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How Audience Spectrum helped support Nottingham Playhouse's Levelling Up Strategy



Nottingham Playhouse

Nottingham Playhouse has used Audience Spectrum as a key tool in its marketing strategy since 2016. It is embedded at both strategic and tactical level, from multi-year business plans to individual campaigns. It sits alongside and complements the other tools including our sales and CRM system (Spektrix) and one off research and data analysis projects.

One of the many ways that we’re using Audience Spectrum is to support our approach for Levelling Up for Culture Places which, as an ACE NPO, is a key element of our 2023-26 business plan. At time of writing, we’re early in our 3-year business plan, the main outcomes have been the development of a set of ‘neighbourhood profiles’ for each of our target areas, setting annual targets and developing audience development and marketing campaigns for our projects taking place in 2023-24.

Audience Spectrum gives Nottingham Playhouse a deep understanding of both existing and potential audiences. The range of tools enable us to create and implement campaigns to build relationships and engagement across our communities.

The problem

In Nottinghamshire, 4 local authority areas are designated as ACE Levelling Up for Culture Places - Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Mansfield, Newark & Sherwood. These are on the outer areas of Nottingham Playhouse’s typical catchment and places that were less well-represented in our CRM system. Coming out of the pandemic like many arts organisations we’d seen some shifts in audience behaviour, we wanted to both refresh and deepen our knowledge of these areas. As an audience development focussed strand of work, we needed to better understand non-attenders and how best to reach them.

What we did

Neighbourhood profiles
Example grid analysis showing dominant segment

Our first priority was to create new ‘neighbourhood profiles’ – in house documents which combine various data sets for each local authority area. In essence this was a marketing audit exercise for each location, with Audience Spectrum tools playing a key part. This included analysing existing customers based in each area using our Audience Spectrum Licensing. We compared this data with population profiles using the Audience Spectrum Map, identifying gaps both geographically and by segment. We also were able to compare with our overall audience profile to place the project in the context of contributing to our annual KPIs.

Findings were shared and discussed at regular meetings – one area per meeting – to disseminate across the whole team. The interactivity of the map was a great visual tool to engage, encourage discussion and spark ideas.

Screenshot from the Audience Spectrum Map Tool showing Nottingham
Screenshot from the Audience Spectrum Map Tool showing Nottingham

The outcomes

Through this work we’ve been able to identify and implement quick wins. For example, using the insight to tailor messaging and data selection for direct mail for our autumn/winter 2023 programme. Whilst this wasn’t the main aim of the exercise, it has given us an instant win.

The main driver of the work is building for our key 2024 projects, central being a co-production of Dawn King’s The Trials, with Mansfield Palace Theatre. This community co-production will feature young people from Nottingham and Mansfield playing the part of The Jury. Our audience development and marketing campaign has just begun, being informed by our neighbourhood profiles, the first milestone in our 2023-26 plan.

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