How to Fix the Lottery

June 24, 2016 AudienceView Staff

Lotteries aren’t designed to be easy to win, but what do you do when they become difficult to run? Playwrights Horizons faced that exact challenge with their ‘LiveforFive’ lottery, which sold off $5 tickets to the first preview of every production at their venue. The lottery was very successful, perhaps too successful for it’s own good. “It was just a very clunky process,” says Bethany Nothstein, Manager of Audience Services at Playwrights Horizons. “People would send in their requests and they would come in individually, then we’d have to use a very intense spreadsheet to decide who the winners were, and then mail merge through Outlook, and then process the tickets of the winner. It was a very cumbersome process and it was not user friendly.” The need for a change was always present, but it wasn’t wholly necessary until the form collecting entrants for the lottery crashed.

“We were basically caught with our hands tied. After we let the dust settle and figured out that we can’t continue like this, we were forced to make a change. We put our heads together, both the digital manager and myself, and tried to figure out how to fully integrate this lottery system into AudienceView. We were able to use forms, promo codes, and correspondence messages to totally take the process of the lottery in-house. It was so much easier for our users.”

Now Playwrights is able to not only continue its mission of being one of the only institutions in the world to produce plays and musicals by living American playwrights, it’s able to acquire new audience members through the promotion. “We’re able to now have a history of how many times people are entering those lotteries, and see if those people then go on to buy full price tickets if they don’t win, or if they take advantage of a new discount. We’re also able to collect contact information for that group of customers.”

By fixing the lottery, Bethany and her team found a way to monetize the potential guests who entered by didn’t win. And by studying trends, Bethany is able to track people who continually enter the lottery in the hopes of receiving free tickets and market special discounts to them. By fixing their lottery system and bringing it within AudienceView, the team at Playwrights Horizons was able to turn a game of chance into a way to generate thousands of leads.

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