Shotgun marketing often misses the target audience

Marketing segmentation – Increase sales with patron grouped communications

Shotgun marketing often misses the target audienceIt’s proven that marketing communications need to be simple, clean, direct with a clear call to action. The days of sending out long email marketing messages that contain all the upcoming events at your performing arts organization are just not effective. Overwhelming your viewer leads to inaction. They simply stop reading and delete the email.

Instead, the better approach is to segment your marketing messages by creating carefully worded and targeted messaging to selected patron groups who have expressed interest in the type of specific event that is coming up.  Communicate about the show content, message, artists, special promotions, and other details that relate to former events they’ve marketing segmentation graphicattended, or how the style is something they might enjoy.  If you can include specifics around why this group of patrons will enjoy this event, all the better. It can create a personal touch to the communication that patrons will appreciate, and lead them trust you more.

Communicate about one event at a time.  Choose selected patron segments that will receive the message favorably and target the language to each segment group.  How will THIS group of patrons connect to this material?  Versus how will this OTHER group of patrons connect to this material? Or maybe some patrons don’t receive communications about this event at all, based on their past history. Over time, test your segmentation and communication choices to see what is the most effective so you can hone your future messages.

Arts People marketing public opt-in list feature

Within the Arts People marketing system, utilizing database / CRM data, you can create as many lists as you wish, with different segments based on expressed interest, past purchases, donations, membership and much more. Using the Public Opt-In feature, you can establish lists for patrons to opt into themselves online, such as based on their areas of interest.  Then you can also create lists based on buyers of each specific event, or types of event, such as comedy, Shakespeare, musical, classical, jazz, traditional, modern, etc.  When preparing to send out communications of various types you can use these lists to segment your message and repeat messaging over time.  

Yes, this type of segmentation takes planning and time to set up, but your patrons will pay more attention to the messages you send out, will feel more confident that this is something they will enjoy, and trust you moving forward to communicate with them personally and efficiently.  


Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike is the Marketing Director, system expert, and one of the original architects of the  Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration.  His work with clients has helped them to increase their revenue while streamlining their box office and back office operations.

Arts People, software for the performing arts, serves theatres, music and dance groups, choirs and opera, high school, college and university programs, performing arts center facilities and more.  


Overworked box officer - Arts People system to the rescue

Arts People’s built in automation lets you focus on your patrons and your art

Overworked box officer - Arts People system to the rescueThere’s never enough time to do everything you would like to do, or need to do, when you’re running the daily operations of a performing arts organization. Manpower is often slim. Pressure is high. Timelines are absolute. If only there was a way to use your time more effectively by setting things up in advance and then letting automation implement your strategy along the way.

Arts People, an industry leader since 2003 in integrated systems for the performing arts, has created a collection of automation tools that arts organizations rely on every day.  The software includes ticketing, fundraising, marketing, database CRM and reporting all in one easy to use system. It is designed to help the staff and board members of performing arts organizations to accomplish their goals through simple yet powerful tools that can be configured in advance to handle the details while enabling staff to focus on other things.  

Flexible scheduling of on-sales

When building a season or individual shows into the system in advance, dates can be set to enable your entire season to go on sale at once, or you can stagger on-sales for individual shows.  Also, the system can be configured to allow advance purchase to subscribers, or to special groups by sending them a non-public link to access purchase before the public sale date.  

Create urgency with time sensitive offers

The pricing system in Arts People is powerful, flexible, and one of a kind. Pricing rules can be configured with specific trigger on/off dates, or set based on hours prior to a performance. So you can automatically enable and disable dynamic pricing, discount offers, coupon codes, membership pricing and more.  At any time, pricing can be increased or decreased with ease, by single performance, by day of the week, by show or for a group of performances or shows.  Flexibility is an understatement with the Arts People pricing engine, and the client services staff is ready to help at any time.  

Simple reserved order confirmations

Unlike many ticketing systems, Arts People has reservation tools to create orders pending later payment. Automatic email confirmation is sent to the buyer so they can pay later online, or cancel the order if they wish. You can also easily send reminder emails with just a couple clicks, or cancel reservations with the same ease.  It’s a great way to offer flexibility and great customer service to your patrons, handle larger group orders, or accept payment for subscription packages at a later date.  

