65 minutes | Mar 28, 2020

29. Kathryn Campbell of Ticketmaster

In this episode of Dollars to Donuts I speak with Kathryn Campbell, the Director of Research & Insights at Ticketmaster. Whenever there is availability of somebody that might normally work on the marketplace side, they might tag team on an account manager project and that helps to inform them about that product. It gives them a little bit more purview. It facilitates internal sharing of learnings because we are a very large, complex organization. So that flexibility is both more satisfying to the researchers, but also benefits the product teams in the long run. – Kathryn Campbell Show Links MoveOn Kathryn on LinkedIn Kathryn on Twitter Ticketmaster Live Nation Amy Howe, President and COO at Ticketmaster Kathryn Frederick, CMO at Ticketmaster Customer Insights Center of Excellence Ogilvy (formerly Ogilvy & Mather) Jakob Nielsen: Why You Only Need to Test with 5 Users Dustin Guinee, Lead User Experience Researcher at Ticketmaster Hilary Bienstock, Cal State University, Fullerton Brent Jefferson Lowe, Senior Manager, UX Research at Ticketmaster Follow Dollars to Donuts on Twitter and help other people find the podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Transcript Steve Portigal: Welcome to Dollars to Donuts, the podcast where I talk with the people who lead user research in their organization. Over the past few years I’ve been volunteering with MoveOn a progressive organization. My contribution is to be part of their texting team, where they identify an issue or a cause and a group of us volunteers send text message about that topic to their membership. Last week I was part of a campaign raise awareness of best practices for protection against coronavirus. We don’t send text messages from our phones, it’s through a browser interface. A texter sees a pre-addressed, and pre-written message which they send, one at a time, usually thousands in total. When people respond, the volunteer can classify that response, which will produce a relevant response that we might customize to ensure it makes the most sense. MoveOn collects responses and future campaigns (say, for someone to call their representative about an issue, or to get out of the vote) a built based on what they learn from looking at their data. In this recent experience, we were asking people if they were practicing social distancing and sharing al link with resources and information. The responses that they were expecting were essentially, “yes I am”, “no I can’t (or don’t think I need to)”, “I need medical help” and “thank you.” The first day I participated, I heard from a number of people who were medical professionals. Now even though we are working on a dashboard with pulldowns menus, people are entering text on their phones, and have no idea what our interface is. They wouldn’t necessarily share their responses according to our predetermined categories. MoveOn runs a busy Slack channel where during any campaign you can get help in categorizing a response, or dealing with a situation that may arise. So the next day when I was texting, I noticed two changes. The “thank you” response had been changed to “you’re welcome” which was a big improvement. Even though the “yes” and “no” responses were labels for what the person told us, if they said “thank you” as their response, your brain isn’t looking for a “thank you” label in order to send the text “you’re welcome” – you start looking for “you’re welcome” because that’s what you’re trying to say. The other change was a new response category for “I’m a medical professional.” Whether they were looking at the responses in a table, or whether they had one of the volunteers raise this as an issue, I don’t know. I was interested in their ability to pay attention to the data and update their tools. It reminded me of survey research, not something I would say I’m particular expert in or anything. And I know in surveys it’s a best practice to do a pilot study, and maybe that’s where you catch something like this. It just reaffirmed for me that creating categories for people’s behavior and opinions is always a hypothesis, and deciding ahead of time how to categorize responses, before you’ve got a big pile of responses is always going to be flawed. MoveOn is able to make changes on the fly, even during a campaign, and I’m sure it messes up their data collection somewhat, but their priority is on the experience of the campaign, not their data. Survey researchers probably don’t have that opportunity. But it’s powerful to consider, well, what if they did? Well, here’s another episode! As before, this was assembled quickly, with the budget I have available for production, which is zero. There’s no professional editor, there’s no professional transcript. The audio quality is the best we could get, when people are working at home, without access to all of their gear, using an Internet under strain, and so on. And just a reminder that you can support this podcast by supporting my business. This is an uncertain time, and many small businesses are feeling the pinch and don’t know what’s coming. I will appreciate you keeping me in mind now and in the future as a collaborator in conducting user research, and as a resource for helping grow and develop your company’s capabilities. Please reach out! All right, let’s get to my interview with Kathryn Campbell, the Director of Research & Insights at Ticketmaster. Steve: Kathryn, thanks so much for being on dollars to donuts. I’m looking forward to the chance to speak with you. Kathryn Campbell: Hi, Steve. Yeah, thank you. I’m looking forward to the conversation as well. I’m a big fan of your podcast. Steve: And now you’re on the podcast. So Kathryn: living the dream. Steve: Yeah, living the dream. Well, we’ll see. We’re starting to live the dream. I would love for you to introduce yourself to begin. Kathryn: Okay, great. Kathryn Campbell. I am the director of research and insights for Ticketmaster, which is a subsidiary of Live Nation, the world’s largest live entertainment company. Steve: So in a minute, maybe we can talk about the research that you’re doing. But can you set the context a little bit about Ticketmaster itself? Kathryn: Absolutely. So most of your listeners are probably familiar with Ticketmaster and if Had some interactions with us over the years. And we’re a 40 year old company, and a long time innovator and leader in the live event ticketing space. So most of us think about Ticketmaster, from the perspective of the fans, and the fans are a critical user group for us very near and dear to our hearts. And the people at Ticketmaster. Mostly come there because we are fans ourselves. But we also have a number of other customer groups that we serve. That includes the artists and their managers and promoters. It includes the venues and the surfaces that work with the venues like parking and refreshments. And we also have direct relationships with most of the major sports leagues in the US and another country. So football, basketball, hockey, all those kinds of things. So as you dig into it, you realize there’s actually a very Complex ecosystem of customers to serve. Steve: Oh, so you do research with fans, artists, venues, leagues? I think those were the kind of groups you mentioned. What? Yeah, what does it look like? I mean, you know, within what you can describe, I’m wonder if there’s any aspects of some of those types of research that maybe are things we wouldn’t have heard about. Kathryn: Sure. One of the things that I really enjoy about my job is working. We have a subsidiary called tm music that works directly with the artists and their teams. And it’s trying to get more money into their pockets rather than into brokers or scalpers pockets. So working with them on innovative solutions that allow them to ensure that people that say members Their fan clubs can pre order tickets, or receive priority in the waiting room or queue versus other people that we have not identified and might have reason to believe could be resellers. So that’s one area where we get to work. We also get to work with venues. And of course, we tend to think of the big arenas. But there’s also the relatively small theaters that do a lot of touring productions and helping them be more efficient and have a better relationship with their subscribers as well as one time buyers. And then with the lakes, it’s helping them get to know their customers better. One of the things that takes you a while to realize about ticketing is that in the old world, you only actually knew who about a fifth to a fourth of the people in your stadium or arena were most of them you know, one person might buy four tickets. So football teams might be selling out, but they don’t really know who a lot of the people are that are in that stadium, how far they’re coming from, what the composition of their group is. So there’s lots of interesting dimensions to the research that we do with those different segments. Steve: Great. So a ticket buyer is not the same as a event goer. Kathryn: Exactly. Yeah, it’s a different Steve: two different stages there. Oh, well. What? You know, how do you given the different types of I mean, customers, users, etc, that you’re trying to learn about? Does that impact, you know, how you organize your own group and in order to work with different different parts of your organization and then different customers? Kathryn: Absolutely. And, you know, this is an ongoing debate, I think, in the research world is whether you have a centralized group, you know, Internal agency, which is what our model is, or if you embed researchers in the lines of business so that they can work more closely with the stakeholders. What I feel is best fo
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