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10th February 2020 Jacqueline Haxton

Give people a chance to be part of what you’re doing

The AMA’s 2019 Digital Marketing Day — Beyond Digital — took place on 5 December 2019 across two venues — the Barbican in London and Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. We invited ten delegates from the London venue to write about their key takeaways from the day.

There was a really good session from Jon Sleigh on live streaming. He emphasised the importance of being clear on your values and principles and why you are live streaming in the first place. Florence Okoye’s session on ‘Mapping a Holistic Approach to User Experiencer’ was really practical — we worked with other delegates to talk about our audiences’ journeys and how we can streamline the user experience. Zak Mensah was an entertaining close to the day full of advice about how to ensure audience experience and customer care is embedded across the organisation and doesn’t just sit with marketing. The session was live streamed from Edinburgh very seamlessly and this got me thinking on the train home about how we can stream what we’re doing from our venue to the wider world — with knock-on environmental benefits. At lunch, there was some great advice on helping to safeguard colleagues from the pressures of social media at the drop-in wellbeing hub organised by Creative Freedom and Art Fund.

Alice Kent, Director of Communications, National Centre for Writing

Chris Unitt’s session on website accessibility gave me the impetus and advice I needed to audit Saffron Hall’s website for accessibility and make a plan for improving those areas. I recently put in place a new online booking system for access bookers at our venue. However, it hadn’t occurred to me the extent of the barriers that these users could be facing within our website, which could make the reform of the booking system unusable or obsolete if not resolved. We are also in the early stages of a website redesign so this seemed like a pivotal moment to educate myself about this topic.  I was able to make small changes to our website almost immediately, starting with our most-used web pages and pages with information specific to access users. I now feel empowered to make further changes to the website myself, as well as hold our web developers to account when areas of the website are redesigned in the near future.

Emma Hall, Marketing Coordinator, Saffron Hall

I learned about some really practical strategies that will be easy to enact in relation to my organisation’s digital content, as well as broader, more abstract ideas that change my perspective on my role as an arts marketer.

My main take away from the Beyond Digital day was an inspiration to create digital output that is accessible and engaging to a broad audience, and that is more than simply promotional marketing. I learned about some really practical strategies that will be easy to enact in relation to my organisation’s digital content, as well as broader, more abstract ideas that change my perspective on my role as an arts marketer. The entire event was thought-provoking and motivating, and I look forward to hopefully attending more AMA events in the future!

Kate Walker, Communications Assistant, Southbank Sinfonia

The keynote from Lisa Westcott-Wilkins and the session led by Rachel Walker were my highlights. Although Lisa’s field is very different from my own, I learned some valuable tips about audience acquisition and retention, that I can definitely relate to my own job at the theatre. I have already put the tools that Rachel talked about (most notably HotJar) into place in my organisation, and have been using them to gain information about my audience and how they use our website. I picked up some useful information from Chris Unitt’s session about how I can better use Google Analytics. This, combined with what I discovered using HotJar, will allow me to monitor changes I may make to the website, and see if they make an improvement. I also had a particularly useful one-to-one session with Arts Council England (ACE) ‘tech champion’ Dean Shaw, where we discussed the benefits of using video as a marketing tool, and how to create and edit your own videos.

Kirstie Ewer, Digital Marketing Officer, The Core Theatre, Solihull

My key takeaway from the day came from the lunchtime session with the Digital Culture Network who provided key insights into making your YouTube channel more effective. As an organisation we have a lot of content surrounding our productions and we’d like to use it to engage with our audiences who often speak so fondly of our shows. My plan is to use VidIQ as recommended by one of the ‘tech champions’, to see how long people are watching our videos for and how we might improve content for the future. I would also add on ‘end cards’ to our videos to keep our audiences engaged with Rifco content. Other key takeaways included serialising content, which could be implemented into an upcoming 2020 project, and using website layout.

