By Derek Palmer, Managing Director, Executive Vice President, International, Tickets.com
In today's economic climate everyone is focused on providing the right offer to the right patron at the right time. Allow me to share with you my perspective.
Technology obviously plays a large part in this effort. The days of brochures and ushers asking patrons to fill out “contact me” cards in the lobby have given way to complex XRM systems that overlay pricing models and demographics to try and predict and (more importantly) shape consumer behavior. However, the thought process is the same and still seems to rely a great deal on the quantity and quality of data. I would argue it is even more important to have a plan of what you want to do with the data.
Organizations without clear goals for data management risk a condition I have heard best described as "paralysis by analysis" and a waste of valuable time and money.
Before investing in technologies to help manage your data you would do well to ask a few key questions:
1) What are we trying to achieve?
2) What are the key drivers and KPIs that we will use to measure our effectiveness?
3) What are our success criteria?
These are fairly simple questions and therefore it would follow that there are simple answers: We want to sell more tickets and make more money... But how do you achieve that seemingly obvious goal? And what if one doesn't necessarily lead to another? More importantly how do you ensure that you are connecting to the right consumers in the way they wish to be communicated with at the frequency at which they are willing to communicate with you?
Once you have communicated with your target audience, what is your call to action? Too often the immediate response to a slow moving event is to offer a discount to get “butts in seats”, if the goal is to sell more tickets, but does it necessarily make you more money in the long run?
There are many new technologies that allow venues to focus on more nuanced strategies around yield management. Stored Value integrations with merchandise and concession providers offer venues the opportunity to be extremely flexible in their offerings to consumers and in a targeted manner. Instead of giving someone a £10.00 discount on a ticket why not offer them £10.00 worth of value towards purchases at your concession stands or gift shops. In addition to the incremental revenue opportunities, guess what else you get? That’s right-more data. But in this case it is extremely specific data about that individual consumer and their spending habits.
Introducing Dynamic Pricing program for your events is another approach to yield management. Some people will read that sentence to mean “raise ticket prices as high as possible” but in fact a Dynamic Pricing scenario allows just as many discount opportunities and in this case it is based on data. More importantly it allows precision discounting - just because one person in section 400 will only buy if the ticket is £10.00 under face value doesn’t mean the person next to them won’t buy at £2.00 under face value. It goes back to the right offer to the right person.