Tessitura European Conference – Session Notes Day Two

These are my notes from day two of TEC2018, you can find day one notes here and my takeaways from the conference post here.

Session One: Wordfly – Send it Smarter

Data that comes back from emails is immediate and actionable – people need to get out of the mind-set of ‘just send’ and focus on behaviour and motivation.

Open/Clicks/Shares – important to compare campaigns to each other. Labels are important – you should label all emails in one campaign together for direct comparison.

Wordfly has joined up with a service called ‘Behaviour Infuser’, (it’s a paid service of course!) that you can use to send triggered emails based on web behaviour.

  • Measuring Metrics
  • Choose your baseline metrics – ticket sales? RSVPs?

In Wordfly settings, can choose Google Analytics to track.

Tessitura Source ID number is another metric (this one probably doesn’t work for us- going to our own website breaks that link).

A+B testing – what is your strategy behind it?

You can create surveys in Wordfly too via Pages (also a paid-for service) which passes info back to Tessitura. This can inform you on what works/doesn’t work in marketing copy. Pages works like the Wordfly email editor but edits a webpage.

  • Email Marketing can often be the place where people rediscover you.
  • You need to appeal to the ‘unique-ness’ in people’s mind – they don’t want to feel like they are part of a mass campaign.

This is where dynamic tags save a lot of time – can you create one email but replace a lot of parts with custom options.

In the subscriber list, you can segment in Wordfly within that list based on behaviour.
It’s more and more important that customers get a good experience via the inbox or you risk losing them completely. 30% of customers go elsewhere after just one bad experience.

Recent Design Additions

  • Gradients
  • Background images
  • Video (note: to work on systems like iOS, would need to embed video as mp4 in website and work from there.)
  • Animated GIFs (this could be really useful!)

Popular designs right now are laid-out grid-style, Instagram-like.

GIFs are often placed in the lower right corner, under the thumb for right-handed people on mobile view.

Less text, more image. More dynamic colour.

If you have to add a lot of text, make it easy to read, make it bigger.

Upcoming Wordfly Features

  • Layers, fonts, overlays and shapes added to Image Editor. You can also change image size and quality to fit.
  • Unlimited sign-up forms with customisation and preferences.

Session Two: Dynamic Pricing – From Digonex

Dynamic pricing is often seen as gouging the customers – but actually it’s about adjusting based on supply and demand, both up and down according to the market. So the more data you have on market demand, the better.

Often organisations only run dynamic pricing based rules about capacity (e.g. increase by x amount when reaching y capacity) and often based on educated guesses.

Also can miss market changes by doing this.

Digonex work with agolrithmic pricing which can take advantage of all factors, though it is important to view this as customisation – can set an approval system so the algorithm only recommends rather than act, for example.


Look at your discounting system – is it gowing your business or are your full prices actually wrong?
For attractions in particular, they can price day-by-day based on attendance, weather and many other factors etc. If you are totally transparent about why the price changes and set rules (for example, prices don’t go down so early bookers aren’t disadvantaged) – there won’t be a backlash from the public.

Examples inputs for Digonex are based on data from Tessitura, as well as marketing spend, Google Analytics, internal performance/show reports, weather, fuel prices, economic conditions, competitor pricing.

Also keep an eye on the substitution effect – if one show has a special price, how does that affect other show’s revenue?

Session Three: Business Intelligence Face-Off

Wales Millennium Centre Case Study – Dynamic Pricing

They tried dynamic pricing a high-value show, and had obvious high-value areas not sell. So they created a heat map of the entire run to identify small zones which were individually priced.

They used an excel spreadsheet to track the capacity of each zone, then once one zone hit a capacity target, box office could percentage price up (by 5%. then 10% depending on demand.)

The issue is that using T-stats for data means that the data is always out by one day.

Also, manual changes are time-consuming, especially at the start of the process.

