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A Dotdigital Summit interview with Spektrix’s data expert, Sarah Frost

Gain valuable customer retention advice and uncover loyalty-building strategies in this engaging interview with Spektrix's data expert, Sarah Frost.
Interview with Sarah Frost at Spektrix for the Dotdigital Summit.

The Dotdigital Summit is right round the corner and we have an exciting line-up of expert speakers ready to share their insights and knowledge with you. One speaker, Sarah Frost, is a Client Insight Manager from Spektrix, who has a wealth of experience in marketing and data analysis in the arts and cultural sector. In our interview, Sarah gives practical tips on how you can leverage data for stronger customer retention.

Are you curious to learn more about Sarah’s data-driven approach and vision for customer loyalty’s future? Read on and explore her expertise in this compelling conversation that you won’t want to miss.

Q: Can you give us an overview of Spektrix and your role there?

At Spektrix, we’re a team of just over 200 people, providing cloud-based technology for ticketing, marketing, and fundraising to the arts & cultural sector. We partnered with Dotdigital to provide a comprehensive integration that enables our clients to deliver digital communications via Dotdigital. To ensure our users get the most out of our platform we also offer comprehensive and all-inclusive support, training, and consultancy services.

I originally have a background in arts marketing, and I brought that experience and my love of using data to Spektrix eight years ago. In my time at Spektrix, I have worked with numerous arts and entertainment organizations, consulting on loyalty strategy and best practices amongst other things. I co-authored the Spektrix Insights Report in 2019, leading the analysis of sector benchmarks across multiple areas such as loyalty, fundraising, and online purchasing trends. And I continue to lead initiatives to share data learnings, such as the Spektrix Ticket Sales Dashboard, with the sector.

Q: Have you attended the Dotdigital Summit before, what are you particularly looking forward to this year?

I’ve not attended before, so I’m really looking forward to experiencing it for the first time. The breadth of organizations attending and the variety of content being presented looks super interesting. 

At Spektrix we’re always interested in exploring digital communications best practices from other sectors, so we can share that learning with our users. Also, discovering how other experts are using tools like AI, automation, and incentives will be a great opportunity for me, and for our community.

Q: Your talk is focusing on loyalty in 2023, do you think loyalty is harder for brands to come by these days?

I think certain types of loyalty are harder for brands these days – people are much more likely to question their loyalty and look for alternatives rather than just remaining loyal to a brand as default. You can really see that shift in particular with things like switching banks or mobile phone networks. Or the ability to swap and change streaming services on the regular. 

The research also indicates that younger consumers are much more likely to be in tune with the values of a brand and really assess their credentials in terms of value for money, customer service, and bigger mission-driven values such as environmental impact or the way their staff is treated. As a certified B Corp, it’s certainly something that comes up increasingly often from organizations interested in working or partnering with Spektrix.

All this information is much easier to come by these days, rather than relying on the ‘polished’ brand that gets portrayed, you really have to ‘live’ your brand, or you’ll get called out. But I think this also opens up a world of possibilities in terms of loyalty, where you can build genuine loyalty to your brand, rather than repeatedly selling an individual product or service. This is arguably more complex, as you need to understand that your customers’ motivations are variable and ‘messy’.

Q: What will people learn from your talk at the Dotdigital Summit?

Hopefully, people will take away some learnings from specific examples from the Spektrix user community, and how this translates into a process for assessing the variable motivations of your customers. And therefore how you can communicate with them in a much more tailored way, and incentivize them to engage with you, using a more complex, less hierarchical model to the traditional customer loyalty ladder. I’ll be talking about examples from theatre and the performing arts, but the stories will apply to everyone – after all, theatre audiences are the same people who book holidays, buy clothes, or support charities.

Q: What are your top tips for brands who struggle with customer retention?

Try not to do everything. Delve into your data, measure some baselines, experiment, try to get under the skin of your customers and potential customers’ motivations, align your messaging to appeal to them, try things out, and refine it. Ditch anything that’s not working.

Q: What’s your favorite loyalty scheme you’re personally part of as a customer and why?

I’ve become much more aware over the last few years about where I spend my money/who I spend my money with. Often the loyalty scheme itself is not the deciding factor, but if a brand I engage with happens to have one then that is obviously a bonus and encourages me to continue shopping with them.

I’ve hit that time of my life where I have signed up to be a member of the RHS. They have just opened a new public garden on the outskirts of Manchester and I’ve deliberately bought a membership to incentivize me to attend more regularly. There are then the added perks of an excellent app where I can track the plants in my garden, and get regular personalized updates via email.

Q: How do you foresee the loyalty landscape changing in the future?

AI is going to be an interesting one to watch – those one-to-many communications are likely to be able to become hyper-tailored. And profiling to find similar, or lookalike, audiences is becoming much more sophisticated.

Q: You say you’re a self-confessed data nerd, what are your tips for getting the most out of your data?

Make sure you’re measuring what you’re doing – then you can use this to set baselines, compare with industry benchmarks, and test anything new you try. Also, come at your data with an actual question you want to answer. Time and again I see organizations measuring KPIs, but then they aren’t sure what to do with them. If you approach the data with an inquisitive mind and a question you want to find the answer to, you’re much more likely to find something useful.

If you’ve not got your tickets for this year’s Summit yet, grab them here.

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