Melissa Taylor, Marketing Coordinator, Rifco Theatre Company

The AMA Digital Marketing Day was an incredible way to end the year. The wide range of topics available to choose from meant that I was able to both broaden and deepen my knowledge of digital in arts and culture. We often say that digital is everywhere, but my big takeaway from the day is feeling that our digital platforms ‘are’ our organisation, rather than simply a space for hosting a part of the customer journey. Coming from an organisation with so many stories to tell, I now feel more confident in sharing them in a more considered and well-informed way. Our new blog has the potential to hold some unforgettable evergreen content that Shakespeare fans will come back to time and time again, and I’m excited to be a part of that.

Miki Govedarica, Digital Content and Social Media Officer, Shakespeare’s Globe

The insights Anthony Rawlins was able to share with regards to PPC (pay-per-click), retargeting and email marketing reaffirmed my belief in its necessity to help grow our brand.

I found the breakout session — Audience-First Marketing — to be the most aligned with the work I am doing/wanting to do within my organisation. The insights Anthony Rawlins was able to share with regards to PPC (pay-per-click), retargeting and email marketing reaffirmed my belief in its necessity to help grow our brand. The subsequent sessions I attended — Optimising User Journey and Data, and How to Listen — contributed additional insights and understandings towards this and discussions have now started within my organisation as to how we can update our website to ease the user’s journey and, hopefully, increase traffic to our site. There is a lot I hope to achieve including developing our mailing list to being more strategic in what information is passed onto our subscribers and implementing a PPC campaign to raise awareness of our brand as well as target specific audiences.

Rebecca Horrell, Marketing Coordinator, Rambert

I took a lot of learning back to my organisation, particularly about how we can utilise data differently, and how we can use it both to simplify the user journey for audiences, but also how we can do better in terms of looking at what our audiences want and need. I’m developing a new approach to data analysis, looking at connections that I hadn’t made before. I’m looking at how we can engage more with families digitally; increasing their engagement not only with our shows but with our classes and community work. The information about utilising social media analytics in particular was invaluable, and I’m looking more at my reach and the quality of engagement with our audiences.

Sairah Rehman, Marketing and Audience Development Manager, Z-arts

There was a great session on the Royal Academy’s membership page. By making some small changes they doubled the amount of people taking action when they got to that page. At the moment, ours are not optimal for mobile at all, and it was clear from the day that this is an important thing to remedy. I’m going to review our ‘Support us’ website pages using the free tool HotJar to analyse clicks on the pages and see if we can optimise them for usage. I’d like to work with our Digital Content Manager to identify a group of members/audience that are supporting but can’t attend anymore. Can we get these people regularly watching our live streams and engaging with our online video/story content? Can we utilise people and skills that we have in the organisations or through our partnerships to create more opinion-pieces and interviews for the Members’ News and Premium newsletter?

Siubhán Macauley, Development Officer, Liverpool Philharmonic

“Give people a chance to be part of what you’re doing” was my quote of the day

“Give people a chance to be part of what you’re doing” was my quote of the day and I believe this could help to steer what we do as a venue in 2020, which also happens to be the Hertfordshire Year of Culture. Making an audience feel invested in our venue, invested enough to want to come back and support the good work being carried out, can only bring positives. I just need to find a way of communicating what we do to help generate this feeling. Further thinking is required. And I really want to join the fun of DigVentures and help to dig holes … really!

Stewart Fairthorne, Marketing and Sales Lead Officer, The Old Town Hall
(part of Dacorum Borough Council)


All contributors to this blog post attended AMA’s 2019 Digital Marketing Day — Beyond Digital — with an AMA or AMAculturehive bursary.


AMA’s Digital Bootcamp

Want to engage more online audiences with the work, events, services of your arts, culture or heritage organisation? The AMA’s Digital Bootcamp on 30 March at Rich Mix in London is aimed at people who are already working to reach and engage audiences online, and want to develop a deeper understanding to do that more effectively. The day will cover PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, email, conversion and content.

Video highlights

Video highlights of the two Keynote presentations at the AMA’s Digital Marketing Day — Beyond Digital — are now available to view in the AMA’s Members’ Area— 10 minute video highlights of five of the breakout sessions will be published shortly. You will need your member’s login to access.

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