New events now open for booking

AMA events bannerThe AMA takes its members on a journey to be the best that they can be, to raise more income, and to reach, engage and inspire more people, in deeper ways. Together, we drive a thriving arts and cultural sector.

Shaped by your needs and informed by the latest ‘hot topics’ in arts marketing, our programme is designed to instil fresh thinking and to help you excel professionally.

Our new events, running from April – July 2015, are now open for booking. You can view the brochure online here.

Digital Marketing Academy 2.0

Digital Marketing Academy

After the success of the first CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy we are now seeking 20 new Fellows to take part in the programme again.

Devising, testing, developing and sharing with the sector are key to the Academy, which in the first round saw the development of a new online platform bringing teachers and arts organisations together, extensive experiments on audience segmentation, and breakthroughs in the use of Google Analytics by just some of the participants, known as Fellows. Real experiments on real audiences in real arts organisations.

Steve Woodward from a New Direction said, “As a Fellow you feel challenged and empowered to try new things, explore and take risks in your practice within a positive and supportive environment. The outcome has been something tangible for my organisation, and a boost in confidence for me – I’ve met some interesting people through the process, and would recommend it to anyone with a passion for digital working in the arts and cultural sector.”

Fellows in the second round of the Digital Marketing Academy will be supported by eight international Mentors who are all digital experts:

  • Carolyn Royston, former Head of Digital at Imperial War Museums
  • Sara Devine, Manager of Audience Engagement and Interpretive Materials at the Brooklyn Museum
  • DK, social media expert and speaker
  • Ron Evans, consumer psychologist and principal consultant at Group of Minds
  • Katie Moffat, social media and digital engagement specialist
  • Daniel Rowles, CEO at TargetInternet
  • Tom Beardshaw, Founder of NativeHQ
  • Devon Smith, Director of Threespot.

Once again all learning will take place online – the Digital Marketing Academy is entirely virtual. The programme is open to practitioners working in England; you should apply if you are an enthusiastic driver of change working in a senior marketing position, interested in digital innovation and increasing and engaging audiences. Joint Fellowships are also available to CEOs or directors who want to work with a digital partner to develop marketing experiments within their organisation to drive change and innovation between the arts, technology and audiences.

Fellows are encouraged to trial and adopt good practice and achieve new ambitions and perspectives in their digital marketing through online workshops, exclusive Mentoring sessions and peer to peer learning.

Kealy Cozens, Creative Project Leader (Data) at Sound and Music said, “I think the Academy gave me a unique opportunity to take my project outside my organisation and share with other like-minded people as well as my, frankly amazing, Mentor!”

This opportunity is available to practitioners in England for only £100 per person; find out more information and apply here: 

Completed application forms should be returned to Verity Sanderson, Programme Producer at the Arts Marketing Association on by Friday 6 March, 5pm.

CultureHive best practice is managed by the Arts Marketing Association in partnership with The Audience Agency, part of Arts Council England’s Audience Focus programme, supported by Lottery funding.

Casting celebrities: does it pay off?

Caroline Flack on Strictly Come Dancing, BBC
Image: BBC

Niall Caldwell is Principal Lecturer, Lord Ashcroft International Business School at Anglia Ruskin University. This post is based on his research with brand consultant Kathryn Nicholson; it investigates the phenomenon of celebrity casting, and was originally published in the journal Arts and the Market by Emerald Group Publishing.

The practice of casting celebrities as a marketing tool to draw in bigger audiences has become endemic. With funding a key issue for the arts, some would argue that it draws in those who would not normally attend the theatre. Many critics however, argue that it is damaging the theatre as an art form.

So who is right? Setting aside the debates about high-versus-low culture and good-vs-bad taste, the use of celebrities as a business model for popular culture motivated our study into whether this celebrity strategy is sustainable in the long term.

There are real concerns within the industry about how to bring in bigger audiences. These concerns have led to increased spending by producers on casting actors with recognised names in the hope that they will excite greater interest and attendance, or raise the profile of a show. When Daniel Craig appeared with his wife, Rachel Weisz in Betrayal on Broadway, it broke all records, grossing over a million dollars for just six performances. But is this obsession with celebrity a potential blight on British theatre, running in parallel with the growing number of reality TV stars heading for the stage (think Caroline Flack, recent winner of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing)?

In our study, Star quality: celebrity casting in London West End theatres we surveyed both theatre production staff and audience members to find out what effect the casting of celebrities has within the theatre industry. Whilst professional staff ranked trustworthiness and expertise as equally important – interestingly, audience members ranked expertise as the overwhelmingly single most important attribute. But the one most striking finding to emerge from our results was that potential audience members see a significant difference between fame and celebrity.

When asked about the impact of celebrity casting on their intention to go to a show, the vast majority of respondents said it would depend on the celebrity. Theatre and film celebrities were far more likely to attract people to the theatre (with 86%) than celebrities from reality shows, such as ‘search-for-a-star’, the sports industry or those known for simply being in the media limelight. Katie Price, glamour model turned television personality for example, was significantly the most mentioned celebrity, but also received the highest number of ‘negative’ responses for any celebrity mentioned.

Demographically, younger audience members were more influenced by the presence of a celebrity, irrespective of their expertise in the theatre.  But across the age groups, the results of the survey clearly demonstrate that theatre-goers are far more likely to be attracted to the theatre by celebrities with theatrical expertise than those simply known on television or in the gossip columns.

So whilst our research contradicts the view that all celebrities, often with no formal theatrical experience, encourage people to attend the theatre who would not normally attend, we did find there to be a clear relationship between age and the potential effects of celebrity casting. With this in mind, marketers will be able to use the age-profile statistics alongside their productions’ target market age group to build a better picture of how effective a proposed celebrity cast member may be in bringing in audiences.

By learning from audiences about how they react to celebrities, we can try to make our theatre marketing strategies more successful. The professional background of a celebrity and the perceived expertise of the celebrity should be taken into account when deciding, first, whether or not to use celebrity casting at all within a theatre production and, second, which celebrity in particular to cast if this decision is taken.

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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