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Family Arts Campaign

Find out more about the Family Arts Campaign below and if you’re an AMA member you can read even more about their work in the Autumn issue of JAM (Journal of Arts Marketing).

The Family Arts Campaign are delighted to join forces with the AMA this year, welcoming the AMA to a consortium of ten arts organisations and trade bodies with three common aims:

  • To increase the amount and range of high-quality artistic work for families
  • To raise the quality of experience for families attending or participating in arts events
  • To improve marketing to reach more families

Established in 2012 with the support of Arts Council England, the Family Arts Campaign continues to make the case for family audiences, whilst helping to dispel unhelpful perceptions of what working with families actually involves.

We’re still on a journey but we’re seeing some really significant progress. Our Evaluation[1] of the initial three years of the Campaign told us that, of participating organisations surveyed: 61% reported an increase in artistic work targeted at families; 33% reported an increase in earned income from family audiences and 59% reported an increase in average attendance/participation overall. What does this show? That getting your family offer right impacts across the board, with a knock-on effect for your organisation’s broader objectives.

It always helps to start with the question ‘what do we mean by family?’ It’s not just about children, or parents and children. ‘Family’ encompasses every possible configuration of different generations experiencing culture together — teens, early years, carers, parents, grandparents. It’s about recognising that arts and culture have a key role to play in bringing generations together and strengthening the communities they are part of. Making your offer appealing and accessible to different generations, without making assumptions that may alienate some families, is crucial.

Providing well for groups of all ages opens up opportunities for arts organisations. Our Family Arts Standards[2] codify ideal practice and are designed to help all kinds of arts organisations to assess their offer critically. We help organisations to look at the simple things such as the presentation of their venue (if they are venue-based), clear information on content and facilities, clarity on pricing, a warm staff welcome, opportunities for families’ views to be heard…. The Standards provide a really useful checklist to help pinpoint areas for improvement that benefit all of their users. Our evidence shows that this quality assurance mark is valued by families, with a strong correlation between organisations promoting the Standards and an increase in family visitors.

One of the most exciting aspects of engaging with the Family Arts Campaign is the opportunity for collaboration. As a sector-wide campaign, we work with representative bodies of many art forms, as well as marketing-specific bodies such as the AMA. We also support a large number of local Networks of arts organisations throughout the UK. Our approach helps to break down unnecessary divisions between art forms and regions, and proves that sharing strategies to engage families can really pay off. On organisational levels, the Campaign works holistically across marketing, programming, education and outreach and front-of-house. We’ll be bringing all of these arts professionals together on 15th March 2017 at our biennial Family Arts Conference to learn and share good practice and innovative work.

As we move into the future of the Family Arts Campaign, some key areas for progress are emerging. These include issues such as inclusion of older family members within the family experience, the need for encouraging a diverse and representative ‘family voice’, sustaining year-round family engagement, as well as making exciting artistic work for families more accessible to those seeking to programme it.

We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with the AMA’s network and bring you on the journey with us.

To get in touch email Jenny.

Image of Jenny Daly, Family Arts Campaign

Find out more on the Family Arts Campaign website and check out details of the Family Arts Conference 2017.



[1] Family Audiences: What Have We Learned? — Family Arts Campaign evaluation report, Catherine Rose’s Office, 2015

[2] Family Arts Standards

The Family Arts Campaign works via a consortium of representative bodies consisting of: Association of British Orchestras, One Dance UK, Independent Theatre Council, Society of London Theatre, UK Theatre, Contemporary Visual Arts Network, The Audience Agency, Family and Childcare Trust, Voluntary Arts, The Albany and the AMA.

Image: Dance Umbrella – DU16 Secret Slowness of Movement. Photo Paul Blakemore

A brief history of Agile #AMAiterate

Hello. We’re Spektrix: ticketing, marketing and fundraising cloud-based software and support and we’re so excited to be sponsoring this year’s Digital Marketing Day. AMA’s passion for helping you reach more people, more often, is exactly what we stand for and we get pretty geeky when it comes to all things Agile. In preparation for the big day on 2 December, check out our Brief History of Agile below to see where it all began and how far it’s come over the last 100 years.

Author: Richard Bates, Head of Support at Spektrix

Join the conversation #AMAiterate

Have you booked your place at Digital Marketing Day – Iterate and Innovate yet?
Find out more and book your place here.

