Talking Innovation, Competitive Advantages and the Future of Digital with The Lowry’s Rachel Miller

August 13, 2014 Christine Payne

After spending three years as Head of Ticketing for The Lowry and Quaytickets, Rachel Miller is taking on a new challenge. Promoted in June, she is now Director of Marketing and Communications for The Lowry.

In her new role, Rachel is continuing to unlock value for her organization, which has partnered with AudienceView since 2010 to manage two diverse businesses – theatre patrons at The Lowry and regional customers and clients at Quaytickets – with a single solution.

In a recent interview with AudienceView, Rachel shared her thoughts on innovation and the role data plays in the ever-increasing competition for consumer’s leisure spending. She also offers some advice to current and prospective AudienceView clients, makes a prediction about the future of digital ticketing and shares her idea of a dream vacation!

Name: Rachel Miller

Time in Entertainment Industry: 20 years

Past Organizations: Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), Live Nation

Dream Vacation Destination: The Seychelles

Why the Seychelles? Looks beautiful, it’s hot and she’s never been. “I love the sun!”

Rachel is a strong believer in innovation and the vital role it plays in all parts of an organization.The_Lowry_logo

“Without innovation, you stand still and you don’t look at things in a new way,” says Rachel. “I think innovation, creativity, entrepreneurialism – they’re all very important aspects of any team, not just a marketing team, not just ticketing, but any organization.”

The ability for organizations to examine their data in real-time and at a deeper level is also important, helping organizations control the overall customer experience, create personalized marketing programs, uncover patterns and connections, understand how customers are engaging and more. Why?

“There are a lot of things competing for people’s spend, so understanding our customer we can really start to direct the right messages to them, we can communicate with them in the right way, we can change the way we market to these people,” Rachel explains. “So rather than a blanket email, we might send five emails out for a show because we use a different language for each of the different customers. You have to really hone down into what that customer needs, what is suitable to their tastes and their requirements as a customer of the organization, and understand how they make the journey through your organization. So let’s say we’re collecting data from the restaurant, the box office, through development and as well as through learning and education. We may have known in the past that they bought a ticket to the show, but now we’re able to say they’ve also eaten with us, they’ve also engaged with us through our learning and education program, they’ve also donated or helped us from a traction perspective. Getting that whole journey, getting that whole picture of the customer really helps us with regards to maintaining a relationship and also hopefully developing a relationship.”

The Lowry and Quaytickets take great pride in their partnership approach with each of their clients. This underlying organizational style is achieving revenue growth while maintaining a personal touch. AudienceView is proud to play an active role.

Lyric Theatre at The Lowry (Photo by David Lake)

Lyric Theatre at The Lowry (Photo by David Lake)

“AudienceView have been extremely supportive of our organization and has really made huge efforts to understand our business and understand how they can support it. They are very much engaged with us, look to understand what our requirements are, look to understand where we are trying to grow our business and have really helped us with regard to how we use the solution,” says Rachel. “I always call out the fact that AudienceView is almost like a dictionary [of available features and functionality] from A to Z. We used to be at about G but I think we’re getting towards M now. There’s always going to be more that the system can do that we don’t know, so by AudienceView understanding our business and understanding our needs they can help us maximize what the system can do for us. I think that has certainly helped us with regard to growth, certainly with the number of clients because of the range of services we can offer. Probably one of the most pointed areas is the ancillary income that we’ve been able to generate also through the ticketing circles, while there’s the purchase of the ticket, add ons and all of the extra ancillary sales and purchasing data that we can do as part of that transaction.”

At Quaytickets, AudienceView “allows us to offer a white-label solution to a number of different clients, so we have upwards of 20 white-label sites. It’s a great service that we supply to our clients,” Rachel explains. “I don’t think that is something that other ticketing providers would be able to offer, that sort of flexibility.”

The Lowry and Quaytickets also place a high value on the stability of the AudienceView solution. Additionally, Rachel describes the data they can extract via Business Intelligence reports as a “huge advantage to us.”

Moving Mountains in Marketing

While it’s still early days in her new role, Rachel sees AudienceView playing an important part in helping to advance The Lowry’s marketing efforts.

Patrons at Lyric Theatre (Photo by Percy Dean)

Patrons at Lyric Theatre (Photo by Percy Dean)

“We’re going to be looking at how we are tracking customers and tracking their transactions a lot more, following the audience patterns through the advertisement or other media that gets the message out about the show through to the person making the transaction. While we use AudienceView at the moment, it’s a case of how we can use it more. I think linking up all the stuff that we are doing from a marketing perspective and seeing the results in our sales is going to be a link that will probably become much stronger.”

Rachel continues, commenting on the fact that they can track every single piece of marketing activity and see the return on investment straight away.

“Being able to add correspondence codes to all of our [marketing] activity so that we can get a return on investment is vital. Putting [codes] into as many different mediums as possible that we’re advertising to is vital. We’re also looking at high frequency and high spend, running reports to look at customer tendencies over a period of time and how those tendencies have been reflected in the amount of spend that they’ve made with the organization and what they are doing when they are here at the building.”

These reporting capabilities are, Rachel believes, critical to help grow a business. Her words of advice to new AudienceView organizations that may wonder how they’ll learn to make use of all this data and functionality? “Don’t be frightened!”

Stressing that the AudienceView user community is warm, welcoming and supportive of its industry colleagues, Rachel offers another piece of advice to current and prospective users.

“Make the very most of things like AVConnect, make the very most of the [Google] Hangouts that you have and speak to other AudienceView users because there is a lot of support…We talk to each other quite regularly, even without AudienceView initiating that, so the network of users as well as AudienceView networks, make the very most of them.”

Bringing our interview full circle, Rachel shared her thoughts on what she hopes digital will bring to the entertainment industry in the future. Beyond Facebook and Twitter, she sees it as something exciting and larger than life.

“One thing that would be lovely to move forward in the future [is] that on the front windows of buildings you’ve got a touch screen where you can look through the season’s guide, see what’s happening and purchase a ticket without even talking to somebody.”

She describes this type of future, saying “it’s big, it’s massive, it’s very impressive,” and adds that the prospect of a practical link between this type of digital initiative and making a purchase is quite exciting.

We couldn’t agree more.

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