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GDPR’s Silver Lining: Focus on Data Driven Decisions and Improved ROI

Lucy Costelloe
29 May 2018
GDPR’s Silver Lining: Focus on Data Driven Decisions and Improved ROI

Afterall the misuse of data and data collection affects us all. But GDPR also gives our organisations two advantages: 1. If a customer is sharing data with you, it’s because they really want to engage with your organisation. 2. With this increased focus on data, we have the opportunity really think hard about how to best use customer data and segmentation in our sales and marketing strategies; and really engage with our customers.

But First . . .GDPR Compliant Data

Before we can take advantage of any opportunities that GDPR can bring, we need to get compliant. Recently, we ran a series of GDPR workshops that outlined in detail exactly what arts organisations need to do to get GDPR compliant. If you have not started this process yet, do have a read of our GDPR Playbook (email us to get your copy). The guide is a great resource for arts organisations who need help getting started with GDPR.

Segmenting Your Market and Data

GDPR is about securing personal data and information, and the appropriate use of that data by an organisation be it a school, business or non-profit. In fact, in many ways, GDPR encourages you to really think about how you communicate with your customers - making them, not you - the focus. We have written many times about audience segmentation (here, here and here) and the invaluable role data plays in helping to segment audiences effectively. If you are not already segmenting your audiences, there are some really compelling reasons to consider doing it right now.

  1. Better conversions. Segmenting your market means that your marketing messages will hit the right target at the right time, in turn leading to a bump in sales.
  2. Less time, money and marketing effort. Let’s face it, arts organisations really need to make their money, time and effort stretch and work hard. A scattershot approach can (and often does) waste all three of these valuable resources. Taking a targeted, segmented approach to your efforts is far more efficient.
  3. Happier customers. And here is the crux of it. Customers prefer it when you talk to them about things that interest them; they are more inclined to buy if the message feels directed at them and not generic. GDPR has reframed the data question forcing us to really consider not only privacy concerns but also how we can use the data we hold on customers that best meets their needs.

The Tools for Data-Driven Decision Making

The fantastic thing is that there are a myriad of tools to help with gathering and analysing the entire customer journey to help you make better marketing decisions. These tools can also help you to identify segments worth going after, or if even if there is a case to not segment at all. Data can help us determine how to segment: demographics, interest groups, proximity to the venue, frequent bookers, first-time bookers, etc. A general best practices rule is that your segments should be measurable, substantial, accessible, differentiable and actionable. Pulling all of this data together gives you the opportunity on a granular level to create and test marketing strategies for very specific audiences.

Data Driven Decisions and ROI in Digital Campaigns

Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics Ultimately, the goal of any marketing campaign is to get the biggest possible return on your investment. Again, powerful tools such as Google Tag Manager can give you instant feedback (via data) on the success of your campaign. But GTM only gives you data from one aspect. The real strength here is the interplay between Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. For example, with Tag Manager, you can decipher a form click versus a normal click, and even get special insights such as a ‘hover over’. So if your customer hovers over a particular show, but does not click, you could follow up with them with a special discount or other remarketing campaigns. This is a more advanced use of Tag Manager but can be done through the setup of an audience or goal within Google Analytics. This combination of tools and data allows you to really make educated decisions about your marketing campaigns and how to maximise conversions. Mailchimp Another great tool that can help with data-driven decision making is Mailchimp ROI reporting and automation. This has been a game changer for many Ticketsolve customers. Take Hertford Theatre, who set up an automation to target lapsed customers who have bought a ticket in the last 300 days. 8.9% of these customers have re-engaged and 'and more importantly, re-purchased! It was these tools and more importantly the data that these tools provide that has allowed Hertford and others to harness data-driven decision making to increase ROI. Facebook Another Ticketsolve customer has really engaged Facebook as a successful promotional medium, and over a 12-month period, they have seen four times their return on investment. Their success comes down to data-driven decision making, where they have tried and tested several ideas (with varying degrees of results), and changed their marketing strategies as needed. This data-driven mindset and the use of powerful tools such as Google Tag Manager has helped to define their very creative and results-oriented culture. If you want to learn more about how to successfully implement data-driven thinking into your marketing campaigns, check out our Marketing Campaign Playbook.

Data-Driven Decision Making in Traditional Arts Marketing

Do we really need to send out brochures? Brochure mailers are a standard in the arts industry. Direct mailers certainly have their place amongst certain (well defined) audiences. But brochures have a massive cost from production to mailing - they are not a cheap option for marketing. Often they are also generic, i.e., our whole database of patrons gets a brochure. But maybe we should deeply consider the value of brochures and specifically who should receive them. I personally receive brochures from various organisations when I haven't been in attendance for over five years. Our real-life example of this questioning, came recently when we worked with a Ticketsolve customer. Together, we carried out an A/B experiment on their direct mail brochures. In the end, we were able to save the customer £14,000 on their brochure mail outs. How can we justify such a cost without sufficient ROI?

Data Driven Thinking Lets You Move Fast

One of the key advantages of data-driven thinking is the ability for arts organisations to be agile. The arts industry is stretched: for time, money and resources. This is a given and a state of the industry that is not changing any time soon. Given the constraints arts and culture organisations face, a model that allows you to trial strategies, and importantly move away from those strategies if they are not working is a huge advantage. Learning to experiment - and potentially fail - is naturally something we are afraid of. But if we could fail fast, that would give us the room to be agile and move quickly away from strategies and tactics that don’t work to ones that do, increasing our overall ROI. Data is the key ingredient to create this agility.

Data-Driven Thinking: A Real World Example

We can point to a Ticketsolve customer to show you a real-world example of this data-driven mindset in action. Using Ticketsolve's Google Analytics integration, the theatre is able to see and analyse their customers' journey down to a very fine level. This high level of clarity allows them to tweak marketing campaigns and messages to improve their return on investment. Similarly, with Facebook Ads, they are able to thoroughly analyse their data giving them invaluable remarketing information and strategies. Specifically, the Ticketsolve Mailchimp integration allows them to further improve their direct mail campaigns using automation with particular attention to re-engaging lapsed customers. Having such focus on data, also means they have a focus on ROI. Take for example their Facebook Ads which are central to their overall marketing strategy. Using Ticketsolve’s Facebook integration they can establish ROI’s for every single campaign they run, giving them a deeper view into what works and what doesn’t. For example, in the last year they have run 719 campaigns on Facebook with a reach of almost 400,000 people. What is significant, however, is the ROI they got from these campaigns. From the 719 campaigns, they reached a ROI of 338%. One particular campaign saw a ROI of almost 3900%. The proof is in the results: the revenue generated from Facebook campaigns in 2017 alone accounted for almost 10% of their online sales. This really shows how powerful data can be, and the feedback loop that can help to fine-tune marketing campaigns, strategies and tactics.

Data Driven Thinking is Integral to Ticketsolve

Data-driven thinking has always been central to the development and improvement of the Ticketsolve platform. Looking at aggregate customer data has allowed us to really understand the patron buying journey. This understanding helped structure how we refined and redeveloped the Ticketsolve front-end. We looked closely at how patrons navigate sites that use the Ticketsolve platform. These real user experiences, which are recorded on Ticketsolve customer sites, helped to ensure that our redeveloped front end improves on the customers’ buying journey. We are constantly using real user data to improve Ticketsolve’s front and back end, making it more user-friendly.A Final Thought Love it or hate it, GDPR has forced us to reevaluate how we gather, use and keep customer data. We have the opportunity to really re-examine our relationship with data, find that silver lining, and use data as a driver to help our own decision making, and ultimately, improve our customer relationships.

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