With Arts Council England introducing new data sharing requirements for their National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs), now is as good a time as any to think about how you are currently sharing audience data, and how you might go about this in future. The Arts Council’s new guidelines are aimed specifically at their NPOs, but data sharing is becoming increasingly relevant to the arts sector as a whole, so it’s something that everyone should be thinking about.
Whether Arts Council funded or otherwise, there are benefits to venues and partner companies in working closely together and finding ways to share data.
So what do these new guidelines mean, practically?
There are two key points to take away from these guidelines - remember that at the moment these are only mandatory for NPOs:
- When it comes to working with other NPOs as external producers or event partners, Arts Council guidance is that customers should be prompted for their contact preferences separately for each NPO partner company, as opposed to generic ‘third parties’.
- Customers should be prompted for these preferences during the purchase path, when specifically booking for events related to these partner companies.
Should I be interested in this?
As we said earlier, the ACE guidelines are (at the moment) only applicable to NPOs, so there’s no obligation for anyone else to follow them. However, we think it’s important for the industry as a whole to be looking at smart ways to share data so even if you’re not an NPO, we would definitely suggest looking at the way you collect customers’ contact preferences.
What is Spektrix doing to help venues?
Whether you’re an NPO or not, it’s already possible to generate useful insight in Spektrix by segmenting your database, using a combination of contact preferences and booking history. The important part is how you set up your contact preferences - the ICO’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (see paragraph 86 in this document) state that an indirect consent may be enough to opt customers in to receive marketing emails depending on whether the customer could anticipate their data being passed on. Our opinion is that a single statement of consent to all presenting companies a customer has booked for would probably be enough to meet these criteria, as the customer could probably anticipate their details being passed on. In contrast, a generic third parties statement wouldn’t be specific enough, as the customer wouldn’t be able to anticipate who their details might be passed on to.
We do though see the benefit under some circumstances of allowing for more specific consent to be given, by capturing contact preferences for specific companies. We also understand how it can be useful to gather customer preferences every time they book for an event by a partner that they haven’t been asked about before, and not just once when they set up an account with you.
As such we're going to introduce a brand new system concept of Partner Company to allow you to set a preference for each partner company you work with, alongside an overall update to the way in which we’re structuring contact preferences. Lastly we're introducing a prompt during the transaction process where you can capture customers' partner company preferences any time they buy tickets for companies they haven’t booked for before.
What this means is that regardless of which sales channel they’re using, you can present customers with the relevant data protection question for all of the events they have in their basket. The idea is that if a customer is buying for three events which are each produced by a different partner company, you can capture their preferences for each company.
Don’t worry, we’re still making sure that everything follows standard data protection guidelines, so customers will only be asked for their preferences once per partner company, and will be able to log into their account and change their preferences at any time.
Depending on the number of partner companies you work with, you can choose which one of these two options best suits your organisation - either set up a single contact preference giving general permission for partner companies, or set up individual contact preferences for each of the partner companies you work with.
When is this coming?
We’ve been monitoring this topic since back in 2014, but now the Arts Council’s guidelines are fully in place we’re confident that the new features we’re introducing are going to be more than enough to meet the guidelines and improve your ability to capture customer preferences.
The new features are in development now. The timeline for getting them ready to release is still a little flexible but we’re aiming for a release later this year.
We’re always available for a chat, so if you want some more information on this then don’t hesitate to get in touch.