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16th January 2019 Jemma Green

Phoebe Walsh — discovering the power of digital

Phoebe Walsh| Marketing Manager | Three Choirs Festival

As the sole marketing person in a small organisation, it’s easy to get tied up in the everyday. I’m responsible for all aspects of digital and offline marketing, press and communications, and it’s easy to let my days pass in a blur of endless emails and short-term fixes. I also becomes difficult to innovate — we end up doing what we’ve always done because we know how to do it and what the outcome will be. I’d like to start thinking more strategically and analytically — why do we do certain things, who are we targeting and is it really worth the time?

In order to dig down into this, I decided I needed help from the experts. I applied for the bursary because it’s the first time that we’ve been involved with the AMA or even really discussed digital marketing and I wanted to reduce the risk involved for the festival — it turns out that this was a recurring theme throughout the day!

There was a wide choice of sessions to attend, on a range of subjects from blue-sky thinking to really practical tips and ideas. First of all, I attended a talk on how the Royal Opera House used data as evidence for its marketing department restructuring, and was amazed to find how much Lucy Sinclair and I have in common in our work, even though she heads a team of 25 and I am a team of one. Then I heard about Storylab and got an insight into the future of video content — something that we’ve been trying to do more of at the festival. Finally I chose to learn about the best tools for gathering data insights and reporting on your own digital offering. We’ve recently relaunched our website so I will definitely be testing whether it’s as good as we think it is!

I was amazed by the scope of what’s happening in the arts marketing world. While I’m getting bogged down writing copy for yet another piece of print, my colleagues in other organisations are revolutionising how arts organisations think about and engage with their audiences — and redefining what even counts as an arts organisation. I’ve definitely got to step up my game! I’ve come back to the office revitalised and inspired, and with a new plan to get the festival into a position where we know exactly who we are currently reaching and who we would like to reach in the future.

Attending Digital Marketing Day has given me the confidence and the tools I need to refocus our marketing activity on the audience, to take considered risks and to measure the outcome of everything I do. And I’m already thinking about the next AMA event I’m going to attend!

My 3 top benefits of attending Digital Marketing Day 2018 were:

  1. A feeling of not being alone — I discovered that from the very small to the very large, most arts organisations face similar struggles and challenges and we can learn from each other to overcome them.
  2. A reminder to refocus on the audience — they’re not just numbers that add up to sales and participation targets but the whole purpose of our organisation and they should be at the centre of what we do.
  3. A whole range of strategic and practical tips and ideas to take back to the office!