Brief History of Agile by Spektrix

Cutting Edge Digital Strategies for Increasing Online Revenue

Soap Media, one of our networking sponsors at this year’s AMA conference, give us the lowdown on how they helped The Grand Theatre in Blackpool bring new life to their website.

With our web design and development skills, we like to think we know how to put on a spectacular online show. Digital is a multifaceted process – by implementing state of the art technology, we’ve been helping theatres to measurably increase their ticket sales.

This is an era of HTML5, WordPress, mobile-friendly web design, and white hat SEO. In this post, we’ll detail how we transformed one theatre with an outdated site into the cutting edge talk of the town, and how you can achieve the same results.

The Grand Theatre – Developing a Strategy

The theatre’s website was outdated, making it the ideal opportunity for it to take a bold new approach. We wanted to capture the atmosphere of the venue and merge its history with a state of the art digital design in order to launch the company into a new era.

Our focus was to develop relevant user personas to create realistic representations of key audience segments. By understanding the motivations of the Grand’s audience and how this dovetails to touchpoints off-site with user journeys, we could set about ensuring the company achieved ROI.

Tools such as Hotjar helped us map the user journey of customers across the site. When matched with data from Google Analytics, we discovered what was important to users and shaped the development of the site based on this information.

Web Design and Development

Theatre is an emotive and visual product, so the new site had to feature considerable wow factor. We wanted visitors to be a part of the Grand experience and developed an intuitive user interface.

It takes the faceted approach of an eCommerce site and refines the ways in which customers filter by multiple categories and date ranges – an innovative approach no one else has considered. We added flexible options which prioritised key onscreen elements, such as the Grand’s calendar.

There’s also an ASOS style shopping experience, the show pages are striking, and social media is integrated into the site. From there, we tailored the experience based on cookies and watched micro transactions to capture data earlier in the lifecycle.

Responsive Web Design

65% of the Grand’s traffic comes from mobile devices (amounting to 50% of its revenue), so it was essential the site was mobile-friendly and fully responsive across multiple devices.

For customers on their mobiles, data costs are precious – we implemented design features such as blocking automatic streaming videos to place loading times at a premium. To complement these speeds, we developed large icons for effortless navigation across the site.

Event Management

For the Grand’s ticket management, we went with the brilliant Spektrix. This is user-friendly and intuitive software.

The company builds its features with “usability in mind”. It’s also scalable, so it can manage major sale increases efficiently. Additionally, other features include the choice to segment audiences into relevant fields, which is essential for an industry with diverse demographics.

Digital Marketing Strategies

This is all about stealing an advantage over competitors. With the right strategy, a target demographic can be reached on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Google Display Network, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tactics such as geo-fencing can also be useful. The local Blackpool Pleasure Beach resort draws in many punters, who subsequently see the Grand’s location on their smartphones, which draws in more customers.

Much of digital marketing offers immediate results, but brands must also consider the long-term impact of SEO, where white hat tactics can earn important search engine ranking positions.


For theatres, modernising a site shouldn’t be seen as an annoyance. It’s a golden opportunity to launch a product which will win over customers and secure more ticket sales.

It’s a case of merging all the right components alongside innovative and expertly managed tactics. In order to reach your online audience, your web design, development, digital marketing, and SEO must all work in tandem. It’s a lot of effort, but the end result is worth it.

Our advice to theatres is simple: make sure you’re cutting edge and don’t be afraid to make a grand, theatrical online statement. If you wow your audience, your digital presence (and ticket sales) will grow naturally as a result.

Image: The Grand Blackpool

Pokémon on Location

Image of Pokemon outside a hotel window

Matt West from Local Measure explains the growing importance of location in marketing.

It was quite the coincidence that Pokémon Go was released in the UK during the last day of the AMA conference. There was a palpable buzz as delegates pondered what this meant for them and what the possibilities were. For organisations whose success is judged by how many people come through the door the opportunity of luring unsuspecting Pokémon trainers seemed too good to be true. How long they stayed and whether they engaged in the environment other than in the act of catching monsters, is a subject for another blog post.

The approach businesses have taken to this phenomenon range from enthusiastic adoption to just going with it and finally, active Pokémon prevention under health and safety auspices along with chalk boards appealing for the sanity of man. One hotel in Chicago was valiantly trying to prevent intrepid trainers from trying to capture a monster floating outside the 21st floor (see above image).

