Influencer, Influenced or Influential: How do you use data?
Whether you use data to influence your decisions, or if you consider your data to be influenced by the decisions you make, it’s a key component to helping your team works together to ensure the sustainability of your organisation. Lucy Costelloe, Ticketsolve guides us through the process. Ticketsolve is a Pioneer Sponsor of A New Adventure, AMA Conference 2022.
Whether you use data to influence your decisions, or if you consider your data to be influenced by the decisions you make, it’s a key component to helping your team ensure that everyone stays on track in the most challenging circumstances to ensure the sustainability of your organisation. At the Ticketing Professionals Conference this year (2022), I asked attendees of my session an important question; how would the world be different if your organisation vanished tomorrow? A gust of wind comes along and with it, swipes away everything you work so hard for.
How would the world be a different place if we weren’t doing what we’re doing?
It felt strange asking this question to passionate ticketing folks at the largest ticketing conference in the UK as, without our arts, culture, and heritage organisations - there’d certainly be a lot fewer tickets for sale, that’s for sure!
Since 2020, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with The Arts Working Group. The group members are arts managers located in the UK and we’d meet regularly to discuss some of the barriers experienced by the industry and use these meet-ups as an opportunity to share any solutions and ideas that they might be trialling. The dedication of these colleagues and the work of their organisations firmly plant our beliefs at Ticketsolve that our organisations have a powerful role to play in the shaping of society.
Have you ever sat back and thought about the impact of the work you do and how would the world be a different place if we weren’t here doing what we’re doing?
It’s fair to say that the organisations we partner with serve a specific purpose and add value to their communities. They are mission-driven.
Mission is usually how we measure success whether that’s explicit or implicit. It’s a far-reaching goal, one we should never convert but one we strive to reach all the same. The fact that our mission is always just out of arms’ reach, shows that what we do is make an impact. It is the positive change we want for our society.
For Farnham Maltings, being purpose-driven and mission-driven helped them weather the pandemic, and see them succeed long into the future. Their mission is simple - “we are committed to improving the quality of people’s lives across all the communities we work with”
If you’re not familiar with their organisation, Patrons visit Farnham from diverse backgrounds to participate in workshops, as audience members or as exhibitors in one of Farnham’s craft festivals.
Their dedication to their mission and their deeper understanding of their community allowed them to refocus quickly when the pandemic struck and they were forced to close. They understood that as a hub in the community and with many vulnerable and isolated people needing help, their mission - to help make people's lives better - was one they could still action.
How it feels
So we’ve made that sound nice and warm through rose-tinted glasses! In reality, how does it feel to be fuelled with passion and motivation…. To be mission-led?
Something a little unsteady?
Did you know that emotions are used more than logic to make decisions?*
We make hundreds, maybe thousands of decisions every day and most of them are based on what our emotions are telling us. We make decisions with projected challenges and struggles such as lapsed bookers and recruitment. And, there are the unexpected challenges… the humanitarian crises in Ukraine and the pressures facing organisations due to rising costs of gas, electricity and everything in between!
We’re in recovery and reacting proactively to the rebound of Covid-19, but we’re also being propelled at a faster pace to look at other challenges that we’ve been facing for years such as funding, sponsorships, and investing in digital, lapsed audiences, smarter algorithms, changing cookies. Sadly, the pressure you have been feeling to make tough decisions won’t go away unless we can find better solutions to problem-solving and critically reflect on how we inform our organisational strategies.
*as cited in A Brief History of Decision Making, Leigh Buchanan & Andrew O'Connell
Influencer, Influenced or Influential?
It’s time to consider your use of data when dealing with disruptions. Or recent years, we’ve become so greedy for data. We’ve exploited it, we’ve abused it, we’ve given it away ourselves as consumers, but have we really ever looked at our use of it?
Are you an influencer on the data generated by your organisation? In other words, are you action-driven?
Do you allow data to influence the decisions you make within your team? Are you insights-driven?
