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Grow arts and culture revenue

Ask Me Anything: Competing with Amazon


Ask Me Anything Question

I heard Steven Roth say on his recent Capacity Interactive CI to Eye podcast that “arts organizations are competing with Amazon.” Can you clarify this statement?

Steven Roth’s Answer

The general topic was managing the customer experience, and the purchase path in particular. Amazon sets the standard for ease of purchase—two clicks and done. And that’s now what arts customers have come to expect when they purchase a ticket online—as close to two clicks and done as possible.

Before you claim “That’s unfair! How can we possibly compete with Amazon?” Think about this: Have you examined your purchase path—or for that matter—your donation path? How many clicks does it take? How many web pages does a patron have to scroll through before she finds what she’s looking for? How smooth is your select-your-own-seat feature? How much of the information the patron sees is vital (to her, not to the organization)? What’s your mobile experience like?

There’s an industrial consulting term called “staple yourself to an order.” The idea is to follow a product purchase all the way from the initial order, through the factory, shipping, billing, delivery, and customer feedback. How long did it take? Were there any bottlenecks? Miscommunications? Were expectations met? How and where can the process be improved?

In the arts we don’t have orders and staples and factories, but we do have customer journeys to analyze, manage, and improve. What’s the closest you can come to Amazon’s two clicks and done? Start with an analysis of your purchase and donation path.


Do you have a question for the team at JCA Arts Marketing? Submit it here. It could be featured in an upcoming Ask Me Anything post.


JCA Arts Marketing collaborates with cultural organizations to increase revenue, boost attendance and membership, and grow patron loyalty. We provide consulting and software services to hundreds of cultural institutions across multiple genres, including dance, museums, opera, performing arts centers, symphony, and theatre. We can help you achieve your marketing goals.

Steven Roth
Steven Roth, President, JCA Arts Marketing

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