Whilst I suspect the Pokémon star will shine brightly and then fade to a persistent glow what is clear is that location is becoming a more prevalent aspect in our digital lives. Apps like Uber and Tinder have increased our expectation of what is possible and in an instant we are demanding our services are tailored to where we are.

Until recently we have been thinking about how technology can help us explore the world without needing to move using virtual reality. Now with augmented reality apps like Pokémon Go we are seeing how digital can encourage people to explore the physical space. Going full circle we should also consider how digital could be used to alter the world around us. To what extent can the physical environment be changed using our digital signals.

For organisations that operate from a fixed location listening to the digital conversation taking place on site in real time uncovers a wealth of information that when filtered can reveal opportunities to personalise the visitor’s experience. For example if a guest tweeted that their hotel room was too cold that could result in the temperature automatically rising in the room by a few degrees.

The adoption of Pokémon Go has been underpinned by the ubiquitous availability of smart phones with cameras with IOS or Android operating systems. In the same way dialling into the location based digital conversation can be achieved by leveraging the apps already being used by your visitors like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter without the need for bespoke hardware or software.

The first step is to start listening to the social media conversation on site to get a sense of the signals your visitors are giving you. At a base level this will include the number of social media followers a visitor has, how often they visit and how engaged they are. Additional information can be captured from the post itself such as language, group size, what they are doing, how they are feeling and why they have come (school trip, birthday, first time, annual pilgrimage, special event, topic of interest etc.). You can then take those signals and chose how or if to act on them either digitally or in the physical space.

Digital actions could be simply liking and retweeting a post or directly engaging with a visitor in a unique way because you have an understanding of where they are and what they are doing, for example an expert opinion on specific exhibit they have posted about. Physical interaction could manifest itself as a treat for someone enjoying a birthday lunch at the cafe, behind the scenes access or a selfie with a cast member. Cumulative feedback over time could also help change the space by improving the layout of an exhibit.

It might not be practical to engage with everyone who visits but personalising the experience based on location can develop a much stronger connection with the visitor and generate content that will be cherished and shared amongst peer groups as well as for your own digital channels

Happy Hunting!


Local Measure is a location driven intelligence platform. You can contact Matt via email.


Making Maltesers Matter! #AMAconf

Hannah Torrance is a Trainer / Support Analyst at PatronBase UK, here she gives us her thoughts on her AMA conference experience this year.

This year was my first experience of the AMA Conference, or any marketing conference for that matter, and I can honestly say I did not know what to expect. Until recently I have been mostly beavering away in the PatronBase support team and I was very much looking forward to the opportunity to meet the faces behind the voices I get to speak to regularly, and some new ones as well. Supporting our customers and getting to know them better is by far the best part of my job, so with this year’s AMA conference focusing on inclusion and relationship building I was really excited to be a part of it and felt very connected to the message.

A huge part of what I love about PatronBase is the people. Each one of us ended up here because we want to help your organisation work to the best of its ability; support isn’t just our job title, it’s our work ethic! As such, being able to support our fellow industry professionals by providing sponsorship opportunities to attend AMA 2016 was something we as a company were very pleased to be able to do. It was great to actually meet Sian Bateman of London Sinfonietta at the conference and I hope she got as much from the conference as I did.

Another important quality of the PatronBase family is we like to have fun. Sponsored lunch breaks are a fantastic chance for stall holders to connect with the rest of the delegates, engage in discussion topics and get a feel for the trends coming out of the sessions. By the second day though we could feel the weight of debate laying heavy across the room and the to-do lists getting longer, so we decided to use our sponsored lunch to inject a little silliness. The Malteser Game is a favourite in our household, so when tasked with setting up a fun challenge I knew exactly what to go for. Congratulations to Alanna Clear of Red and White Studio, a very worthy winner! I hope the shortbread was tasty and your kids were impressed with the tin!

Given the trying times we are encountering, the conference title On A Mission To Matter, held additional poignancy for me. In the wake of the referendum the pressure is on us to prove our worth and show that we matter in every way possible. Not only did we explore how we can matter enough to individuals to encourage investment through fundraising, memberships, digital engagement and returning patrons, we also discussed how we could reach out: to become a part of the community that matters. Donna Walker-Kuhne encouraged us to be “authentic, curious and respectful”, so let us take this message away with us, try to be authentic in our representation of our communities, curious about new ideas and ways we can work together, and respectful enough of each other’s work that we turn up and support everything we can.

