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Three cultural organisations in Wiltshire are now under one collective umbrella, giving them the opportunity to share data and cross-promote performances and offers, says Alice Young.

Photo of street art, woman hoisted on seesaw

With a changed funding landscape and rapid shifts in consumer behaviour, many regional arts organisations have found it beneficial to work better together – collaborating on individual projects and audience development initiatives, re-thinking their box office consortia arrangements, or even combining operations.

With this data, it can build deeper relationships with audiences and define future audience engagement approaches

For the three arts organisations now under the collective umbrella of Wiltshire Creative, the realities and opportunities of the evolving arts economy meant amalgamating three cultural entities into one. That created a shared box office and CRM that could harmonise and analyse historical data from three different systems.
Formed in February, Wiltshire Creative brings together Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury Arts Centre and Salisbury International Arts Festival. Rooted in the city of Salisbury and drawing audiences from across the country, Wiltshire Creative is a national portfolio organisation and also receives regular funding from Wiltshire Council and Salisbury City Council.

Its executives wanted to better understand demand patterns and preferences. That meant that creating and sustaining a coherent and data-informed view of the local arts audience was strategically important. By identifying this opportunity to develop arts audiences through a 360-degree view of their engagement and purchasing habits, it can be confident that opportunities aren’t being missed to cross-promote venues, performances or packaged offers, as well as creating more possibilities for cross-art commissioning in the city.

Joint new platform

Each of the three cultural organisations had its own box office operation with three separate customer databases and ways of working. It was decided to source a system that would integrate all customer interactions into one shared database and be flexible enough so that all the teams could easily access and report on their data to understand audience and donor behaviour. There would be operational cost savings from this approach, but the real value lay in the potential of creating a holistic view of individual customers and understanding more about how they engage with cultural offerings across Salisbury.

Tim Croall, Communications and Sales Director at Wiltshire Creative, said: “We really needed a system that could understand and amalgamate all the data from the three organisations accurately – but also quickly. Each of the legacy systems was using a different data structure and that all needed to be migrated to the new system cleanly. We also wanted a system that could improve the purchasing experience, increase upselling and help move more of our sales online.”

Easy integration

To meet these objectives, Tim and his team opted for the Spektrix ticketing, marketing and fundraising system. Deployed in the cloud and needing only an internet connection to use, it is designed to be quick and intuitive for staff, as well as customers making a ticket purchase from their laptop, tablet or smartphone.

The Spektrix application programming interface (API) makes website integration straightforward and allows Wiltshire Creative to build a site that gives online ticket-buyers an easy online experience, while at the back-end Spektrix captures and correlates sales and charitable-giving data from all customer touchpoints.

In three months, the Spektrix implementation team merged all the historic data, membership schemes and impending on-sale dates from three systems into one and trained the Wiltshire Creative teams on how to use their new system – in time for May and the first on-sale of the new joint season.

Building on loyalty

Wiltshire Creative has since taken advantage of Spektrix functionality to cross-sell events, upsell add-ons such as drinks packages, and prompt online donation requests based on booking behaviour and basket size. It is also working to enable customers to book access tickets online.

Wiltshire Creative can now easily access all the new and historic data to identify loyal bookers, potential members and major donors. With this data, it can build deeper relationships with audiences and define future audience engagement approaches based on the sales and engagement data captured across the three cultural organisations.
Spektrix’s marketing capabilities and email integration have enabled Wiltshire Creative to create time-saving automated email campaigns. For example, they welcome new customers and seek feedback from audiences immediately after performances.

Promising signs

“We now have a box office and CRM system that lets us identify customers who can be progressed up the ladder of engagement,” says Tim Croall. “Spektrix’s analytics and e-commerce capabilities are helping us turn single tickets into repeat customers, encouraging customers to become supporters, and increasing incremental sales.
“We can properly cross-sell venues and performances now and encourage return visits. For example, in recent months, some sell-out events at Salisbury Arts Centre have attracted up to 40% first-time attenders to that venue. It’s relatively early in the life of Wiltshire Creative, but the signs are good that we are building a secure future for our arts audiences.”
Alice Young is UK Managing Director of Spektrix.

This article is an advertising feature sponsored and contributed by Spektrix.

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Photo of Alice Young