Audience experience

Successful data sharing means putting the audience at the centre of your thinking

Data Sharing for Audience Development & Marketing

In order to grow their audiences both venues, and the companies and artists who perform in them, need to put their audiences – the customers – at the centre of their thinking. The audience experience - from thinking about attending, through to post-performance - is crucial in terms of building relationships and deepening engagement.

For the audience this experience may include complex relationships and mixed loyalties to a venue, company, or particular artist. To expand the market and to enable increased engagement, cultural organisations need to develop a deeper understanding of these relationships. Gathering data on audiences and their activity is one of the chief ways to gain this understanding. However, cultural organisations are often best able to act on that insight and serve their audiences most effectively when they do so in collaboration with other, like-minded, partner organisations.

Received wisdom suggests that cultural organisations are rarely in serious competition with one another for audiences. Where cultural organisations collaborate to reach audiences, all win. This is especially true of venues and touring companies who try and attract the same audiences together. Threats to the share of leisure pounds (and, indeed, hours) consistently come from competing sources outside the sector: local gyms, restaurants, parks, or shopping centres.

Sharing and interpreting audience data is a vital aspect of collaboration since it drives understanding of the market place. Data tells us about our audiences; who they are and could be; who is not attending - as well as who is - and where else they go. It is essential to any successful audience strategy. Personal data (contact details, names and addresses) is also key in creating audience relationships. Organisations that have no access to data are simply unable to participate in the sector’s collective effort to build audiences.