I for one am looking forward to next year’s conference already and hope to bring what I have learnt this year back into the PatronBase support team and customer family in the meantime.

For more information on how PatronBase can help your organisation, please visit our website.


Revitalising Relationships = Real Organisational Growth

Image of audience

Kevin Giglinto, Director, Client Development & Marketing at Tessitura Network, Inc. discusses his time as an arts marketer with Chicago Symphony Orchestra. AMA Conference 2016 is sponsored by Tessitura.

I began my life as an arts marketer in September of 1999, when I joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s staff as the orchestra world’s first ecommerce director. From that time and throughout my 10 years leading the CSO’s Sales and Marketing Department, we maintained a constant focus on audience development.

This is certainly nothing new to arts marketers. Something that I always admired about our field is the remarkable energy expended and experimentation explored to turn over every stone in order to find the next new audience member. That commitment to our arts organisations and the role they play within the cultural landscape of our communities is found everywhere. This illustrates the deep passion that will certainly permeate the sessions at the AMA conference in Edinburgh.

Back in the late 90s and early 00s, there were still fresh memories of hundreds of concerts sold out on subscription tickets from earlier in the decade. The realities of a more selective audience and increasing competition in the market created challenges and shrinking attendance. Marketing budgets hadn’t completely been shifted to address the new market realities.

As we dealt with those issues, we wanted to make sure that our strategy was on the right course, and we always felt strongly that we had to ground ourselves in sound data to help us analyse and diagnose a situation before following a path or an assumption that might be misleading.

One of those assumptions that was being propagated in the news media and even from some within our own organisation, was that Classical Music was not creating any new audiences and we were faced with the ultimate demise of an ageing base. By challenging that meme with real data from multiple years, we actually showed that each year, over 40% of our audiences were new to us. It turned out that popular programming (Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, etc.) in our core product was our best new audience driver.

Armed with that data, we continued down a different path. We were able to study those new households and found out that 90% of them were not returning for a second time. Add that to the math that it cost four times as much to bring in a new audience member as it did to retain one and we had created the seeds for the beginning of our strategy to build lifelong patron relationships.

We partnered with other orchestras, and found that our collective research pointed to the same thing. We didn’t have a new audience issue, we had a retention issue. The collaborative research was extremely powerful, arming us with even more data to feed into important strategies to bring people back into our hall. If we could get one of those first-time buyers to come one more time within twelve months of their first purchase, their likelihood to return for a third time doubled.

My colleagues from the other orchestras and I continued our relationship exploration and found direct correlations between the relationship paths we were rolling out for our audiences and the impact it has on long-term contributions and philanthropic support of our institutions.

By the time I left to join the Tessitura Network staff this year, the CSO had experienced five straight years of subscription renewal rates of over 90%. That, and a well-defined new audience development strategy helped us grow ticket sales and established the CSO as having the largest subscription base of any orchestra in the United States. Given that there is an extremely high correlation between a subscriber or multi-buyer and a donor, the overall institutional strategy took shape and helped us grow total donors over a five-year span, correcting a downward trajectory that had been going on for years.

This is why I was excited to see the theme of this year’s AMA conference, On a Mission to Matter, and building meaningful and lasting relationships with our audiences. I have seen the impact that a strategic focus on audience relationships can have on arts organisations, and have been deeply involved in it. At the heart of my experiences are core principles of the Tessitura Network, which includes the power of a unified platform to understand the holistic relationship you have with the people coming through your doors. Additionally, having access to robust data analysis and marketing tools that can enable you to build more meaningful relationships with those audiences are critical components to your own audience development strategy today and for the future. In the end, that is what sustains our art forms and allows them to continue to play an important role in the culture of our communities.

I hope you can join me for Breakfast at the AMA conference on Wednesday 13th July, when I will share more detail around my experiences while I was at the CSO, as well others from the Tessitura Network. I will be joined by Becky Loftus (Head of Audience Insight, Royal Shakespeare Company) to share ongoing work she has been leading to more deeply understand the interest of their audiences.

Don’t forget to check out the Tessitura Lounge in the exhibition area at this year’s AMA conference.

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