This week the first of a number of our clients (92nd Street Y in New York) are going live with an app we’ve developed to capture and integrate qualitative factors into individual box office records (including their Culture Segment). The second will be The Place here in the UK. It’s really satisfying to see 18 months’ work come to fruition. But more than that, I’m excited about how it will help them understand and develop meaningful relationships with audiences.
For 18 years I worked in marketing, mostly in performing arts. I began in the days when our box offices used to basically sell raffle tickets for concerts, put the cash in a box and write it down in a book. For those who don’t go back this far, I’m not joking.
I remember in technicolour my first computerised box office system.
I’d been banging on about the need for it for an age, so when it finally arrived, I was delirious, and agreed to shut up for the rest of my life. After all, all the information we needed was now there, at the push of a button.
Previously we’d had to rely on people scanning leaflet racks and reading listings in the local paper to find out about our shows, which was at best hit and miss. It sounds unbelievably basic now, but simply having at our fingertips details of people who’d previously booked, so we could contact them to see if they wanted more, was huge.
On 23 April, over 800 arts and cultural professionals joined us to celebrate the launch of CultureHive, a new website to discover and share best practice in cultural marketing. Developed in partnership with The Audience Agency and supported by Arts Council England, the site gives you access to free content and tools on good practice in arts marketing and audience development.
You can watch the intro video below – we’ll be posting a video of the keynotes and discussion from the launch event shortly, too.
CultureHive is now live, and packed with over 600 resources – and we’ll be adding more all the time. Don’t forget you can also submit your own resources and help this hub of sector knowledge to grow. We’ll be developing the site further over the coming years, so if you have any feedback or questions, please let us know by email or on Twitter.
In this special two-part blog post from two creative digital agencies, Sarah Morris, Marketing Manager at Sequence, makes the case for arts organisations to outsource their social media management, while Tom Beardshaw, Partner at Native HQ, says organisations can only retain their voice by keeping social media in-house.
Why consider outsourcing your organisation’s social media management?
When you want to grow or when social media is eating up too much time: The size of your arts organisation is a key factor when considering your online strategy and whether you want to keep online communications internal or external. If you have a large company with many strands to your digital strategy, it may well need a number of people on the campaign at specific, busy times – for example, during the launch of a new show or after a big announcement. Alternatively, keeping up with the constant distraction of having to check all your social media platforms and responding in a timely way can be particularly difficult for a small team who are already maxed-out with work.
When you need to formalise the process: This brings us to the major drawback with regards to keeping social media in house. It’s on a par with your own website. Client and essential production work takes precedence every time over spending time representing yourself online. Social media gets relegated to the bottom of the pile for too long; it gets neglected. If you commit to a contract with external support providers, it raises the level of respect for the task. You are also committing to providing the credentials they need to do the job properly and on time – otherwise it’s your own money you’re wasting.
What price that ticket? Are we making sure we are advertising ticket prices to comply with UK law and codes of advertising practice?
The Theatrical Management Association has issued new guidance to its members in the UK on the advertising of ticket prices. Essentially, ticket prices when advertised must be inclusive of the booking fees and service charges imposed on the purchase. Advertising, in a common misunderstanding, extends to a venue or producer’s own print and posters, websites, social media and other distributed information and not just paid-for advertising.
The TMA has acted after the Ambassadors Theatre Group chain of theatres, the Old Vic in London and the Cheltenham Everyman Theatre were approached by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) following on many public complaints about imposed booking fees which cannot be avoided. There is considerable argument about the right way to present this, but Jonathan Brown of S.T.A.R. confirms: “If you advertise a ticket price, you have to be able to buy it for that price, somewhere.”
Reacting to a recent debate on Twitter, AMA vice chair and Director of Communications at The Place Tim Wood considers some barriers to arts marketers feeling empowered at work, and what can be done to overcome them.
Porl Cooper wants to know what the shit is wrong with me. He’s doubtless not the first to wonder this, and in fairness his question, posed in a tweet a couple of weeks ago, was not aimed at me directly, but at venues – like mine – that had yet to let their patrons know about the My Theatre Matters campaign, and specifically at people – like me – who do the marketing for these venues.
Too many individuals and not nearly enough VENUES endorsing #mytheatrematters. WHAT THE SHIT IS WRONG WITH YOU?????!!!
Now I could blow this off. It’s only Twitter, where we all know haters gonna hate. When someone I don’t know instinctively dislikes me, I tend to think – as has been said of predisposed antipathy towards some politicians – that they have saved themselves some time. But Porl Cooper is a colleague in my industry, liked and respected by people I like and respect. So maybe it is worthwhile to spend just a moment examining what, indeed, is the shit wrong with me.