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Since its founding almost a century ago, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has grown to become one of the United Kingdom's most respected and celebrated theatrical companies in the world.
Despite its global reputation for excellence, the RSC realized that it needed to reach a much broader and more diverse audience, while retaining its core, loyal customers. Improving audience analytics was critical to the RSC's sustained success. If it better understood its audience, it could use this information to help plan productions and target its marketing efforts more effectively. By selling more tickets, the RSC would achieve a stronger financial return, which would bolster funding appeals to patrons and sponsors.
Gaining a better understanding of its audience posed a daunting challenge for the RSC. While the theatre company was skilled at staging complex 17th century battle scenes, it lacked the technology infrastructure, software and skills to launch marketing plans based on detailed audience analyses and segmentation. The only source of box office information was from a basic ticketing database that offered few insights into the demographics and behavior of its current and potential audience members.
As a multi-year corporate sponsor of the RSC, Accenture had already demonstrated its commitment to helping the theatre achieve high performance and thrive. Building on that financial support, Accenture offered to help develop an audience analysis capability that would help shape a bold marketing strategy and generate customer insights that would enable the RSC to retain and grow current audiences, re-engage with lapsed audience members and attract new audiences to Shakespeare.
Accenture was uniquely qualified to help. As a leading provider of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, Accenture clearly understood the value of customer analytics. And its deep technical skills, alliance relationships and global capabilities had helped clients in all industries transform their marketing functions to achieve high performance.
Accenture deployed a team of professionals highly skilled in CRM and marketing analytics to help the RSC be as successful at CRM as it was artistically. It quickly became clear that the RSC's challenge was just as complex as that of Accenture's regular clients. The theatre company required the same methodologies and leading-edge analytics software that would enable a global retailer or a financial multinational to achieve high performance. Working collaboratively with the RSC, Accenture profiled the theatre company's current and potential audiences. This profiling effort was important because it would serve as the foundation for a comprehensive marketing strategy for the theatre's Stratford-upon-Avon and London audiences.
The Accenture team began by loading more than seven years' worth of ticket-buying data into systems at Accenture's Customer Insight Center in Milan, Italy. The data set comprised more than two million patron entries that included names, addresses, shows attended and price paid for tickets. Using data processing technology from its alliance partner, Teradata, a division of NCR Corp., Accenture created a new RSC audience database that could be easily and quickly segmented based on customer behavior. The Accenture Customer Insight Lab in Bangalore, India, performed the necessary data checks, refreshed the data model as needed and reported on changes and results. Accenture leveraged its strategic alliance relationships with KXEN, makers of advanced data mining and analysis tools, to comb through the mounds of data and identify specific audience segments and patterns of attendance behavior.
Drawing on its alliance relationship with Acxiom, Accenture factored in more demographics in the audience analyses. These new factors included income, profession, age of children and lifestyle indicators. This level of data allowed the RSC to understand how the characteristics of its customers differed across the various segments. Accenture is currently working with Acxiom to apply geo-demographic information to the RSC audience profiles. The goal is to understand the likelihood of audience members to attend productions based on their locations. This work will help the RSC define the optimal geographic targets for its regional and national tours.
In the most recent development in this relationship, Accenture has helped the RSC to develop propensity models for attendance at the company's new temporary Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. The goal of this initiative is to maximize and maintain audience attendance while the RSC's permanent theatre spaces are being transformed. The Accenture team has created a propensity model to assist the RSC to identify and target the customers most likely to attend performances in the Courtyard Theatre. This model will enable the RSC to fill its Courtyard capacity more efficiently by not spending money targeting customers who are unlikely to come and give more resource to attracting new audiences to the RSC.
Accenture helped the RSC define and understand its priority audience segments, and also helped the company select the technology that integrates box office, marketing and fundraising data around a single customer database. Since selecting Tessitura Software® from Impresario LLC, the RSC has enjoyed a system able to support and stimulate its CRM aspirations and a new way of cross-functional working.
Based on the new analytical capabilities, the RSC marketing team produced a series of targeted mailings and initiatives that have increased the core audience base by 30 percent. Specifically, since Accenture's involvement began:
In addition to developing effective and actionable segmentations, Accenture has helped the RSC meet its revenue target more quickly. By meeting its commercial targets faster and earlier in the season, the RSC is able to concentrate its efforts on filling capacity and building a loyal customer base for years to come.
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