Nesta / digital R&D

NESTA has given us seed funding for a joint venture with National Theatre Wales and NoFit State to create a product that cultural organisations can use to build creative campaigns for live events by incorporating real-time audience engagement.

Audience development with limited resources is one of the big challenges if you are an arts or cultural organisations. At most live events it’s the norm to capture contact information for as little as 1 in 4 of the audience. That’s up to 75% of the attendees with whom you never get to create an extended dialogue with – despite the fact the audience member may have had a great time or even a life-changing experience at your event. In response to this we created ‘TORF’ specifically to capture data from this vast ‘unknown’ section of the audience.

Patchy and fragmented data is often tied up across multiple venue ticketing systems and bound by data protection. Developing a clear picture of their audiences and building ethical marketing channels is a real challenge.

TORF allows arts marketers to create mobile-optimised campaigns that promote data capture through mechanisms like voting, downloading and commenting. Individual audience data can then be married to show-specific information to form a customer view that can develop across multiple attendances.

The product has been developed using innovative live user-testing techniques at a number of high profile arts events like The Green Man Festival, National Theatre Wales/BBC’s production of Raw Materials and No Fit State’s Bianco. Testing has shown that campaigns work best when the show’s creative and marketing teams work together to create hooks for the audience that are intriguing or participatory.

TORF works equally well on touring events or at fixed venues like galleries, museums and sports grounds. Because it uses SMS as the initial touchpoint any audience member with a phone can take part in campaigns.

Build creative campaigns

TORF allows creative and marketing teams to work together to create hooks for the audience that are intriguing or participatory. Hooks can range from the utilitarian (e.g. downloading a mobile-optimised programme) to highly participatory (e.g. live voting at open mic events or completing live polls on which character you most identify within a show). Because TORF gives you live data on audience interactions it can even be used as a creative tool within the event.

Because the interactions are transparent and engaging, testing has also shown that the audience is far more amenable to follow-up communications, from subsequent marketing through to ‘big asks’ like volunteering or donations.

Capture contact data and create dialogue

TORF has been designed specifically to work with creative events and takes advantage of the ‘hot’ periods just before, during and immediately after a show. On well-designed campaigns, testing has shown up to 35% audience engagement.

Campaigns can be designed to capture any or all of the following:

  • Mobile number
  • Name
  • Email address
  • Facebook ID
  • Twitter ID

Facebook and Twitter ID allows TORF to see all the contact and friend/follower data that the user is sharing publicly.

Live dashboard and analytics

Built-in data visualisation allows you to understand campaign effectiveness. You can even track audience data in real time, allowing you to optimise campaigns during an event or use audience interactions creatively during the event.

Torf stats dashboard

Plays nicely with other systems

Easily download audience data for use in other marketing software or use the TORF API to integrate with your favourite CRM

What’s happening next?

TORF is currently at Beta stage and the partners are looking for a wider range of event producers and creative organisations to trial the platform. If you’re one of the following and interested in trialling TORF, contact us:

  • Performing companies and presenting venues
  • Museums and libraries
  • Music festivals
  • Sports grounds
  • Local authorities and other public bodies which stage free and unticketed events
  • Event organisers
  • Multi-use cultural spaces

Supported by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts in Wales – Nesta, Arts & Humanities Research Council and public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council of Wales. +44 (0) 203 086 8229