Ticketing and marketing systems for audience development

AmbITion Forums Digital Doctor Ticketing and marketing systems for audience development

This topic contains 17 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of Roger Tomlinson Roger Tomlinson 3 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #6427

    This is a great example of consolidation too Roger – massively important to be able to show cost savings and efficiencies to funders and investors in this financial climate.

    This forum thread is turning into a great resource and thread – its valued, thanks :-)

    #6430

    Thought I should update on the Glasgow procurement process.

    Four organisations collaborated and by mid July had compiled a detailed Functionality Specification (251 separate items) and completed questionnaires on their sales and marketing operations and agreed on a formal invitation to tender. This was sent to 12 ticketing and marketing system suppliers who were known to have viable solutions, though the devil is in the detail and it was important to identify that the suppliers could actually meet the needs, as well as offer an affordable package.

    In practice only 8 tenders were received and processed, and after some analysis, the four collaborating organisations met to discuss the short-list. Interestingly, every organisation chose to involve their team of staff, so there was considerable engagement from both Box Office and marketing.

    One system was unanimously chosen for formal evaluation, but there was much discussion on a second system to evaluate, with the quoted costs proving a significant hurdle. The range of quoted costs was huge, calculated by us on a ‘five year cost of ownership’ basis: the highest tender was nearly four times the lowest tender, and some suppliers’ systems were eliminated simply because they were not affordable. Even the range within the lowest cost systems was wide, with variations in functionality and therefore the degree of fitness-for-purpose. Eventually we agreed a second system for formal evaluation.

    The teams from the 4 collaborators gathered in the Culture Sparks offices (14 of them) and spent two intensive days going through the functionality specification in detail with the suppliers to confirm fitness-for-purpose. We asked the suppliers to send trainers to the sessions so there were no demonstrations and much more “show us precisely how”. The focus and attention to detail was impressive, and a gruelling experience for the staff from the suppliers.

    The process proved a challenge for one of the suppliers, since it steadily emerged that their system simply did not conform to the requirements, and the teams were soon realising that the system was unsuitable. This is salutary, since the whole point is to find out whether a system can do what is required, and it is dangerous to assume a “ticketing system” will actually do what you want, in the way that you want.

    The decision after the evaluation sessions was quickly taken and unanimous: that PatronBase was the preferred supplier. Since these 4 collaborators in fact will install separate systems, the intention is to get some economies from implementing at the same time, and a discount from the supplier for multiple licenses. Negotiations are now under way with each venue for their contract and agreement.

    What the process has demonstrated is that with rigour there is a compatible low costs system which can meet the demanding requirements of organisations such as the Citizens Theatre, The Arches, The Tron and the Cumbernauld Theatre without them needing to compromise.

    Roger

    #6432
    Avatar of Julie L Tait
    Julie L Tait
    Member

    Agreed, I think the latest stage Roger describes in this process was revealing to all concerned about the value of the time taken to interrogate suppliers and thier systems with an expert on hand to support and help drive the process.

    Above all its an excellent example of pooling knowledge and determining fitness for purpose to get the return on investment all of these organisations are seeking.

    What we-ve found in our experience working with members and other arts organsiations across the country is that the three assets you need to build audiences are not often recognised in equal measure. Derek Allen refers to the first, The Source project has revealed weaknesses in the other two. They are:- a company culture which is passionate about building relationships with audiences, competent system to gather, store and manage information about the customer which is easily accessible and above all, people with the up to date skills to use and exploit these assets. While this process is primarily about the second, the lasting legacy is that this goup recognise themselves the opportunity for future collaboration on areas like training, shared techincal support and advice, peer to peer support. Just the ticket really…..

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