Alexander Babbage » Case Studies

Arts & Entertainment

Assessing Marketing Effectiveness

High Museum of Art – Atlanta, GA

Background:The High Museum of Art wanted to understand the visitor experience during exhibitions and determine if its marketing efforts toward younger and more diverse audiences were working.

 Analysis: During the past four years, Alexander Babbage has conducted exhibition and event intercept studies and in-depth ticketing/member data analysis to provide the High with a more complete picture of its audiences. We have created extensive data visualization tools to measure and map the effectiveness of key marketing and media tactics.

 Result: The High has been able to build data-driven attendance forecasts, determine where to place feeder market advertising, assess the effectiveness of grassroots efforts and track changes in audiences. In its most recent exhibition visitor study, the High saw an 8 point increase in the diversity of its visitor base; average visitor age dropped by 3 years, directly in line with the average age of the Atlanta market.

Evaluating Exhibition Concepts

High Museum of Art – Atlanta, GA

Background: The High Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the southeastern U.S., wanted to assess the audience potential for future exhibitions that were under consideration.

Analysis: Alexander Babbage conducted focus groups and online quantitative exhibition studies among existing patrons, members and the local target market.  The studies measured concept interest, key interest drivers and points of disconnect.  The studies also evaluated exhibition names and informed attendance forecasts.

Result: With full knowledge of audience appeal, curators and educators understood which names, art and themes were most compelling or confusing to target audiences. Marketing received valuable information for message development and attendance forecasting.

Expanding Audience Learning in the Arts

Woodruff Arts Center – Atlanta, GA

 Background: The Woodruff Arts Center, parent organization to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Alliance Theatre, wanted to expand its knowledge of the arts patrons frequenting its divisions.

 Analysis: Alexander Babbage developed a centralized research function serving all three divisions, fielding tracking and intercept studies, and mapping ticketing data. We prepared board presentations to help assess progress against goals set in the Woodruff’s strategic plan.

 Result: The Woodruff, along with its divisions, has been able to track shifts in its audience base, build a picture of its various arts patrons, and identify opportunities for collaboration among its operating divisions. The results have informed decision-making and also provided needed data for reporting to grant-makers and foundations.

Banking & Financial

Naming and Image Enhancement

Grow Financial – Tampa, FL

Background: MacDill Air Force Base Credit Union wanted to expand business beyond its military heritage but was concerned about the impact of rebranding on existing members.

Analysis: Through qualitative and quantitative research, Alexander Babbage qualified the best branding and logo identity, and determined audience segments most opposed to a name change. This helped leadership decide whether to make a name change and how to develop a proactive communications program targeted to any members likely to be upset by a name change.

 Result: MacDill Federal Credit Union rebranded itself to Grow Financial.   Assets grew by more than 50% with no loss in existing members.

Major League Sports

Segmenting and Attracting New Customers

The Atlanta Braves – Atlanta, GA

Background: After seven years of declining attendance, the Braves wanted to increase season ticket sales by 5% to 2.4 million annual tickets.

 Analysis: Through an intercept research program deployed among fans, Alexander Babbage brought Braves’ leadership a deeper understanding of why fans come to games.  This gave them valuable information regarding new audience targets and how best to market the game experience.

 Result:  The Braves broke a 10-year attendance record and sold more than 2.7 million tickets – a 7% increase.  Forbes Magazine reported:  Under the old regime, the Braves bombarded all their fans with one set of TV and radio ads. Now they target hard-core fans during game broadcasts, for example, and (also) go after mothers, who buy tickets less often and farther in advance.”


Getting to Know Your Customer

Moe’s Southwest Grill – Alpharetta, GA

Background: After great initial success, Moe’s Southwest Grill was starting to see less successful new store openings among its franchise.  Moe’s management felt they needed to understand its core customer base.

 Analysis: Alexander Babbage conducted intercept interviews throughout the U.S.  Questions were designed to gather basic demographics and attitudes about Moe’s specifically, and fast casual Mexican cuisine in general.

 Result: The findings provided management with the first clear picture of Moe’s core customer base. The chain was still hitting its ideal demographic but had some weaknesses that could be quickly addressed.  We also identified opportunities to increase share of wallet.  In the words of Matt Andrew, President of Moe’s: “While we learned that we were doing a lot of things right, we discovered areas of opportunity that we had not been aware of before.  These findings will help us target marketing initiatives to better meet the needs of our consumers.”

Quantifying Customer Loyalty and Trade Area Dynamics

Krystal – Chattanooga, TN

Background: Krystal, an 80-year-old fast food restaurant chain, needed to increase sales.
Analysis: Alexander Babbage analyzed and segmented Krystal’s customer data, identifying that 84% of sales came from 41% of their customer base.  We then helped them determine what was most important to this core customer.  With this new insight, Krystal re-focused product development and marketing on the core customer and increased patronage, loyalty, recency and frequency.

Result: Five years of transaction declines were reversed and the brand is growing again among a core, loyal customer base.


Sizing Up the Competition

Off Broadway Shoes – Alpharetta, GA

Background: Off Broadway Shoes, one of the first warehouse concept stores in the country, wanted to build a broad view of its shopper and its competition.

Analysis: Alexander Babbage conducted a comprehensive assessment of Off Broadway versus its competitive set, research that involved ethnography, a general market study, an online attitude study and site audits at locations in key Off Broadway markets throughout the U.S.  With this information, we were able to build shopper profiles, identify perceptions of pricing, selection, and customer experience, and rank key purchase drivers.