Ticket add-on up-selling

Arts People was the first to offer ticket add-on capabilities. Designed originally for dinner theatres with a need to have patrons select their meal choices during ticket purchase, this tool has been expanded and used creatively by clients to sell retail items, parking passes, flower bouquets for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s day and much more. Having the ability to up-sell during a ticket purchase can mean more revenue with ease.  Since patrons can do this all self-serve via the online interface, or with a box officer on the phone, it also means less time needed handling these details later, and less potential unsold items and waste.  Just print a report before the performance and have everything ready to go.  

Automatic ticket reminders with partner offers

Communication is key to strong relationships and confidence with your theatre audience applauding - successful customer service via ticketing system automationpatrons. The Arts People system comes with tools to automatically send ticket reminders to buyers ahead of their performance date.  This email, like most of our system, is easily customizable.  Use it to expand on the reminder to inform patrons about nearby restaurants that might partner with you on a discount offer. Patrons will appreciate guidance to parking options as well.  Also, add details about your upcoming events so they can consider buying more tickets.  

Follow up emails after the performance are simple to generate as well.  It’s a great opportunity to extend a share pricing discount offer, ask patrons to complete a short questionnaire, or to look forward to the next event.

Print at home tickets with cross promotions

Following the patron’s smooth online ticketing experience, they can specify their ticket delivery option including print at home custom tickets.  Arts People’s ticket designs are the most highly configurable in the industry, with space for sponsor logos, a venue map, upcoming events list, coupons and more.  Even post performance discussions and other details can be featured.  Building on the excitement about their upcoming show can be the ideal time to communicate with your buyers about additional events or details.  Sponsors love the exposure, and recognize the benefits of partnering with you. The details of these tickets change dynamically based on the venue, show purchased and more.  

The easy to use system and built in automation, along with the friendly arts-based support staff, have made Arts People the preferred option for performing arts organizations across the USA and Canada.  Our team helps clients at every turn to use the software to their full advantage.   Since they have worked in the arts and know the needs of the organizations using the platform, clients speak of our customer service as the best they have ever experienced, anywhere.  With integration and high flexibility within the software, the team often consults with clients on new ways to accomplish their goals, and helps them every step of the way to make their operations run smoothly and efficiently.


Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike is the Marketing Director, system expert, and one of the original architects of the  Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration.  His work with clients has helped them to increase their revenue while streamlining their box office and back office operations.
Arts People, software for the performing arts, serves theatres, music and dance groups, choirs and opera, high school, college and university programs, performing arts center facilities and more.  

Arts People supports funding for the Arts – Save the NEA

Executive Producer Jonathan Estabrooks, Producers Michael J Moritz Jr. and Charlie Rosen and Broadway Records President Van Dean have launched the charitable initiative, Artists for The Arts. The initiative gathered an all-star roster of theater, pop, film, dance, spoken word and more artists to record the new benefit single, “A Little Help From My Friends,” with film by Jason Milstein and Fuzz on the Lens Productions and produced at Avatar Studios. Nonprofit organization Americans for the Arts, the pre-eminent national advocate for the arts and arts education and leader of the fight to #SAVEtheNEA, will receive all net proceeds from the sale of the single. Read more about the project in Billboard.


Three words for every performing arts organization – Know Your Niche

I regularly speak to performing arts organizations that try to do all and be all to their community.  The result?

  • They struggle to find their audience.
  • They burn out, barely hang on, and slowly decline.
  • They wonder why the community doesn’t come out en masse to support them.

Ask yourself…

  1. “What would your loyal patrons say draws them to you and keeps them coming back?”
  2. “If you surveyed patrons who have attended only one of your events in the past but have not returned. What would be the reason?”
  3. “Of patrons who attend other arts organizations but have chosen NOT to attend yours, what caused them to make that choice?”
  4. “Of all the people working with your organization, what would they say is your artistic focus, that also makes them want to work with you?  Would they have an immediate and concise answer?”

If you don’t have a clear idea of what the above responses would be, it’s probably time to hone your niche.