National Theatre Case Study – Key Targets

Their three key organisation targets are

  • First timers
  • Under 35s
  • BAME audiences

Used a mix of Tessitura and Survey Monkey data – the issue with surveys is that not everyone answers. Therefore, the survey is weighted, in their case by membership because their members are more likely to answer.

Metrics on their own don’t always look so great, especially year-on-year, but can be much more interesting when compared against each other – how many first timers are also under 35, for example? Processes like these give you much more varied data.

Session Four: Accessibility Ticketing

  • Legally in the UK, you have to provide equal access.
  • Also, if you have international patrons, you may need to be aware of how they might view their rights and what to expect.

Remember that models of disability shouldn’t put the onus on people.

Not all issues are obvious – is the website designed with disabilities in mind, for example.
Booking in particular can be an issue

If you can show a clear commitment to accessibility, this leads to trust that access needs will be carried out – especially when trying to break down the barriers of getting people to/into your venues

Tessitura allows you to put a line on the online booking form/process that creates a CSI report of accessibility – allows people to give very specific instructions.

Can use the info given not just for the event at the time, but also marketing in future – because you know who is coming/not coming to your events and how to cater to them.

Session Five: Digital Comms

Need to spend time doing short, focused campaigns across multiple digital platforms – can be resistant to this if it looks like you’re missing groups.

Audience data builds better comms, which equals better loyalty.

Case Study: Science Museum

The hardest thing (as a museum) is data capture – to increase it means changes of behaviour in FOH staff and visitors.

They didn’t give a script to FOH, but create a flow chart to guide visitors through data capture.

Then, need to sort BOH process to ensure data is handled well. Create a data hierachy to develop more emails to shorter lists. For Science Museum, this resulted in more tickets, also more online booking.

Pre- and post- visit emails increase customer satisfaction.

They looked at membership at Science Museum – the entry point for membership is quite low, so they created a membership e-newsletter to increase loyalty, and segmented data based on number of visits per year and geographical proximity.

Case Study: Royal Danish Theatre – Online Ads

Relevance = better
More relevance = smaller audience for the ad

They used Facebook and Google Ads with an automated feed, using the Facebook pixel – sends data automatically to both spaces from the website. All productions are automatically added, and changes automatically update with prices/images etc. So all you need to do is manage the update.

Future of Owned Media is Email

GDPR – people are much more aware of their rights.

Emails is not splashy, viral, sexy etc. but it can be your most powerful tool, and also most cost-effective.

Social is more for the audience you don’t already have!

You do need to invest in email – there’s a point of data collection, which is making sure you know who your audience are and what they are.

Make sure you give people good content as an incentive to stay subscribed.

End of the Conference!

So, those are all of my notes – saved here so they’ll always be available to me, and perhaps useful for any arts marketers, whether using Tessitura or not!

Tessitura European Conference – Session Notes Day One

So, a week later, I’ve finally managed to get my notes in order from TEC 2018, and they’re ready to go up. I’ve split them into two posts, one for each day, and you can find my day two notes here, as well as my initial takeaways post from the end of the event.

Session One: Tips and Tricks for Selling in Tessitura

This was primarily a session for box office-based staff, but it was a really interesting eye-opener on the work that they do (which I don’t often get to see!), plus a few shortcuts for navigation that I didn’t know. There are even more shortcuts on the powerpoint which should be uploaded to the Tessitura site. However, all lot of this is heavily technical stuff, so if you’re looking for the marketing stuff you might want to skip ahead to Session Two.

How to Make Efficient Sales

There is a range of time spent for efficient sales that goes from very quick sales, perhaps right near the show start, which just involved taking money and giving a ticket, through to complex multiple booking/upgrading/donating bookings.

Fastest is not always the most efficient method depending on the mode of sale; it may be worth spending more time with certain customers e.g group bookers or subscribers.

The next part was a discussion of fast ticketing tips, and involves a lot of Tessitura references/jargon!

