CEO Anne Torreggiani sows the seeds for our newly launching suite of Audience Answers data and insight services, designed with and for arts, culture and heritage organisations.

April 3, 2023
Photo of the author - Anne Torreggiani

Anne Torreggiani

Out in the park yesterday, enjoying the spring sunshine and budding flowers, I was put in mind of what’s been happening at The Audience Agency. With fresh new ideas popping up all the time, every day a bit more colour, new services to nourish cultural organisations, the garden is coming back to full bloom...

What the sector is up against

Whimsy aside, this spring, we’re launching a new suite of audience data and insight services, re-designed to do what our users tell us they need, free of other constraints. We’ve been working with users on this development for well over a year. In that time, we’ve heard again and again about the tight rope many organisations feel they are walking – trying to balance difficult financials with ambitious creative plans and a committed social mission.

The fresh market analysis we published last week highlights the compounding effects of Covid’s long shadow and the cost-of-living crisis. These put an additional pressure on those trying to develop new strategic plans and business models.

How we're stepping up

We launch our new tools and services in the hope that they can make a positive contribution, helping organisations to use audience data to navigate the complex challenges ahead, to get the balance right. Even before Covid, over 90% of organisations we surveyed said audience data could help them to do that more effectively. Covid showed us that following the data in volatile times helps us set more realistic goals in order to try, track and adapt strategies with more confidence.

As a non-profit dedicated to the cultural sector, we are building on a decade of providing trusted council. We’ve redesigned the new service to step up our support, intelligently combining ticketing, survey, Audience Spectrum segmentation, mapping and other population data and following four main design principles:

  1. Insight into Action: What users are telling us now is that, whilst knowing more about their audiences is useful, knowing what action to take next would be even better. So the main new features of the service include straightforward advice, in-dashboard and in-person.
  2. Users First: Although our tools are all supportive of and 100% compliant with the funding requirements of ACE, ACW and Creative Scotland, they are designed primarily to help organisations make informed decisions.
  3. Flexible and Sensitive: With 10 years of experience delivering Audience Finder and working with well over 1,000 users, we know just how different all their needs are. Our new suite of services will cater more effectively for that variety, offering a pick-and-mix of options across three levels.
  4. Networked: Collaborative groups get more value when backed by data, and this aspect of our service is consistently top of our users' wishlists. So, as a major innovation we're ramping up a comprehensive Network service designed to facilitate greater cooperation, contextualisation and peer learning between organisations who want to work together.

The redesign principles have transformed Audience Finder, making it into a more actionable tool than ever before. So, we've decided to rename it too: Audience Answers does exactly what it says on the tin.

More help on the horizon

Although comprehensive, these tools are just the first shoots of spring; we are also sowing new seeds to continuously improve and grow Audience Answers, so the sector can expect further tools to keep cropping up throughout the coming year.

First look at the improved Audience Answers services suite