Do you trust your gut and go where the wind takes you? Are you doing something revolutionary without a map for navigation? Have you considered yourself as someone encompassing an influential mindset?
I’ll be really honest. In our sector, with the resources we have… teams can be very reluctant to try something that’s never been done before. But that’s ok, we just like to know that what we’re doing has worked for our neighbouring theatre up the road and we’re not risking time or budget!
Innovation through Data
Innovation means something different to everyone but if we strip it back to a simple concept, my favourite definition I found is from a scholar named Schumpeter, who defines it as “the doing of new things, or the doing of things that are already being done in a new way”.
Our project with the Research Council looks at how creative organisations make important decisions around challenges during high-pressured circumstances or crises. It’s a focus on creating transformative change for the sector by understanding how certain factors impact the mission of your organisation.
Information overload is a real barrier for teams. Analysis Paralysis is a real thing and it negatively impacts the output of teams.
Analysis paralysis occurs when your brain suddenly becomes overtaxed by worry or pressure. Consequently, you find yourself unable to respond to a mental, psychological, or emotional challenge, and you fail to execute in the critical moment.
Where the right thing to say is stuck in a verbal traffic jam between your brain and your mouth.
Too much information can have a negative impact on your team. You really need to understand what’s important for your team, your organisation, and for your mission.
In the creative sector, we speak a lot about impact. Impact is a 'strong' word, it’s a feeling nearly - intangible! And sometimes, we feel the pressure to measure our purpose and our success and overcompensate with lots and lots of metrics. But focus on what is actually meaningful and don’t fall into the trap of analysis paralysis or data for data's sake. Basically, throw your vanity metrics out the window (unless you need a pick-me-up. In that case then definitely have a quick look, gain your confidence and go make action).
The capabilities of introducing a Ticket Levy within your pricing modules
Something our team have been chatting about internally is simple methods which can be implemented quickly through Ticketsolve to support your teams with the pressures for additional funding and development opportunities.
One of these is how you can use Ticketsolve’s booking charge feature to add a hidden levy within your ticket pricing to increase your venue’s income through every ticket sold. Introducing a simple €/£1 contribution as part of your ticket price, through a hidden charge, can quickly secure additional funding for your venue. Implementing a ticket levy through Ticketsolve is simple. But it’s effective.
For one member of the Ticketsolve Community, implementing a ticket levy has secured 7% of income towards match funding opportunities, refurbishing their venue and other areas in which otherwise funding would be scarce!
Now ask yourself again, What type of place would the world be without you?
At the beginning of my presentation, I asked you to imagine a world where your organisation doesn’t exist. You might have struggled so let me leave you with some food for thought!
We used to share good news stories a lot over the last two years in our webinars and I wanted to bring it back in a slightly tweaked manner.
AMATA at Falmouth University invested in digital during the lockdown. They pivoted their strategy to focus on creating work for the camera. They created new opportunities for artists and students and went as far as working with the Edinburgh Fringe Digital Showcase. Coppice theatre in partnership with AMATA went on-demand with the Fringe Society with a programme that focussed on STEM-based subjects and appling them in a cultural context called Science Adventures. This piece has since been licensed to 5 schools and widely opened up the reach of the theatre company. They’re booked in for Pleasance this summer!
Frog and Bucket
I think John Bishop understands the value of Frog and Bucket in his life. After doing a sell-out at Manchester Arena, they were his first stop on the way home. Where it all began!
Regent Theatre Ipswich
Donate to the Ukraine Appeal to help provide food, first aid, clean water, shelter support, warm clothing and medicines for those impacted by the conflict in Ukraine. This team generated 200 donations in just 2 days and over 450 donations to the British Red Cross since implementing the campaign as part of their booking journey.
Lucy Costello, Head of Marketing, Ticketsolve
Ticketsolve is a Pioneer Sponsor of A New Adventure, AMA Conference 2022.