How The Living Planet Aquarium Earned Co-Op Marketing Funds Through Data

The Living Planet Aquarium was drowning in unorganized data, impacting all levels of the organization, explains Suzy Broadbent, director of marketing and public relations at the nonprofit based in Draper, Utah. Disparate systems kept data at bay. A platform helped to pull together all the data to increase state co-op funding.

"Previously, I would need to ask the controller or CFO to pull the data from different platforms, from ticketing to media buys," Broadbent says. "We could never get the data in real time. It was always backward looking."

The aquarium educates visitors and students, about 100,000 annually. With so many visitors, the problem of disparate data continued to grow, hitting the marketing and the public relations team particularly hard.

Nearly two years ago Broadbent began using Domo, a business management platform that allows companies to aggregate data to make better decisions. The focus became improving attendance to the aquarium, and breaking down the data to determine where to spend co-op marketing dollars. 



The Domo platform provides data such as attendance by hour, days of the week, and month. Since using the platform, the marketing team can look across different channels and compare key performance indicators (KPIs), enabling them to make intelligent projections. Additionally, they can measure spikes in attendance and attribute spikes or dips to specific programs, as well as social media chatter after being included in local news segments on television or radio.

The platform has been helpful in raising co-op marketing dollars. Utah's tourism board offers a co-op marketing partnership program. Since using the platform, Broadbent has been able to increase the marketing partnership funding, doubling it in 2015, because of the accuracy in the data. The reports show the states in which potential visitors are target marketed via billboards, radio, television, social and search campaigns.

The Aquarium offers a weekly camp program for different ages throughout the summer. Broadbent managed to tie the marketing dollars, visitors during the camp and return on investment to determine the ones to keep or drop. They're offered for a week at a time, so the window to analyze the data passes if the numbers are not available in real time.

"We're able to set a baseline in real time, not a month after the fact, and plan accordingly for events taking place within the aquarium," Broadbent says. "It also helps with projections for the following year."

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