Last updated: 3 April 2019 - Read time: 1:57 min

Metadata: gain insight into the undercurrent of choices

As a marketer for a cultural organisation, you try to understand your visitors. The better you are able to determine what a visitor bases their choices on, the more you can offer them exactly what they need. To increase your knowledge of your visitor’s choices, it can be helpful to examine the undercurrent of their choices, the criteria upon which the choice is based, which might be hidden from you.

An abundance of choice criteria

Actors, composers, soloists, periods, styles, geographical origins: visitors’ choices are often determined by the less obvious layers of the programme. By linking this kind of metadata, you can gain insight into the underlying drives of your existing (and new?) audience. When you utilise this grid of criteria in your marketing (and perhaps your programming), it creates a wonderful way to clarify artistic lines towards new and existing audiences. “Many cultural organisations probably already do something like this, either consciously or subconsciously, but once you combine it with your marketing efforts, you can really start to enrich your customer relationships,” says Mathijs Bouwman, who conducted extensive research among cultural organisations into the application of metadata.

A common form of metadata is “cast.” Actors, dancers and musicians who give visitors a reason to visit the theatre or come back for another performance. You can continue this line to include many other characteristics of programmes. Composers who are connected to a certain period of classical music, dance styles categorised by their geographical origins, etcetera. The possibilities that metadata offers are endless.

Let metadata work for your customer relationship

To use metadata properly, it is important that the system registers the data without the visitor’s knowledge. When people view certain pages or place orders, the metadata concerning their personal preferences must also be recorded. You can then use this information to develop your programme or finetune your communication. The next step is to give visitors insight into their choices. “When we visualise someone’s order history in their account environment using e.g. a world map or a timeline of musical history, the data is brought to life and customers gain insight into the undercurrent of their own choices, as well as the (deeper) connection that they may have to an art institution. That is an excellent starting point from which to further improve the customer relationship,” says Mathijs Bouwman.

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