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Top tips for audience engagement from This Girl Can

Quote from Kate Dale

Kate Dale made quite an impression at Digital 360 speaking about Sport England’s This Girl Can initiative. While the event required a digital focus, the key learning she shared has far wider application. Here are just a few of her top tips:

Test your instinct

‘Don’t just talk to the people who are your core audience; talk to the people you want to be your audience.’

As marketers we know a lot about our audiences. We seek high and low for more people like them but what about those who aren’t like them… or like us? How much do we really know about those who haven’t attended, why they haven’t engaged and what they value?

Sport England learned a lot about why women don’t engage with sport. Based on that insight they began campaigning in a way that really resonated with their target audience

Do we know why people aren’t engaging or do we just have a hunch? If it’s the latter then maybe it’s time to ask.

Explore for national statistics around arts engagement.

Cast with care

‘Jessica Ennis is a fantastic role model for life and achieving your dreams but in terms of physical activity she’s… not particularly going to inspire us to get active because she’s a different species to people like us.’

Key to the success of the This Girl Can campaign was the way Sport England represented its target audience. Every image they used showed women we could associate with.

Thinking back to 2013, I loved the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s ‘Not all audiences are the same’ campaign for that very reason.

Do our brochures and online channels represent the diverse audience we want to reach in a way that resonates with them? If not, perhaps it’s time to cast with care.

Prepare the way

‘Explaining and engaging your stakeholders and audience before you launch means that they will be there ready to take your message further.’

We craft campaigns all the time for events, seasons, tours or exhibitions. Traditionally, we may have kept them secret until the grand reveal. Is there more that we could be doing to prepare the way?

Sport England invested a lot of time in letting people know about This Girl Can before it launched. They wanted press and stakeholders to know what was coming, to understand why it was important and to get behind it from the outset. As a result, their audience were ready and waiting to spread the word and help make This Girl Can a resounding success.

Read about This Girl Can and gain more top tips from Kate Dale in the Digital 360 Keynote Collection

Finding your own path to resilience

There has been much discussion in recent years over how arts and cultural organisations can become more resilient.

I’ve observed three consistent traits while editing case studies on organisations that are successfully developing audiences, diversifying income streams and increasing their resilience:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Relevance
  3. Ambition

Each organisation is true to itself and its audience needs and is looking beyond what it’s successfully doing now to what it could do next.

The thing about these traits is that they are personal… to us, to our organisations and to our audiences or visitors. That makes copying another organisation’s path to resilience somewhat futile.

If authenticity, relevance and ambition are key to resilience then we need to

  • determine the values to which we must hold true to be authentic
  • think about our audience needs and how our offer addresses them
  • consider how our organisation can evolve to remain relevant

Fortunately for us developed a tool to make that thought process more creative, collaborative and (dare we say) fun. Instead of days staring at pages of text and encouraging colleagues to do the same, think team challenge with post-it notes and a painter’s canvas.

The Business Model Canvas, as the name suggests, is a visual tool designed to illustrate how the nine key elements of a business work together.

In a brand new introduction for CultureHive, author Mark Robinson says:

‘Faced with the complex reality of running an arts or cultural organisation, the Business Model Canvas gives you a tool to simply visualise the essential elements of your operation. It helps you question and play with new possibilities to create your own path to resilience.’

Mark’s full introduction is available on CultureHive accompanied by an ever-growing series of Business Model Case Studies that show how the canvas works in practice. You’ll also find an article from our own Executive Director Julie Aldridge offering alternatives to spark your thinking.

If your organisation is already using the Business Model Canvas we’d love to hear from you. Email and tell us how you’re getting on.

Mobile giving for arts and heritage organisations

Sue Davies, Managing Director of DONATE, on how their platform can help cultural organisations kick-start their fundraising.

King Richard III. Photo by VeteranMP used under Creative Commons

Giving to charity is part of the British national character. The UK is now fourth in the league of the most charitable countries in the world. So, if you are an arts or heritage charity, it makes sense to market your fundraising needs and turn your most valuable asset – your audience – into committed and regular financial supporters.

To help make this possible, we created DONATE. DONATE is a mobile giving platform that transforms the way the public can give to cultural and heritage organisations. Through a single portal, and using all the current digital communication tools: text, SMS, QR code or NFC technology, everyone can give to their choice of favourite arts and heritage projects across the country.

With DONATE, it is easy for anyone to show their support for your organisation at moments of emotional intensity – whether they’re standing in front of a beautiful painting, or as the curtain is coming down on a great performance. The aim is to democratise philanthropy in the UK by enabling everyone to give to the causes they love, in situ, using their mobile device.

Launched by the National Funding Scheme in March 2013, Donate now works with nearly 300 charitable partners across the UK on their fundraising campaigns and has been described as a ‘21st century collecting tin’, but with huge advantages. It’s free to register and use – we just take a minority share of any Gift Aid made on a donation to cover administrative and financial costs. DONATE provides invaluable donor data, and all the financial aspects are handled by us via our payment providers (Barclaycard, SmartPay and PayPal).

We want our partner organisations to be creative and imaginative in the way they present their campaigns to the general public, and provide logos, signage templates, posters and leaflets to help get you started.

Leicester Cathedral Charitable Trust recently raised £500 in two days via the platform as part of its King Richard III Campaign. The Watts Gallery in Surrey raised nearly £10,000 in two months, and Sheffield Theatres Trust received 600 donations by putting out a call to their audiences. The key to the success of these organisations was that they ran great press and marketing campaigns around their projects to really drive audience awareness, bring in new audiences and create a general sense of buy-in and support.

We believe DONATE is the future of fundraising for the cultural sector – both for big and small organisations. Visit the DONATE website to see case studies, details of existing partner organisations, and information on how to join.

