Tesco Clubcard creators invest seven-figure sum in Purple Seven

Husband-and-wife team to lend expertise in customer engagement to theatre analytics company

Clive Humby and Edwina Dunn, the husband-and-wife team responsible for creating the Tesco Clubcard, have announced a seven-figure investment in theatre analytics and targeting company Purple Seven.

The duo’s investment will give them a majority stake in the company, which provides analytics data for theatres, agents and promoters across the UK drawn from 19 million customer records.

Purple Seven already works with around three-quarters of theatres and entertainment venues across the nation, including commercial theatre groups such as Ambassador Theatre Group and cultural centres such as the Barbican.

Humby and Dunn will lend their expertise in customer relations management to the firm in order to develop and refine its offering, allowing theatres and venues in the UK to benefit from increasingly diverse, intuitive and targeted data.

The pair have announced plans to take advantage of ‘missed opportunities’ including targeting customers on their preferences, improving the breadth of appeal of a season’s set of performances and cataloguing the number of unsold seats for less well-known theatre shows.

An enhancement is also planned for the service’s ‘How Was It For You’ feedback tool, in order to transform it into an interactive service delivering personalised recommendations and alerts to theatregoers.

In all, Dunn and Humby believe there is at least £250m of unrealised commercial potential that greater customer insight can help to unlock.

A report commissioned by Arts Council England and published today suggests that public investment in culture and the arts leads directly to £856m of tourist spending in the UK.

Businesses in the arts and culture industry, which employ 110,000 people, were found to account for £12.4bn of revenues in 2011 and produced a gross value added (GVA) return of £5.9bn to the UK economy.

The married analytics experts believe such figures hint at a hidden treasure trove for the industry.

Humby and Dunn first worked with Tesco in 1995, developing the Clubcard loyalty scheme through their data analytics company Dunnhumby. The pair sold their final shares in the firm to Tesco in 2010.

Edwina Dunn, director of Purple Seven, said: “There’s no doubt that the UK entertainment industry is falling short on its commercial potential.

“With Purple Seven, we are investing in a business that is already working with up to 75% of the UK’s theatres, and has the potential to be a force for change within the arts, showing theatres and venues what they don’t currently know – exactly who their customers are and how to give them what they want.

“Customer insight is something that will allow theatres and venues across the country to provide a better service to their audiences, and attract the elusive “one-hit wonder” customers back for a second show.

“I also believe that with Purple Seven we can help give people back the fun of going to the theatre, ballet or opera – offering recommendations based on what they like, and showing the offers that are out there.”

Stuart Nicolle, founder of Purple Seven, added: “Clive Humby and Edwina Dunn pioneered an entirely new approach between the brands and retail industry, using customer insight to drive collaboration.

“We’re excited to develop innovative capabilities especially for the arts sector, which has huge potential – even during the current economic forecast. Our shared philosophy is all about creating value out of data for both theatres and their visitors. We are excited to break new ground with this partnership.”


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