Data. It’s critical for organizations to gather it, assess it, and use it to guide business decisions. As a marketer, tracking metrics for us is imperative to defining what’s working and what could be working better.
Each year, I hear GSCA members clamoring for more information on audiences, and the industry. However, the most basic of details—overall theater attendance*—is reported by less than half of member theaters.
According to those venues that do report, the task takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes to complete. So what’s stopping 55% of theaters from sharing this quick, simple stat? Has there been a bout of mass amnesia around login credentials? (Contact Kelly, she can help with that.)
Perhaps the reason runs much deeper, and theaters believe it is of no importance or use to them? Again, those who do report tell a different tale.
In the Netherlands, at Omniversum, they use it to track their performance against other dome theaters. They also use it to define overall trends in attendance. Both measurements are often shared with their Board, and have been useful in securing funding and sponsorships.
At Cincinnati Museum Center in the U.S., the information is included in their bi-monthly Board report showcasing year-to-date attendance as a percent of the last three years. This is then compared to the same figure for all theaters worldwide, and the competitive subset of dome theaters. They even pull end-of-year data over multiple years to chart trends by segments. For example, how are domes faring compared to 3D? The results have elicited both fascination and curiosity.
Clearly, the information is useful, even with low numbers reporting. Imagine how much more useful and accurate the data would be if all theaters delivered their totals.
There’s an additional incentive for reporting, too. Money. Theaters who regularly report receive a discount on their membership.
So, why the anemic reporting figure when theaters (and other members) have so much to gain from 60 seconds of their time each month? You’d think we’d be closer to 100% rather than struggling to make it to 50%.
From both a marketing and business standpoint the answer escapes me. But then, maybe I need more data.
Submitted by Rich Swietek, Friendly Giant Marketing. If anyone cares to illuminate Rich on why they don’t report, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @FriendlyGiantME, or on Facebook at the Friendly Giant Marketing page.
*GSCA's Theater Attendance Reporting Program (TARP) is a benefit of GSCA membership. With this powerful but easy-to-use program, theaters report their total attendance monthly and are then able to compare their data relative to aggregate data. Individual theater data is anonymous and viewable only by each theater's designated TARP administrators. GSCA members who are not TARP administrators or who are not with a theater are able to view aggregate data. If you have forgotten your login or have questions about the Theater Attendance Reporting Program, please contact Kelly Germain via e-mail or at 1-651-917-1080.