How Humanitix uses martech to drive personalised engagement at scale

Social enterprise details how its event ticketing proposition is not only being driven by technology, but also by an end-to-end, tech-fuelled approach to customer experience management

Adopting marketing technologies often goes hand-in-hand with a desire to automate communications and customer engagement. But for the team at Australian ticketing platform provider, Humanitix, seamless integration of CRM into every step of its operating model has delivered capability to provide a human touch at scale.  

Humanitix is a six-year-old, homegrown social enterprise that provides a ticketing platform to event organisers large and small. The model is oriented around transforming booking fees into social impact by funnelling the charges directly into childrens’ charities. As a not-for-profit, Humanitix has been set up to ensure all profits can be used in this way.    

To date, Humanitix has raised $1 million in donations and expects to soon be facilitating $1 million in donations annually. As well as Australia, the enterprise has expanded into New Zealand, Great Britain, the US and Canada.  

Humanitix founder and CEO, Adam McCurdie, was inspired by the opportunity for businesses and the profits they make to dramatically increase capital going into philanthropic sector.  

“Going after a resented industry like ticketing was to us the perfect combination: An industry that charges excessive feeds; and an opportunity to redirect capital into the not-for-profit sector to solve some important issues,” he said.  

But while the motivation is social good, the only way Humanitix can create any impact is by being the ticketing platform of choice technologically for the event organiser.  

“If an event organiser is going to use us, they need to be confident in the technology we offer,” McCurdie explained. “So from day one, we have focused the majority of our resources on technology, knowing we have to strive to be a leader in tech in the events ticketing world, and have players choose to use us as their provider because our tech and service is better. Then the ethics is an added bonus, rather than the other way around. That was very critical to our success.”  

As a result, Humanitix has been steadily growing its engineering team, building analytics and reporting tools and fostering integrations with an array of CRM and marketing systems. It’s also been looking at ways to get smarter with its own growing database of end-user attendees to better help event organisers promote events to relevant audience.  

“We are focused on being very good at events ticketing, then being very easy and robust when integrating into other systems,” McCurdie commented. “We don’t want to force them to use us as a half-baked marketing tool or CRM. The more modern model is to join the alliance and integrate with other players.”  

CRM tools for human scale  

Alongside the platform itself, Humanitix is using HubSpot’s CRM tools to fuel its end-to-end customer experience and service approach. As McCurdie put it, having these tools allows the team to scale its high personal touch approach with event hosts to ensure “they feel like they’re part of the family”.  

“When had a handful of clients, we did everything to make sure they were happy. What was concerning to us was to ensure that as we grow, we retain that personal touch,” he said. “We didn’t want our customers to just get linked to a chatbot, for example. HubSpot has allowed us to do this at scale.”    

McCurdie noted the on-boarding process for a new customer. “When you sign-up, you will have certain needs as you start the journey. We can pre-empt some of these along the journey,” he said.  

“You might then create an event draft, but you’re still not certain of how it all works. That would trigger prompts to our team, who can see the type of event you’re running, and can ask a few questions about your experience, size of your team. We can also predict what you are likely to need at that moment.  

“When you publish the event and you’re promoting it, we’re proactively working out how to collaborate with you to sell more tickets and promote your event. In the lead-up, you’re also sorting out operations on the day, such as gate, VIP, box office solutions, security and so on. We have tools like a scanning app plus software to help you that do that smoothly. Then on the day of event, we make sure there is someone you can chat to. If we know it’s your first versus regular event, we’ll adjust our services.”  

Post-event, Humanitix provides content, such as insights into how much was donated off the back of ticketing for that event.  

“Transparency is incredibly important for us here. For example, in an Instagram post, you could show how in partnership with Humanitix our event generated $2500, funnelled into supporting scholarships for disadvantaged indigenous children,” McCurdie said.    

Humanitix head of brand and marketing, Nick Parmar, described the sales and outreach approach as a “well-oiled machine”.  

“Our CRM is helping proactively track and prioritise leads in terms of their value,” he continued. “We can give that personal touch when you reach key milestones, but also this ensure the internal team can be on the same page. Being able to pass information seamlessly is key. It would be impossible to do what we do without that tech from an internal alignment perspective as well.”  

On the customer service side, integrating HubSpot’s support forms on the website has enabled customers to reach the Humanitix support team promptly. Another CRM use case identified by McCurdie is better understanding when to reach out to a prospective event organiser.  

“Whenever you signup, you get a call from one of our staff, triggered by HubSpot,” McCurdie said.

The centralised communications approach allows Humanitix to call new and existing customers straight out of the platform. This is linked with a live chat feature and ensures continuity across touchpoints.   

“It was important for us to not just automate due to technology. Instead, we’re looking at it the other way around – we can scale our high-touch, human approach,” McCurdie added.  

Results  

Off the back of these efforts and despite the pandemic, Humanitix’s customer retention rate sits at 97 per cent. It boasts of more than 200 five-star customer reviews on Google and has seen website traffic increase by 2000 per cent, as well as chalked up significant revenue gains.  

One key insight to come out of the platform is around the types of events people are coming to Humanitix for. As McCurdie explained it, CRM is informing decisions on which event categories to go deeper into.  

Humanitix’s customer base is broad, stretching from small yoga retreats to big and small conferences, music festivals, rodeos, schools and university campuses and NFPs running fundraising events.  

“There has been so much open field in all these categories, prioritising on one or the other hasn’t been that strategic for us,” McCurdie said. “But more and more, we’re seeing a great fit in schools, conferences and festivals as big drivers of growth. Small community event hosts will always be the backbone of Humanitix. But where we’re seeing big opportunities are certainly with schools, concerts and festivals. We see that in the data coming out of Hubspot.”  

Next steps  

The 2022 objective for McCurdie and Parmar is to become a better promoter for its event hosts. To this end, Humanitix has built a database of 1 million end consumers reached through its newsletters.  

Key in this quest is a series of customer testimonial videos exploring the new and creative ways event hosts use and love the Humanitix offering. Parmar pointed to one narrative from the University of Technology Sydney, which explores how grassroots adoption of the platform led to the entire tertiary institution adopting Humanitix for the majority of its event ticketing needs.  

“We had another organiser from Spark Festival saying that whenever she needs something from our team, she feels like she’s our only customer,” Parmar said. “We can only do that and anticipate her needs by and adapt to those by understanding the lifecycles of each of our customers.”    

In complement, Parmar’s team has worked to reposition the brand with new visual identity and partnerships. McCurdie, meanwhile, is excited about how Humanitix provides a case study of a social enterprise delivering both social good and a superior product proposition at scale.  

“We have to be better and more competitive, rather than being too heavily reliant on the market using you purely because you are more ethical,” he said. “Often, what happens in social enterprise is the price of the product is much higher than competitors, therefore you restrict yourself to the wealthiest subset of society. That again doesn’t scale. It’s exciting for us to have a case study for the social enterprise sector on how the whole sector can scale.  

“The big question has been: Can a non-profit attract the talent needed to build a super competitive tech product? The answer, overwhelmingly, is yes. The retention rates of our engineers have been phenomenal.  

“You can build your skills, solve some really difficult pieces of tech while doing it for a non-profit with a mission of inspiring and investing back in humanity through non-profit influence. It’s usually a trade-off. It was a big question mark for us in the beginning on whether we’d attract enough of the right talent. Turns out people are inspired to have both in their lives.”   

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