  • The most basic mode of sale is cash, at the box office window
  • From the performance code, you can choose the date (assuming this is a performance with multiple dates)
    The ticket will default to your standard full price
  • CTRL+P – opens the payment window and if the customer has exact change you don’t need to click ‘Apply Payment’ (mind.blown.)
  • If you have assigned and/or price zone-based seating you can rename zones to be ‘keyboard-friendly’ – with names that are easy to find
  • If you are using best available seating, you can fine-tune what Tessitura considers to be best seating for that particular show – e.g. front-to-back, soloist side first etc.

However, fast ticketing methods aren’t good for collecting constituent data, speed is for last-minute sales.

It’s also more efficient elsewhere to force staff to use source codes – it’s more efficient to have that data (where did people find out about the event etc.) for future marketing

The Quick Sale window isn’t just for sale either, it can be used for things like top-up contributions as there is a system for rounding up to nearest whole number/ten etc., and this works even if the event isn’t in your Quick Sale window.

Groups Sales

It is not a good idea to set pricing rule messages for any discount – just let them happen instead (unless there is a operative reason like telling people they will need to bring ID) – otherwise, it is just another unnecessary things to click through, especially in group sales where it is wise to assume that the booker is aware of your group discount.

There is a function in product search and product category that allows your box office staff to look at availability over multiple events, so if someone is looking at booking for a group, they can quickly find best availability.

In Payment Schedule, you can set different kinds of template for payment – than change from within the template to customise if a customer wants or needs to pay on a different schedule for their group.

Another great couple of tips that were really useful for me

  • CTRL+N opens the calendar
  • If you click on the month/year header, it will page back to today’s date
  • In seat view, you can use the arrows in the header to scroll through performances.

You can sell seats in List Manager

  • You need a batch order open
  • Go into the list and assign seats
  • Can also use this function for contributions

For a Major Onsale Event

  • Always remember to use the Hotlist function
  • Can choose straight from the hotlist for things sold repeatedly and quickly.
  • Can use shortcut ALT+B to best seat all.

More useful shortcuts

  • CTRL+T – opens constituent
  • ALT + T – opens last constituent

Quick sale also funnels extras all into one place – particularly useful if during a major on-sale you need to have temporary/casual staff, as it’s all in one place for them.

Source Codes

It is important to customer service to have the right data – to know how people got to you. To make source codes useable, remember to set end dates so they expire when you need them to.

Your operators (box office staff etc.) will not always get the source codes quite right, but it’s close enough to be useful data. Encourage people to use them.

Contact permissions – try to ask as little as possible within legal policy (this is where a script will help staff so time isn’t wasted and all the legal info is there.) You can set a time so that if a customer hasn’t been asked about their contact preferences in a while (e.g. a year, two years etc.) Tessitura will promote staff to ask again.

One last thing – Version 15 of Tessitura will remember your login details (mind actually blown.)

Session Two: Tessitura Analytics Dashboard Hands-on Session

As this was a hands-on session, I mostly didn’t get time to write notes! But here’s a few bits which will hopefully make sense once Tessitura Analytics is live.

Data is stored in ‘cubes’ – the Finance cube captures all transactional data associated with a particular GL code.

The Dashboard navigation is via the sidebar.

  • Here, there are options of different types of folders
  • Dashboards are stored in a grid view – ones you have created and others shared with you.
  • You can choose to duplicate, delete and rename in the sidebar too.

The options at the top are for editing and manipulating the dashboard. Can also change parameters in right-hand dashboard.

When sharing – can choose ‘view’, ‘can edit’ or ‘make owner’ (with this last one, they can then delete the dashboard if they want.)
Widgets on the dashboard can be edited to different graphs.

Session Three: Analysing your Audience: Experiences of Segmentation

Case Study: Roundhouse

They looked at what they needed to know about their audiences to do better.

Marketing ran on assumptions about audiences, and the audience sat in ‘buckets’ by artform, with little or no crossover.

Needed to persuade each department of organisation to understand how segmentation and relate it to the overall business strategy.