It’s a pretty commonly held concept that no single arts organization can be all things to all people. Otherwise said, we can’t please everyone all the time. It’s also can be said that when we think of a region or population area that “has a great arts scene” or “is culturally rich” that one contributing factor is that there’s a great variety of cultural or arts options available; that there is something for everyone. So we obviously value diversity in arts options, which also translates to a variety of arts organizations.  We love choices; different audiences, different tastes, different interests.


Now, let’s imagine.  If one organization were to try to be that variety for their community, and if they hope to achieve it with a degree of quality and consistency, some of the challenges might be

  1. How to attract talent interested in doing your work. While an artist might be interested in one project in your season, they might find no interest in the rest. How do you build and cultivate relationships with a core group of artists and technicians when their interests vary one project to the next?
  2. Audiences also may be divided over your work. They might be drawn to buy tickets to one show that peaks their interests. If they enjoy it they may want to come back. But the next show isn’t their taste at all and then they are disappointed, alienated, and often won’t be back.

So what does this mean for developing relationships with both the artists who create the work, and audiences who want to come see it?  Generally will mean that you’re working to gather talent and audience for each of your projects individually, with greater challenges developing a loyal group interested in your work as a whole.  

So is the model of trying to do something for everyone within a single arts organization sustainable? I think if we look historically at these types of organizations, and to the groups trying to please their community with palatable shows that offend no one and try to please everyone, that this just isn’t the case. These groups struggle year after year in their marketing and communications, their ticketing and fundraising, and to sustain without much growth, and often with a gradual decline in their attendance. Without loyalty in your audience, they are also much more at risk of catastrophe if specific projects miss the mark for audience satisfaction.  A single ticket audience is far less forgiving than the audience that enjoys your body of work over time.


So, what is the alternative? It is to find and hone your niche and stick to it.

What is it your organization is really about?  What is the type of work that the collective members of your organization agree on as their primary interest?  Do you focus on classical theatre with a fresh approach?  Do you focus on contemporary dance, including a commitment to new work each season?  Is it non-narrative musical performance art, or tried and true standards done remarkably well?  Dig deep. Find what it is that excites you as a group and that you are accomplished at creating.  Make the big decision and agree to stick to it and do it better than anyone else in your area.  Become the experts on that particular form.  You may find that some of your members don’t agree.  If so, it may be time for them to move on as you clarify what your niche is.  


Once that is decided, and the quality and passion shows through, you will work to find the audience who loves it as well.  Artists interested in that pursuit will seek you out.  News will spread and reach other organizations that are passionate about that type of work.  You’ll be able to better cultivate relationships and build loyalty in your audience, graduate them to donor support, membership and greater participation.

You must stick to the work you love, so the passion comes through with every project, every performance, every moment.  Communicate this clearly in every message.  Those who love that work will find you, and will be as passionate about it as you are.  They will be your advocates, your army, your cheering section.  


Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike is Marketing Director of Arts People, with the company for over 10 years. He has 30 years in performing arts administration, marketing and creation.

Greg Maguire - selfie

Greg Maguire takes on new role as UI/UX Designer at Arts People

Greg Maguire - selfie

Greg Maguire (pictured), another member of our team, is moving to a new position within the company! As of today, Greg will now be our UI/UX Designer.

Greg Maguire - photography work 2“I’ve spent over 5 years connecting with Arts People users as a Client Services Representative. During this time I’ve acquired a wealth of feedback from clients that I’m certain will be advantageous in continuing to improve the Arts People experience — making it cleaner, simpler, and more intuitive.” Greg Says. “I’ll absolutely miss the wonderful Client Services team, but as a design buff I’m incredibly excited to take on this new position! Greg studied Sociology at the Greg Maguire - photography work 1University of Colorado in Boulder and spent 4 years with Apple before making his way to the Arts People team.

Greg mentions, “I’m an avid patron of the arts and enjoy all forms of performing arts, though I’m particularly fond of live music events. Greg Maguire - photography work 3As for my own artistic endeavors, I’m a dedicated photographer who spends most of his early weekend mornings trying to catch the light at sunrise.” Attached you’ll see some recent photography work from Greg.

Congratulations Greg! We’re excited to have you in this new role.