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How big data helped the Norman Rockwell Museum grow revenue

Thor Olavsrud | April 2, 2014
With the help of DigiWorksCorp, the Norman Rockwell Museum leveraged its transactional data and big data analytics to increase second-time purchasers by 150 percent and revenue by 49 percent.

Nestled among the Berkshire Mountains, along the Housatonic River, is the bucolic town of Stockbridge, Mass., which for centuries has served as a refuge and inspiration for writers, musicians and artists.

It is in Stockbridge that painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell, whose work has become emblematic of America in the middle of the 20th century, spent the last 25 years of his life working. Stockbridge is now the home of the Norman Rockwell Museum, which holds a collection of 574 original works of Rockwell art — including many of his famed The Saturday Evening Post cover paintings and the Four Freedoms — and more than 100,000 various personal items, including photographs, fan mail and various business documents.

The nonprofit Norman Rockwell Museum has a gift shop and online store that offers prints, books, stationary products and other gifts. In 2012, it did $1.5 million retail business and $120,000 in ecommerce business, says Margit Hotchkiss, deputy director of Audience and Business Development at the museum.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, as Rockwell's art is often associated with the holidays, sales tended to be highly seasonal. The museum, founded in 1969, needed to drive more incremental revenue. But it also had a more insidious problem: The audience for Rockwell's work was getting older.

"Today, so many people that know Norman Rockwell are in their 60s and 70s," says Lisbeth McNabb, founder and CEO of DigiWorksCorp, which specializes in helping organizations translate their data into insight that drives revenue using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. Their children or grandchildren might be exposed to Rockwell's work through them, she notes, but on the whole the audience was aging.

The museum needed to get a younger audience to tune in to Rockwell's work and then turn them into purchasers. And not just one-time purchasers either; it needed to bring them back for more.

The museum turned to DigiWorks for help.

Norman Rockwell Museum Leverages Big Data
"What they realized is that somebody comes during the holiday season and buys once," McNabb says. "We help them look at what many people who have bought an item look like and then figure out what's a second thing that customer would like to buy?"

As a first engagement, the museum's goal was to increase annual revenue in ecommerce sales — the low-hanging fruit. McNabb says DigiWorks took the data the museum already had, analyzed it for insight and then executed a series of four campaigns over 90 days. The results speak for themselves:

  • The campaigns increased the number of second-time purchasers by 150 percent
  • They delivered $20,634 incremental revenue vs. 2012, a 49 percent increase
  • The campaigns delivered a 77 percent increase during campaign weeks
  • Overall, the campaigns exceeded their revenue increasing goal by 16 percent

 

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