The MMIAM Journey

A blog about the Master of Management
in International Arts Management program

Audience at AMALUNA (Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil)

Harnessing Technology to Optimize the Customer Relationship: The Case of Cirque du Soleil (Abridged)

Since becoming Vice-President of Cirque du Soleil’s E-Marketing and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Department in 2016, Martin Céré has managed to transform the organization’s database, not only by boosting the number of customer profiles from 5 to 15 million, but also by expanding its use, notably in relation to social media.

This case study describes how a unified approach was developed by integrating email campaigns, box office, electronic distribution, user profile modelling, data enrichment, sales forecasting and dynamic pricing with a view to strengthening the customer relationship, building customer loyalty and creating personalized offerings.

AMALUNA (Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil).

While Cirque du Soleil continues to perform its shows around the world with great success, the arrival of Martin Céré brought about a profound transformation of the customer relationship by shifting the focus from traditional email campaigns centred on a product orientation to an integrated vision of the customer relationship based on a market orientation. According to Martin Céré, thanks to today’s technology, it is now possible to “manage the entire customer relationship and its evolution by gathering, structuring, enriching and managing every piece of information and interaction related to the customer experience.”

The information collected includes identifying data (name, address, phone number, email address), data related to interest in Cirque’s shows (demographic and psychographic data, data related to purchasing behaviour, satisfaction and transactions) and data based on customers’ electronic habits (website visits, history of electronic transactions). While the task of gathering such large amounts of data requires discipline and rigour, the outcome is coherent, quantifiable and usable results that facilitate future interactions with customers and save time and money while building loyalty toward Cirque du Soleil.

VIP AMALUNA B_0101_R-800
Audience at AMALUNA (Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil).

In addition, Cirque enriches its database using information gathered from social media and data aggregators (for instance, based on data mined from loyalty cards). This allows the company to, for example, identify eight or nine potential consumer segments and to test each one using targeted offerings. According to several studies, data gathered from consumers’ Google or Facebook searches are much more accurate than the information provided by traditional surveys in that they eliminate the social conformity bias. For example, the use of psychographic attributes on Facebook (age, gender, personality traits, etc.) makes it possible to describe each segment with greater precision and to more accurately target prospective consumers. Finally, post-show electronic surveys facilitate the measurement of audience satisfaction for each show in each market, acting as a kind of daily barometer of satisfaction.

The article highlights the fact that the success of customer relationship management depends not only on technology, but also on the company’s organizational structure, management of human resources, performance evaluation and sensitive ethical issues. In concluding, Martin Céré mentions several projects he has developed with the aim of enhancing the customer relationship, improving satisfaction and building sustainable loyalty, including a website personalization project, an automated purchasing process and virtual product offerings.