though this is information that actually becomes obsolete (on average 15-20 percent per year!). Transaction history (who bought what) is almost timeless and worth ten times more. If you want to understand your customers, you need to find a way to secure this transactional data. There are few alternatives to this.

In addition, a second point is important: keep a clean record of all past performances and concerts. This may sound simple. But too often a PDF or a messy, unstructured text document is the only thing that tells you who and what was played at a particular concert three years ago. This is practically worthless for a clean analysis. It is essential to have a structured (that can be a neat table!) and consistent record of every (!) piece of work and performer played.

The future is here

"The future is already here - it's just not evenly distributed." [1]

Gibson is right. The future is already here. Cultural institutions have a choice. Either pioneer now or perish in the collective transition in 24 months. The pioneers will enjoy decisive advantages, and everyone else will spend the next 10 years trying to catch up. So, the choice is really a moot point.

Be an ambassador for change in your team, department and company. Have difficult but necessary discussions and don't be discouraged by counterarguments. Consider it a good opportunity to sharpen your own arguments and become even more convincing yourself.

Help others to see the benefits for them personally, their goals, their team and everyone around them. Make it concrete, make it their issue.

The future is already here - it's just not evenly distributed.

[1] William Gibson, The Economist, 04/12/2013

Catch up on the advantages in Part 2: Interest-based customer segmentation is the future