Some months ago, I posed a question on the GetAmbition Ning site – “what information we should ask for from a ticket buyer…..as a minimum?”

In light of recent funding changes that have or will affect many organisations, I thought it was worth re-visiting.

My first five were (in no particular order)

• First Name
• Email
• Mobile
• PostCode
• Data Protection Options

But, as those of us with box office backgrounds know, the time to ask five is not possible as you are trying to get a show in, those of you with non Box Office backgrounds, will be familiar with Box Offices telling you this. Time pressures aside, why are these five so important?

First name

Helps us personalise. We are selling a personal experience in many cases. Let’s address our audience as they want to be addressed – as individuals

Email

Email was becoming a dominant marketing channel some years ago. The prevalence of mobile handheld email devices such as BlackBerry and iPhones have meant we can get to the customer even when not at their desk or home PC – with up to date rich content.

Mobile Number

We see more and more people at the venues working with PatronBase only ask or use a mobile number to contact people. By 2008 almost 80% of households had a mobile phone(1); we can also use SMS and MMS technologies to deliver short information messages or even a ticket as a barcode

Post Code

A bit of a no brainer. With postcode and house number you can resolve the full address, something to ask the customer on their next visit. But with postcode alone at least we can use the information as part of reporting, analysis or funding applications.

Data Protection Options

Always a hot topic – “do I really need to ask that?” – is a question I often hear. All legalities aside, why would you not want to ask your audience how they want to communicate or receive information from you? The question can significantly increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.

I have been engaged with a number of organisations whose data collection could be described as ‘ruthless’ – one for example said they would refuse to sell a ticket to someone who would not give their email address or postcode. I did ask the question why they would do this, when perhaps the person was from out of town, paying by cash and had no wish to join the email list or receive a brochure. They did, I think, see that their policy perhaps needed some revising.

They have an access policy, a refund policy and almost always a staff comps policy, so why don’t a lot of organisations seem to have a data collection policy? We all know that the only data we want is good data. But we must look at why we want it and what we are going to do with it……. if anything. (But that’s another subject)

(1) Office of National Statistics

This is a historical post previously posted to patronbase.co.uk