Revolution for Evolution

Revolution for Evolution



By Jill Robinson, CEO

Week Two of TRG 30 brought more than 500 global arts and cultural leaders together, and it was clear that everyone’s minds are still squarely focused on the “here and now”. Managing and maintaining cash and revenue streams is crucial; it’s where we focused our findings and Q&A. We’re also discovering that so many questions and situations are defined by the market, nation, business model, financial security going into the crisis, and more. Moving forward, TRG 30 will be the place to learn about themes affecting our sector, and our LinkedIn Group: TRG 30 Virtual Network will become the place to get specific questions answered by TRG consultants and peers from around the globe.

We also shared the launch of the COVID-19 Sector Benchmark, a partnership between TRG Arts and UK-based data insights firm, Purple Seven. The goal? To provide real-time intelligence and advice on the economic impacts of the closure of arts venues due to the COVID-19 crisis. The partnership allows bringing together live sales feeds from hundreds of arts organizations across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. to effectively provide data analysis and counsel on insights. Our first major initiative is an easy-to-use international COVID-19 Sector Benchmark Dashboard and available to all participating cultural and arts organizations free of charge. Join us in providing robust, evidence-based intelligence to effectively lobby for support.

What were our themes today? And more importantly, what can you do with them?

  • Sharing data internationally enables us to learn more quickly. Arts attendance started to decline in the US and UK as early as late February, reflecting concern and tension about the COVID-19 outbreak that we all remember. But by mid-March, advanced booking was in free-fall. You can join the COVID-19 Sector Benchmark now to build the dataset further, and benefit from the insights provided by the tools and dashboards we’re developing.

  • Our active patrons—those who purchase at least three times and do even more—are supporting us with their advance investment now. This group is fueling our cash and revenue streams, they’re donating tickets back, continuing as members and subscribers. You can invest in the campaigns and patron communications with these specific patrons, ensuring they’re getting what they need, and that they feel confident about our eventual return. Especially your aging patrons, whom the data suggests are limiting their advance purchases now compared to last year. You can also ask these loyal patrons to tell their stories about the value of arts and culture to others and encourage others to join as members, subscribers and donors, too.

  • Our less loyal patrons and audiences are holding off right now. But we need their investment in our sector’s future, too. How can we create incentives for people in our communities and lapsed audiences in our databases to buy futures in the arts? Imagine a “We’re Back” VIP program, where the purchase of several vouchers or tickets now resulted in VIP benefits when we’re back? Or, where low monthly donations provided a similar benefit. You can lead beyond silos (bust them!) and teach your teams to innovate, and coordinate benefits across all your patron programs so that they reward investment now based on future frequency. 

  • Finally, remember: people do all of this. If you were in Birmingham, England for the Ticketing Professionals Conference last year, you’ll remember me talking about Accenture’s concept of “Human +”. Today, humans—our box office and guest services staff, in particular—are the engine for our relationships and income, and the “+” is tech that supports and makes those humans more productive, more high-impact. You can be sure that your staff has the training, support and critical tech systems they require as they work from home and other locations while we’re in lockdown, sheltering in place, and more.

Some of this feels very short-term, focused on the now. And some it, done with the long-term in mind, can revolutionize and evolve the sector’s future. Now is the time to believe and be bold.

Each week TRG 30 will address the issues important to you, the arts and cultural field we serve. In the meantime, join me, your international peers, and our TRG team in the LinkedIn Group: TRG 30 Virtual Network for real-time, daily exchange of ideas and information.

We’ll come out of this stronger together. Until then, remember: #artsnowmorethanever.

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Posted March 26, 2020
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