Result: With a comprehensive view of its shopper and competitive set, Off Broadway management was able to hone-in on strategies to drive share of wallet among its core shoppers, gain more shoppers through its loyalty program and prioritize operational investments that drove revenue.

Understanding and Segmenting Non-Shoppers

Belk – Charlotte, NC

Background: Regional department store Belk had recently gone through a complete re-branding and re-positioning,  yet shoppers weren’t coming – or if they were, they weren’t spending.

 Analysis: Alexander Babbage studied Belk’s “non-shoppers” –  the woman who was present in the mall but chose not to visit Belk – to understand her impressions of the store and why she was choosing not to spend there.

 Result: Rather than being a price/value-based issue as the retailer originally believed, we identified that Belk’s price/value perception was high among non-shoppers.  Instead, some operational improvements could make the difference. As a result, the solution to drive sales was far less costly and more effective to implement.

Shopping Centers

Building a Retail Identity to Attract Tenants

Atlantic Station – Atlanta, GA

Background: Atlantic Station, a vibrant multi-use development near downtown Atlanta, needed help attracting new tenants to the property.

 Analysis: Using both primary and secondary research, Alexander Babbage evaluated Atlantic Station’s core trade area on a series of key attributes including demographics, psychographics, shopper safety and economic health indicators. We provided focused action lists related to facilities, security and tenant mix.

 Result: When compared to other sites and cities where key tenants were located, Atlantic Station was identified as a premier location in both Atlanta and in the South. Atlantic Station management has been able to renew existing tenants and secured new tenants, while posting positive comparable sales.

Developing Insights for Marketing & Social Media

Tanger Outlets – Greensboro, NC

Background: Tanger Outlets conducts shopper intercept and market-wide research on a regular basis to track shopper demographic and patronage trends. In 2011, Tanger wanted to update its shopper benchmark research and in addition, leverage its extensive database to ascertain differences and similarities between on-site shoppers and database members.

 Analysis: Alexander Babbage administered a shopper intercept study and performed an in-depth analysis of Tanger’s customer database to reveal distinct shopper characteristics.

 Result: Tanger has used the research findings to inform property-level and corporate marketing plans including budgeting, media planning, social media strategy, direct mail targeting and database analysis. Further, the research findings provide supporting data to tailor leasing pitches and to support retailer-specific media initiatives.

Optimizing Pricing for Retail Properties

Westchester’s Ridge Hill – Yonkers, NY

Background: Westchester’s Ridge Hill is an outdoor shopping and entertainment destination surrounded by other high-end shopping centers. As Ridge Hill was in the planning phase, it was being contemplated as a high-end center that would compete head-to-head with other luxury competitors in the market.

 Analysis: Alexander Babbage used the proprietary SpendRTM Segmentation tool to determine what price points the property would support and which tenants would be most appropriate for the property. We matched the property to the market and looked at the role of competition.

 Result: Our research concluded that a higher price-point tenant mix would not be the most effective for Ridge Hill. Rather, the center should be a neighborhood shopping destination tenanted with bridge price points to provide a complement to the luxury and value price points already found in the Westchester County area.

Tracking Post-Recession Retail Customer Changes

Forest City Enterprises – Cleveland, OH

Background: Leading North American developer of lifestyle properties Forest City Enterprises (FCE) needed cutting edge research to keep them abreast of important customer changes in a post-recession retail environment.

 Analysis: Alexander Babbage serves as an outsourced research department for all FCE research needs.  We provide benchmark shopper and market studies, quantify digital/social media use in conjunction with print/broadcast media, conduct ad-hoc studies,  and provide support for leasing and new business development presentations. We also have developed a proprietary discretionary spending model that is used to target the most desirable shoppers in a market.

 Result: Our research has driven FCE sales performance and has supported the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Forest City as a retail thought leader in the industry.

Determining the Impact of Non-Traditional Anchor Stores

Macerich – Phoenix, AR; Westfield – Los Angeles, CA

 Background: As two of the world’s largest retail property groups, Macerich and Westfield both wanted to understand the impact of non-traditional anchor stores on their U.S. properties.

 Analysis: In a unique joint research project, Alexander Babbage surveyed database members of both companies, as well as the shoppers of non-traditional and traditional anchor stores. We brought insights that were shared jointly and separately.

 Result: The detailed results are proprietary, but the findings supported both companies in their assessment and development of future non-traditional anchor store strategies.

Using Research to Maintain Category Leadership

DDR – Cleveland, OH

Background: DDR (formerly Developers Diversified), the third largest retail real estate owner in the U.S., needed to differentiate its retail space offerings from competitors and manage its relationships with multiple stakeholders.

 Analysis: Alexander Babbage conducted a broad strategic assessment of macro and micro trends in shopping center development and provided insights into how evolving consumer demographics and attitudes would shape retailing through 2020. We performed qualitative research via online focus groups with select customers, and conducted in-depth interviews with DDR leadership, leading retail tenants and financial analysts.

 Result: This extensive strategic research was presented to the DDR board and became a key tool in their discussions with retailers and analysts. The study was presented to Urban Land Institute and International Council of Shopping Centers Conferences and informed DDR in its communications with lenders during the post recession debt restructuring, where DDR was one of the most successful developers in managing their financing.