Using PatronManager For Your New-To-File Ticketbuyer Retention Plan


By: Samantha Teter

In: Box Office & CRM, Marketing & Communications

As you may know, the cost of obtaining a new single ticket buyer for your arts organization is significantly higher than retaining current ticketbuyers and subscribers. Having a retention plan in place to turn new-to-file single ticket buyers into multi-ticket buying households is key to keeping your audience and revenue growing and your marketing costs down.

Each organization can define what a New-to-File single ticket buyer is to them, but this is the definition that I use:

New-to-File (NTF) Ticket buyer: A concert ticket buying household that has never purchased a ticket from your organization or has not purchased a ticket within the past three full seasons.

At the beginning of our 2014/15 season, I tested new-to-file retention strategies with three different methods, all post-concert: a personal phone call from a member of our box office staff, a printed direct mail piece, and an email. With each strategy, we offered the same BOGO (buy-one-get-one free) ticket discount to three upcoming performances (Creating a Retention Strategy will be a future article). Creating the list of those ticket buyers, however, is the first step to the plan.

If you are a PatronManager user, you know its reporting capabilities are robust, but they’re not the most intuitive. Here’s my process.

  • Go to CRM Snapshots – Believe it or not, pulling a NTF report is NOT under Reports. It’s under the handy dandy CRM Snapshots tab. Truly, these CRM reports take the guesswork out of having to pull a report like this on your own.
  • Select TICKETS tab – You’ll see a few options under the This But Not That The easiest one to use is the Patrons who have bought tickets to certain Event Instances but not others selection. Click it.

NOTE: If you aren’t worried about the re-engagement of older ticket buyers, or have less than three years of data in your ticketing system, you can always select, under Frequency Finders, the Patrons for whom a certain event was their first selection. Then just choose the concert you want data from. You can also use the Patrons who have bought tickets to certain Event Instances but not others… in certain time periods  under This But Not That but know that you have to specify a Ticket Order Date, not Event Instance Date, and this could skew your numbers depending on when your tickets went on sale for a season. Both of these alternate snapshots will also take into consideration non-concert events that you may have under Ticketing (classes, dinners, fundraisers, etc.).

CRM Snapshot

Build Your Selections

  1. Under Create a New Snapshot, you’ll want to name it something under the Description that you’ll remember. I tend to use the fiscal year first, concert code, and end with NTF for New-to-file. So my snapshots look something like FY15 MW3 NTF (for our 3rd Masterworks series concert of the 2014/15 season.)
  2. At the Event Instance(s) Purchased section, select the concert from which you want to know who attended as a NTF buyer. If there is more than one performance of the event you wish, be sure to hit the CTRL or SHIFT button to select them all.
  3. At the Event Instance(s) Not Purchased section, begin by selecting all Subscription Packages for the seasons you want to exclude. Then using your CTRL button, select all other concerts that occurred PRIOR to the concert that you are pulling attendees from and go back as far as your time period parameters for NTF. For instance, if I consider a NTF patron to not have attended any concerts in the past three full seasons, I would select all concerts that happened prior to the one I’m targeting this season, PLUS all concerts from the past three seasons. If you have classes, dinners, or other special events, it’s up to you if you want to include them. I tend to stick only to actual concerts that have paid attendance.

CRM Selections

  • Hit SAVE. Then take a break. Go grab a coffee or a candy bar from the vending machine. Because it will take a few minutes for the report to load. It offers you the chance to reload the page periodically to see if it’s done. As someone who has no patience, I try to move on to another task while this is working its magic. Otherwise, I would hit reload every 10 seconds. The report will show under Queued Snapshots until it’s done.
  • When it’s done, it will show up at the bottom of the page under Completed Snapshots. Click on View Report.

CRM Completed

  • If you want more detail to your Report than just what they provide, click on Customize and drag in the additional fields that you want included (mailing address, phone, etc.), just as you would in a regular Report.
  • If you want to Save the file for future use/reporting, be sure to do so after you’ve customized your fields. If you’re going to use this list for email purposes through PatronManager, it is recommended that you Save it where it can be easily accessed for your email campaign. Otherwise, feel free to just Run Report and Export Details.

I hope to delve more into CRM Snapshots in the future and suggest you play with it as well to see what kind of geeky data you can come up with that will help you in your audience development and retention plans.

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Samantha Teter
Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Executive Director Samantha Teter has over 15 years of experience in arts and non-profit marketing, public relations, and sales. She moved to the Chattanooga area in 2012 for the position of Director of Marketing with the CSO, and was promoted to Executive Director in 2016. She previously hailed from Denver, where she was Director of Marketing and Sales for the Colorado Symphony. Prior to that, she was Director of Marketing and PR for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in Indiana. Other arts and non-profit experience includes Director of Marketing and Auditorium Events for the Scottish Rite Center in Fort Wayne and Marketing Specialist for Indiana Tech.
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