What is a crossover report, and why does it matter?

Statistics may be defined as “a body of methods for making wise decisions in the face of uncertainty.” — W. A. Wallis

How often do you find yourself making assumptions about your patrons, and basing your marketing decisions on those assumptions? It’s a fair-enough practice, considering that you do not always have all the information you need to prove your assumptions right (or wrong).

One of the most powerful tools offered in the Arts and Culture Census is the crossover report. Take a bunch of aggregate data, fold it over onto itself, and use the results to smash your most firmly held assumptions. But what does that mean?

Take, for example, your patrons. How many of them come back, and how often? Out of all your audiences who saw “Sweeney Todd,” how many of them saw “A Christmas Carol?” How many of each of those audiences were donors at your hundred-dollar level?

You may or may not already know the answers to these questions. The tools offered to you in the Arts and Culture Census are easy enough to let you create these reports in just a few mouse clicks.

But if you could only use your own data in these reports, that wouldn’t tell you a whole lot. With each additional participating organization, you get access to create crossover reports that compare your patrons with those from other organizations — or even from the field as a whole.

How many visual arts patrons are also theatre patrons, or music, or dance? The answers may surprise you. And it’s those surprises that provide you with valuable information for your marketing efforts.

Crossover reports will provide you with insight into potential new audiences. These reports help you discover the largest crossover areas between your patrons and those of other organizations and disciplines. Using that information, your organization can save money on more targeted outreach efforts in promoting to new audiences.

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