Shakespeare’s Globe – the journey towards a CRM strategy

Shakespeare’s Globe – the journey towards a CRM strategy

By Helen Dunnett
Doug Buist


Follow the journey of Shakespeare's Globe as they put in place a comprehensive CRM strategy. This in-depth article gives you useful pointers to powering up CRM within your organisation (whatever its size) and a framework that you can use for your own projects to make a business case for change.


Doug Buist- Head of CRM & Brand, Shakespeare’s Globe

Helen Dunnett - Director, HD Consulting

Chapter 1. Discovery

Back in the depths of 2013 we began to think about how we could better understand the Globe’s different groups of audiences, visitors and participants.

A distinctive point about the Globe’s offer lies in it being founded around the interaction of performance, learning, research and tourism. It follows, therefore, that in order to experience the Globe brand at its peak ‘customers’ should be aware, at least, of the rest of the operation. Yet the way we communicated, facilitated and, to some extent, programmed activity often discouraged that possibility.

To use an analogy of Nina Simon’s (Executive Director of Santa Cruz Museum of Art) about cultural organisations having doors (metaphorical and real) that audiences enter by: the Globe has a lot of doors.  That could be something of an advantage. But it often felt that once you’d made your choice as to which door to go through you were locked in the first room you entered.

The Globe welcomes around 400,000 theatre-goers, between 320,000-350,000 visitors on guided tours, and over 100,000 students to our Education programmes (which includes work with 3-18 year olds, undergraduates, Globe MA and PhD postgrads, and public events for adults). Each of these is a significant group in its own right and illustrates that the Globe is not simply a theatre with ‘added extras’.

Surveys of Exhibition & Tour visitors showed there is a split of around 66% international visitors and 33% domestic. Because we don’t collect data on them as individual purchasers our engagement ends with them as soon as they leave site. We also know from surveys that there isn’t a huge amount of cross-over with theatre audiences. What we didn’t understand was why which limited the audience journeys we could build. We wanted to know how else we could continue our engagement with international visitors and whether our domestic visitors would be interested in engaging with our theatre seasons if we could get the information to them? Similarly, we had no understanding of whether teachers simply came out of professional enthusiasm/obligation or were patrons in their own right having their own experiences.

In short the Globe was not maximising engagement with its ‘audiences’ and we decided there were two things we needed to do to change this.

The first was that we needed to collect data better. This would involve looking at the procedures and systems we used. Before we got to that, though, it was evident that we needed to support any technical investment with an understanding of the behaviour and motivation our audiences and what we wanted to achieve. It is important to be armed with that understanding before beginning the procurement process for any tech or software.

Having established these two objectives we spoke with a number of agencies about how they would approach these challenges; our brief focused very much on the issues we faced and outcomes we wanted. We commissioned Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, working in conjunction with HD Consulting, to take forward this work.

The key learning here, however, is not that you need to identify the right agencies to work with but that it is essential you identify your goals. If resources are limited you may decide to carry out the work in-house, but it is vital that you call on your knowledge and imagination to set your destination before you begin.

Read the article.

Image: Shakespeare's Globe. Credit: Miki Govedarica

Resource type: | Published: 2018