Data driven decision-making

This blog was posted by Sebastian Cheswright on November 4, 2015 as part of the CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy. You can find out more about the project here.

Digital innovation is a challenging thing – where to focus one’s attention with so many options available… My focus has recently been drawn to looking at the customer journey of our sister venue, The Peacock, necessitated by some challenging audience figures. The approach we took has been data driven, using insight from our newly installed CRM system Tessitura, as well as other data sets including google analytics and audience survey data.

We looked at sales and attendance for each month over the last ten years, and learnt that while some genres of shows consistently delivered well regardless of the time of year (especially Christmas), there were some definite trends of concern, due to the changing London marketplace, and booking patterns for families in the summer. As a result, we’ve already changed our programming policy, focussing on shorter runs, maximising revenue at peak times, and avoiding riskier times of year, unless the product is right.

We also looked at customer demographics data from our post-show surveys, and we found that people visiting The Peacock were more likely to be first-time visitors than those to our main house (and around 10% were completely new to any UK arts attendance).

In terms of online behaviour, there were several blockers to people finding shows at The Peacock, partly due to the volume of programming at our three venues (which resulted in 50% higher drop off rate for Peacock bookings), and partly due to confusing results on search engines.

To remove these blockers, our solution was to create in-house a new website,, which could easily be found on google, and which presented a simply curated choice of shows exclusively at The Peacock. The design was clear, colourful, dynamic, and simply signposted, for all the first time visitors. We were also able to incorporate the new branding that had been created as part of the wider Sadler’s Wells brand refresh.

Linked to this, were some new social media profiles, which would capitalise on the amount of existing chatter already happening online, so we created @peacocktheatre for twitter,, and a Trip Advisor profile. By separating the profiles from our main house, it allowed us to segment our audience, target the messaging much more effectively, and take a more informal tone of voice for all communications.

We’re now two months in to this initiative, and early signs are encouraging: we are already selling a quarter of tickets for Peacock shows through, and in time, our hope is to increase loyalty, returning visitors and Multibuy bookings. Watch this space…

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