Over the next few years, the digitalisation of our society will become one of the determining challenges for theatres and orchestras, museums and venues. The ability to access extensive multimedia information and make purchases almost anytime and anywhere will create new user, viewing and buying habits across generations.
While online services were initially accessed predominantly from home computers, their use is increasingly shifting to mobile devices: today there are already more smart-phone than computer users. It is therefore not surprising that entertainment offerings are now accessed more frequently on smart-phones than on home PCs.
Online offerings are becoming more and more important for successfully addressing new customers and retaining existing ones for the long term. The user experience is of central importance here. Users quickly get used to functions and standards - such as Amazon's suggestion algorithm or Netflix's easily navigable video offer - and transfer these expectations to other offers. A theatre website is therefore also expected to offer a suggestion for the next theatre production based on personal preferences, and a museum is expected to offer a virtual museum tour that can be easily experienced on any terminal with the same user experience.
Multimedia offers, consulting services, intuitive ticket purchase and convenient mobile use must therefore in future be part of the standard service - also of cultural institutions. Many theatres, orchestras, museums and venues therefore face major challenges. It is also foreseeable that existing competitive disadvantages will quickly intensify: The proportion of users who will only be reachable online in a targeted manner, as well as expectations of online offerings, will grow successively.
Competition is also growing due to a multitude of entertainment formats and players - from Netflix and Candy Crush to opera and orchestra streaming services. In order to survive in this changed market environment, integrated and innovative strategies in the areas of marketing, audience development and online products are required.
Marketing strategies for cultural institutions are essentially communication strategies. For a digital world, they must be developed into integrated, visitor-oriented marketing strategies: These include strategies for expanding digital reach and targeting (new) customers as well as strategies for selecting and designing suitable platforms for (non-standard) online activities. The decisive factor here is to develop one's online strategy independently of platforms. This is the only way for institutions to react quickly to the rapid changes in the market.
Professionalising customer relationship management enables a strategic evaluation of (digital) customer and purchase information that provides important information on user habits and sales patterns. Online tools help in the development and automated communication of the resulting targeted offers. Individual sales promotion measures can sustainably increase the number of visitors, optimise the price structure in line with use, attract subscribers and develop regular customers into supporters or donors.
The "digital extension" of analogue offers is of particular importance for customer acquisition and customer loyalty. Free streaming offers can thus be effective sales tools: Studies have shown that the likelihood of visits by users of streaming services (at the same event or exhibition) is up to three times higher than by non-users. In addition, they offer exclusive marketing space to sponsors and partners.
In addition, the frequency of contact with visitors and with it the loyalty of existing customers can be significantly increased through online offers: Digital introductions to artistic works, background information or programme booklets can prepare users for their visit. After the visit, further information about the work, the epoch and the artist can be provided to deepen understanding of the work and further offers relevant to the customer can be presented.