Telecharge Bolsters E-Mail Database, MarketingTelecharge.com, the ticketing arm of theater owner Schubert Organization, is upgrading its e-mail database systems as it relies increasingly on online marketing to boost ticket revenue from Broadway and off-Broadway shows.
A new data link by Telecharge.com vendor Neighborhood Email has been installed to track buying patterns, conduct more targeted marketing and improve maintenance of the database of e-mail addresses.
"This project allows Telecharge.com's transactional data to be automatically and securely streamed each week to Neighborhood Email's servers," said Jennifer Tattenbaum, e-commerce manager at Telecharge.com.
Neighborhood Email, Indianapolis, designed a database query tool that lets Telecharge.com's marketing department create sublists from the master database. This is based on specific criteria like buying history and geography.
The data link will keep the database more current as opposed to manual updates of e-mail addresses monthly. It also will manage unsubscribe requests across multiple lists. Finally, Telecharge.com will be able to conduct more targeted online marketing based on demographics and past purchases.
"We developed a system that empowers Telecharge.com's marketers to query their transaction database on the fly, and then send e-mail messages without going through the IT department," said Neil Berman, president of Neighborhood Email.
"The company can send alerts to ticket holders if a show is canceled, or the marketing department can use this feature to improve direct marketing efforts by analyzing past buying patterns," he said.
This upgrade is one of many tweaks by Telecharge.com. The company later this summer will start an online newsletter. It also will implement a system for the box office and call center to collect e-mail addresses in a more methodical manner.
Interestingly, Telecharge.com conducts minimal marketing activity. And the little advertising it does usually is restricted to radio spots and ads in travel and tourism publications in the New York area.
Still, such low-decibel marketing has not stopped the company from expanding its online business. Forty percent of revenue now comes from online ticket sales versus 10 percent to 15 percent two years ago.
"One percent of the people who received the e-mails actually bought tickets," Tattenbaum said. "The average is 2 1/2 tickets per order. But we get only $6 per ticket sold and $2.50 per order. That's the service fee revenue. The ticket revenue goes to the producers of the show."
Furthermore, the database of addresses collected through box office, call center and viral marketing forwards is growing.
This certainly is a big change for a company that largely was a passive redemption mechanism.
Telecharge.com sells tickets for Schubert's 17 theaters as well as 100 other New York shows it serves. Targets mainly are previous ticket buyers, ticket holders and consumers who signed up on Telecharge.com to receive ticketing information.
E-mail marketing for the company began in June 2001. E-mails drop two to three times a week on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to people in the New York area, and to those beyond more intermittently. The Telecharge.com database has 250,000 names in New York and 150,000 outside the city.
Telecharge.com's e-mails typically promote specific Broadway and off-Broadway productions, special pricing or discounts, gifts with a ticket purchase or exclusive seating offers. The e-mails include the show title, description and critics' commentary.
Broadway tickets are priced from $50 and $100 and off-Broadway $30 to $60. All e-mails call recipients to click to purchase.
"E-mails are helping us migrate more of our ticket sales to our Web site," Tattenbaum said. "They're also helping us build a relationship with our customers so that we have more repeat buyers. Besides, it's much more profitable for us to sell a ticket online than it is by phone."