The importance of having a CRM strategy

Helen Dunnett, HD Consulting, explains why having a CRM strategy is key to the success of the 21st century arts organisation.

Photo by Garry Knight used under Creative Commons

Having a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy in place is becoming ever more urgent. With the continuing reduction and uncertainty in arts funding, most arts organisations have to achieve more with less and we all have to work harder to prove that what we are doing is effective.

CRM isn’t about selling, it’s about marketing. It helps you build and maintain long-term relationships, through discovering how your audiences want to interact with you, and actively meeting their stated and unstated wants and needs.
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Meet the Members – The British Museum / English Heritage

AMA membership marketing coordinator Sophie Channon took to the road to visit AMA members at two organisations to get a better understanding of their day-to-day work.

Sophie on tour

In my role, I really value any opportunity to improve my understanding of our members’ needs. And what better way to learn about AMA members, and their organisations, than to spend a day in their shoes?

One scorching hot day earlier this summer, I joined Kathryn Havelock, Marketing Manager at the British Museum, to gain an insight into her role and the museum as a whole.

The British Museum is a world-famous institution, home to many of the world’s most treasured artefacts. Finding out more about such a major visitor attraction was eye-opening, and contrasted with my own experience of working in a small university arts centre. Over 6.5 million people visit each year, and it’s firmly on the radars of holiday makers and ‘staycationers’ alike.
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The state of dynamic pricing

In this provocative new paper, Tim Baker, Director and Principal at Baker Richards, summarises the key issues, and invites your views in a new survey on dynamic pricing. Tim will present the responses at ETT – Europe Talks Tickets conference in Amsterdam in November.

pricecutPhoto by Craig Murphy used under Creative Commons

Is dynamic pricing maturing?

Might ‘dynamic pricing’ be coming of age in the cultural sector? There is plenty of relevant evidence about implementation and impact in the US across a wide range of commercial and not for profit organisations, and growing adoption now in the UK and Europe. Is it time to learn and understand from that experience?

Sometimes just talking about ‘dynamic pricing’ as a concept gets an almost visceral reaction, as if it was somehow immoral. Yet the arts and entertainment industry and many sporting fixtures have been premium pricing, packaging and discounting for decades, and they are all tools in dynamic pricing. Dynamic Pricing is probably not right for all cultural organisations but it does potentially have an increasingly important role to play in helping to maximise income and optimise volume of ticket sales, especially in a world where many are seeking ways to replace declining public subsidy.

Is ‘dynamic pricing’ immoral?

Is this question only coming now because the funding cuts from austerity force a greater emphasis on earned income, and we worry about changing our sales policies and adopting hard commercial techniques? The argument is specious. We have been willing to upset advance bookers for years, reducing prices after they have booked, charging different prices through different channels, with different booking fees, and for high demand events we have offered premium seats and tolerated the secondary market. Dynamic pricing could be said to retain the income margin the scalpers otherwise take. And we all know venues where clever Box Office Managers have always moved price breaks and tweaked seating plans in the light of demand for seats.

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A 5-step checklist for your next online contest

In his second blog post for the AMA, Mikolaj Napieralski, Head of Marketing and PR at the Orientalist Museum, Qatar, shares his advice on what makes an online contest work.

Photo by Joseph Morris used under Creative Commons

Launching a social media contest is a great way to promote an upcoming exhibition or event. It can accompany traditional marketing campaigns and help you reach a broader, international audience.

That said, the most successful digital contests follow 5 basic rules.

Immediacy – a successful campaign needs to have a central idea that is easy to understand and act upon. This is ideally something that can be communicated in a single sentence, such as “tag a holiday photo” or “win a vacation”.

The simpler the message, the easier it is to communicate, the more likely people will act upon it.

Personalisation – a campaign needs to be relevant to peoples’ interests for them to take part. But to make them care you need to provide them with a sense of ownership. In other words, they need to feel that their personal involvement has some impact on the outcome. When people can add their own photos, stories, illustrations, or suggestions to a campaign, they feel that they are adding to the experience. That makes them care about the end result.

Easy of entry – a campaign needs to be easy to access. The more steps involved in entry, the more people you’ll lose. While hitting ‘like’ on a Facebook image can be the simplest option, a truly effective campaign needs some level of contribution from the public. Hashtags are one of the easiest ways to get people involved and sharing their own content. They allow organizations to group content together and are an easy way for people to register (e.g. ‘use hashtag #MuseumDay to enter the competition’). More elaborate competitions may need entry forms, but keep the details to a minimum. Encourage people to register via their Facebook or Twitter accounts – this is an effective way to ensure you can communicate updates to people who have entered.

Viral element – to maximize a campaign’s reach, it should provide a way for people to share it on social media. In other words, it needs a ‘viral’ element. This will vary depending on the campaign, but popular ways to generate social media shares include:

  • Votes – any contest based around votes will encourage people to share the details with their friends as a way to up their vote tally;
  • Entry – requiring people to share content on their social media page as a condition of entry can build access to a broader network;
  • Exclusive content – offering people early or exclusive access to a product;
  • Charity donations – offering to make a contribution to charity for every share (so long as you have a wealthy corporate benefactor!)

The point is, there should be some incentive or reason for people to share details about the campaign with their friends. This is most successful when the items you ask them to share are in some way personal or specific to them, e.g. stories, pictures.

Reward – Finally, and most obviously, a contest needs a suitable reward. This reward doesn’t have to be monetary or physical. Having your name attached to an art show, or having exclusive access to a person or event, is the sort of intangible prize that’s even more likely to motivate people than a cheque.

Don’t forget to read Mikolaj’s previous post – a case study of an Instagram competition which helped develop interest in a ‘difficult sell’ exhibition.

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