The looked at off-the-shelf segmentation but most weren’t right – looked at genre crossover and narrowed down first to 13 segments, then eventually 6 custom behaviour-based segments.

They ran the segments past visitor services to flesh out demographics into pen portrait style cards.

They implemented segmentation engine to further explore these segments and also build individual projects e.g. development/membership encouragement

Case Study: RSC

Every person possible is tagged with a segment

  • Attitude-based segments
  • Done via a short survey, so they can’t tag everyone.

Case Study: RNCM – Using Culture Segments (MHM)

Segmented initially with pre- and post- show emails, then eventually at check-out.

In their first campaign using culture segments, they sent 4 emails, three tailored to each of their culture segments, and then 1 as a control segment which contained a mix of copy from the three tailored ones.

Opens and click-throughs on segmented emails are consistently higher.

Feeds back into programming – now programming with specific culture segments in mind.

Shakespeare’s Globe

(Much of this presentation was similar to the one they did at the AMA – my notes from that can be found here).

They have 3 strands:

  • Education
  • Visitors
  • Theatre

Applied Culture Segments to all three areas.

The makeup of their theatre audiences, like a lot of arts orgs, is vastly different from the UK average.

You can’t have an 8 segment strategy, you need to pick a small number, in this case Stimulation and Essence, which were a potential market growth.

They haven’t yet tagged audiences in their box office, instead they used it to inform branding and design.

From the Q+A section of the session

  • It’s very important not to stereotype audience, especially with attitude-based segments. They can contain a wide range and every segment has outliers.
  • Segments can and will change over time, as audiences do.
  • Work bit by bit, be patient, work with the resources that you have. Don’t be afraid to approach an agency, offers are often scaleable.

And that was day one! A mix of hands-on and practical advice, and case study presentations. My notes for day two are right here!

#TEC2018 – Takeaways from the Tessitura European Conference

I’ve spent the last two days at the Tessitura European Conference (which conveniently happened to be partly based at the venue where I work, and partly just around the corner!) Tessitura is a CRM system designed for event venues and attractions to sell tickets and collect data (and do a whole load of other stuff) and it is integral to a large part of my job in arts marketing.

Unlike the AMA conference earlier this year (you can find my posts about it here) TEC 2018 was partly about marketing and development techniques and ideas, and partly about the actual technical nitty-gritty of the Tessitura system. I tried to go to a range of sessions covering both sides, and not necessarily limit myself to the sessions that directly related to my current role.

The big star of the conference was the unveiling of Tessitura’s brand new analytics tool, and we got to have several demonstrations of it as well as a hand-ons demo. The big appeal of the analytics tool is the many, many varying ways in which you can visualise your data, and how much you can show from a particular audience segment.

There were two other big themes this year, at least in the sessions that I attended. The first leads on directly from analytics – the importance of not making assumptions about your audience. This is something probably all marketing teams are guilty of – assuming that ‘we know this audience and we know what they like’. Yes, analysing the data will often lead you to the same conclusion that you made in the first place, but often new data (or even non-new data) can be overlooked, meaning that either you aren’t engaging at all with a particular part of your audience, or you’ve lumped them in with another segment, and are using marketing material that either doesn’t work or will actively turn them off from your product.

The second was about new trends in dynamic pricing. Other industries have been using algorithmic pricing for years based on supply and demand, but in arts and events, there is often an assumption that it is a bad idea because ‘the audience won’t like it’ or ‘it will devalue our product.’ That isn’t to say that no-one does dynamic marketing, but instead it is done on the same kind of audience assumptions as above, manually and with a certain amount of gut feeling. The thing about gut feeling is that, unlike in Hollywood and trashy crime novels, it is very often wrong. Algorithms can calculate and forecast based on far more variables than the human brain can realistically cope with, especially across many events! This is a fascinating bit of technology that I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of in various forms.

Anyway, my next job is to write up all of the notes that I’ve taken over the past few days, and I’ll try to get those up here soon!