Theatre marketing to connect with audiences can be difficult when social media channels are saturated with multiple brands trying to outshine the competition. And yet, despite the saturation, a 2017 report on live performance experiences revealed 66% of respondents said they relied on word-of-mouth to find out about new shows.
Understanding who your audience is and opening direct lines of communication is important in ensuring the communication is based on their interests, needs and behaviours; increasing loyalty and encouraging return visits. When audiences feel understood, satisfaction and loyalty to theatres increases because there is a clear relevance in the communication. Audiences are far more likely to open emails and turn to social media pages for information when looking for new shows as a result of this communication.
We see this with media and entertainment websites, such as Netflix, where online audience data is analyzed and actioned based on previously watched genres, times, frequency and search behaviours. This information is used to create new content, watch lists and suggestions which keep consumers coming back. Netflix has mastered their algorithm of suggesting films based on their millions of user data and by doing so has amassed a global following.
What could theatre companies do with similar, if not more in depth, insights about audiences in their venues?
3 steps to building audience loyalty:
- Connect and identify your audience
- Gather information about your audiences
- Action the insights through theatre marketing
Connect and identify your audience
One of the quickest ways to connect with audiences on premises is through WiFi. Four out of five consumers post about a live experience on social media and use messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, to keep in touch with friends and family. Having a weak connection can hinder the experience, especially when WiFi is considered a utility. According to a Small Biz Trends survey, 62% of businesses said customers spend more time in the facility or shop when there is access to free WiFi. When you pair this with the ability to collect core demographic data, such as email, age, gender and frequency of visits, theatre marketing teams are able to understand their fans to engage them with personalised, relevant content.
Segment information about your audience
Gathering data about your audience members develops a real-time picture of who is visiting your venue, for how long, their frequency and even what their interests are when they connect via social media. When KITAG cinemas in Switzerland invested in the technology to identify their core demographic audience they were able to identify from over 5,000 lines of active customer data the majority of their audiences were 18 years or younger, and see the change in audiences depending on different days and movie releases. Theatre marketing teams can then export this data and personalize communication, increase online engagement and identify audience channels.
Action the insights through theatre marketing campaigns
Audiences travel from around the world to see productions – imagine if you could greet your international guests in their own language when they connect to log into the WiFi. Rather than just have consumers connect to WiFi, theatres can customize login screens and redirect them to particular landing pages, social media streams and online reviews. Theatre marketing can also increase dwell times of audiences arriving earlier to drink at the bar, purchase merchandise and programmes creating an excited atmosphere before the show. Using these channels can also optimise online searchability across different countries by identifying and tailoring to locations.
Consumer satisfaction also increases when they are recognised for their loyalty. In the same Small Biz Trends survey, over 50% of respondents said they were more likely to return to a venue if they were rewarded for spending a certain amount or visiting a number of times. Just over a third said having access to exclusive offers and gifts would improve the experience further. One statistic even found 45% of people surveyed would increase their loyalty if a venue offered money off their bill for paying online, or via app (increasing to 51% of respondents between 45-54).
It is clear audiences are interested in receiving offers based on their relationship with theatres and having the data to create personalized messaging is the foundation for building audience loyalty.
A guest blog from Gavin Wheeldon, CEO of Purple, the intelligent spaces company.
Purple’s cloud-based solution provides businesses with the same in-depth understanding of their physical spaces that website analytics have delivered for years. With Purple’s software enabled over your existing WiFi network, you can access a wealth of rich WiFi analytics to help you build detailed customer profiles and better understand how customers are interacting within your venue. What’s more, the Purple Portal provides unique and cutting-edge marketing tools allowing you to take meaningful action based on the data collected.