Sunday, May 10, 2009

Capture Information

First off, I am amazed at the number of organizations that don't want to invest in data hygiene. Most likely, your database is the most valuable thing in the office. If my building was on fire, it would be the first thing I would try to protect. If your database gets corrupted or is out of date, it will compromise your ability to hit both earned and contributed revenue goals. So invest in data hygiene so that your database is as clean and up-to-date as possible. Send out your data for in-depth hygiene services and appending at least once a year, and go through the NCOA process quarterly.

That being said, don't let opportunities to capture information go by. I just got back the data hygiene reports for Arena Stage this past week, and we had roughly 20,000 bad addresses (which isn't surprising since we have such a large database). However, when I looked at the report closer, almost half of those bad addresses were due to missing contact information. So I did some investigating, and realized that when we were processing complimentary ticket requests, we were not asking for contact information. If we are going to give away a free ticket, I would like to be able to at least contact the recipient for a donation later in the year. So we now have a new policy -- to process a complimentary ticket request, we must have your contact information. This goes for contest winners, promos and donations as well.

We have also recently engaged Target Resource Group as consultants, and in our initial meetings with them, they encouraged us to find ways to collect contact information for all members of group bookings. Group bookings can be a very large source of revenue for Arena Stage. For example, 34% of our revenue on single tickets for Crowns came from groups, which means that most likely 20% of our houses were group bookings (when taking into consideration our subscriber base). But we only have the contact information for the group leader. Knowing that the best prospects for subscriptions and donations are individuals who have been to the theater before, not capturing contact information for all group attendees is a costly mistake. So now we are devising incentives for group leaders to provide contact information for every person in their group.

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