Show Me The Results!

Looking Back at 2011’s Telemarketing to Plan 2012’s Calls

Phillip Matthews

As an Account Executive with DCM, I have the privilege of working with great clients - representing various arts disciplines (opera, symphony and theatre) from all parts of the country. And though their campaign results are as varied as the types of organization and the parts of the country in which they operate, they all have the same question, “What did we learn from last year’s telemarketing campaigns?”

It’s a no-brainer to conclude that the most important answers can usually be found in the numbers from the previous year’s campaign. How much money was raised? Did we meet or exceed the revenue projections? Did we increase our renewal rates? Or, are we converting single ticket buyers into subscribers? But what I, and my fellow DCM Account Executives, also ask is "How do we use results from last year to inform ongoing decisions for upcoming telemarketing campaigns?"

I’d like to challenge us all to look at “results” from on a deeper level. While total revenue raised, participation rates, and average order/gift amounts are the most popular results to analyze throughout a campaign, it is also important dig deeper into these results in order to determine useful strategies to employ in the upcoming season.

Know Your Results
Dig deeper to do more.

Back in the fall, Susan Impalla, a fellow DCM Account Executive, provided a comprehensive look at how DCM clients’ renewal campaigns performed in the inaugural DCM Dial-Log 1. Susan wrote, "Many clients want to know how their results measure up to other DCM calling efforts and how economic factors may have played a role in why patrons responded the way they did." To help address those questions, here is a look at renewal rates from DCM campaigns across performing arts genres:

  • Ballet telemarketing campaigns in 11-12 renewed at an average of 35%
  • Presenting venue telemarketing campaigns in 11-12 renewed at an average of 31%
  • Theater telemarketing campaigns in 11-12 renewed at an average of 26%
  • Orchestra telemarketing campaigns in 11-12 renewed at an average of 22%
  • Opera telemarketing campaigns in 11-12 renewed at an average of 17%

NOTE: These rates reflect the percentage of those contacted by phone that then renewed via telemarketing. In all instances, calls were made after subscribers received several renewal notices, emails and in some instances, recorded messages or courtesy calls.

Results like these are the starting point for building strategies for your upcoming season. Analyzing the past year’s results shows what worked and what didn’t, while providing the foundation for a successful campaign.

Digging deeper into the broader baseline data allows us to drill-down and retrieve detailed information that is less obvious, but just as important. These pieces of information that are often overlooked can have significant impact on a campaign.

Last season, we worked on a campaign that exceeded its overall revenue goals. Though both the client and DCM were pleased, a closer look at the results revealed that the campaign could have had even greater success. The deeper review showed that this revenue was generated through fewer caller hours than projected which resulted in lower contact rates. Digging deeper we were able to pose the question of whether running more hours could have produced even greater results. In this case, we realized that more hours could have resulted in more contacts which could have translated into even more revenue. This type of drill-down analysis opens up a variety of ways to question and understand what we think we already know.

Work With Your Results
Prepare for the unexpected.

Often we believe the best time to use the information gathered from results is at the end of a campaign, but the process of using your results should be ongoing. This allows you to monitor and respond to unexpected challenges and create strategies to overcome them.

In one of our brief case studies DCM Speed-Dial 1, we shared an example of how using ongoing results, and being prepared to move quickly based on those results, benefited last season’s Milwaukee Repertory Theater (MRT) telemarketing campaign. As the campaign was winding down, MRT was experiencing great response to an anticipated hit in November, but we recognized that there was going to be a significant number of ‘hot’ single ticket buyer leads that we were not going to be able to contact before the campaign end date.

Together with the client, we identified the issue, created a special offer for those leads and tweaked the calling schedule to allow the campaign to call them. The campaign called through the Thanksgiving weekend and as a result, was able to take advantage of the Thanksgiving Black Friday shopping madness. This special offer went on to generated 49 orders and $5,210 in revenue, all from the “Black Friday” offer. Sales for that week totaled $10,145, with more than 50% of the revenue generated on days that the campaign historically had taken a break from calling.

Angel Francis, another veteran DCM Account Executive, also discusses the importance of working with your results in her recent DCM Dial-Log 4 that focused on campaign timing and coordination. She wrote, "Creating a successful telemarketing campaign can be as easy as answering the questions of when to call, who to call, and what to say. Like any other element of your overall marketing plan, telemarketing should not exist in a vacuum and is most effective when integrated with all other marketing efforts."

Share Your Results
Talk (and listen) to everyone you can – inside and outside your organization.

Not only are your campaign results important to you, they could be important to your colleagues and industry peers. The ever expanding middle ground that we now straddle as a result of the explosion of social media, whether personal or business, shows how connected we are. Your success can lead to their success!

Within an organization, the marketing and development departments often need to work closely to focus on the same goals while sharing results.

For example, final results from a recently completed theatre TF campaign influenced the projections for its upcoming 12-13 TM campaign. Sharing results internally can also be effective when, for example, the renewal revenue goal is not reached on a TF campaign. In order to make up the revenue shortfall from the TF campaign, some organizations consider setting an Additional Ask through the TM campaign.

Within our industry, the same concept of sharing your results can help keep everyone informed.

Recently, in one of our DCM Speed-Dials, we shared San Francisco Opera’s successful use of prospect cards and how it bucked the trend from what the industry assumed to be an unproductive or at least a decreasingly valuable lead group. This strategy was picked up by a DCM dance client who in turn inquired about how they could use these tactics on their campaign. This reinforces the suggestion that if you have a success story, share it!

Expand your universe
Now that you’re sharing make sure you’re connecting too!

The ‘shared experience’ has always been considered a driving force behind the arts, and that is true across all performing arts disciplines. While we all acknowledged its importance for our patrons, couldn’t our shared experiences be just as valuable to those of us that work in the arts?

As social media continues to expand the universe of knowledge available to us all, we need to take advantage of the experts that are now only a keystroke away. Connect with your National Service Organization and subscribe to national blogs and follow the experts.

Take advantage of online publications like Theatre Communication Group’s (TCG) American Theater Magazine, Opera America’s bi-weekly e-newsletter OperaLink and the League of American Orchestra’s daily The Hub.

Consider expanding your universe by subscribing to blogs like Thomas Cott's daily You Cott Mail, Social Media Week and of course join DCM on Facebook and Twitter to follow us @dcm_dial_log.

"Knowing results" from your campaigns is the first step to setting your goals for the coming year. "Working with your results," from both previous and current campaigns, will inform your ongoing decisions and provide the flexibility to respond to unexpected challenges. And be sure to "share your results". You never know who can benefit from your experiences or what you can learn from others.

To learn more about DCM and our services please visit or contact DCM’s Vice President of New Business and Marketing, Eric Nelson, at or 718-488-5577 x5017.