Notes from the AMA Digital Marketing Day

On Thursday I was at the Arts Marketing Association‘s Digital Marketing Day at Sadler’s Wells. I made a few notes.

Keynote: The Connected Network

Neil Perkin (Only Dead Fish) and Susan Halligan (former Marketing Director, New York Public Library)

Neil‘s talk set the scene for the day ahead, laying down a few broad themes. He produced an awful lot of case studies, mainly drawn from the world of multinational brands (Old Spice, VW Sao Paulo, Rainbow Warrior and so on). Amusingly, a slide presenting one of the more modest-looking case studies came with a note at the bottom saying it was achieved “on a slim budget of $100,000”.

He also gave an overview of the agile methodology, referred to the McKinsey report on How businesses are using Web 2.0 and name-checked, which I’d not come across before. He also discussed the concept of advertising fireworks and social bonfires.

Susan gave the sense of what it’s like for a small team working at a large institution. One of the first things she flagged up was the need for guidelines and policies to make staff aware of what they could and couldn’t do.

As Will Norris tweeted:

seems like first two speakers contradicting each other. One is all about plans, schedules etc, the other about being nimble

I don’t seem to have taken all that many notes from Susan’s talk, although I did note that they like using SocialFlow. I also thought it was interesting that they chose to work with Improv Everywhere on a small stunt – an organisation that brings a huge online following with them.

After that and a coffee (decaf – I’m still enforcing my arbitrary November caffeine ban) we split off into different seminars. I went to…

Seminar: Using Social and Digital Media to Reach and Engage Audiences

Kingsley Jayasekera (Sadler’s Wells), Jesse Ringham (Tate) and Sam Scott Wood (Artsadmin)

Kingsley was up first, talking about the way in which Sadler’s use video to sell tickets to their shows. He showed this video (NB possibly NSFW) as an example of the kind of thing that he has to sell. The point being that it can be tricky to write about some of the work they present so video is very important to them.

He talked about the different types of video content they produce, showed what happened when the previous video was uploaded to another user’s account, referred to YouTube as being good for international brand building and ended on a few takeaway points:

  • Comms should be the driver, not tech.
  • Make sure your content is fit for purpose
  • Share your content widely and keep it up on your site afterwards
  • Be prepared to hold on loosely (or even let go sometimes)
  • Make video central to your social media strategy

He was also cynical about mobile applications, saying that to be worthwhile they need to serve a useful function, ring-fence content or be a source of regularly updated content.

Tate’s social media strategy is online for all to see, but Jesse was also very generous in showing how that strategy is put into effect on a daily basis using Google Analytics, Hootsuite Pro, weekly planning meetings and a trusty excel spreadsheet.

He  talked about content planning to ensure a spread of tone and subject matter as well as how they go about evaluating which content strands work best. He described the latter activity as ‘essential’.

Sam came from the perspective of working with artists and organisations with more limited resources and talked openly about what had and hadn’t worked on a couple of campaigns that they’d run. There was the fickleness of UGC and the success of seeking out bloggers in areas other than the arts – in one case, food bloggers. Her tips were to:

  • Think about content
  • Plan and schedule
  • Choose your focus

Keynote: The Future is Mobile

Allegra Burnette (Creative Director of Digital Media at MoMA)

MoMA has 2.8m visitors a year with 21.7m website visitors and a relatively small crossover between the two. There’s also a shedload more who interact via social media. Their approach used to be all about supporting the museum with a website, but there’s now an extent to which they want to serve an online audience, irrespective of whether they come to the building.

To some extent, this reminded me of Bill Thompson’s vision of the future at OpenCulture where he described “an ace dataset with a nice museum attached”.

Allegra is based in MoMA’s IT team and works with comms, marketing and other departments – she said it’s a benefit not to be based within just one of those other departments.

She walked through some of the online functionality that they have in place and some of the campaigns that they’ve run. These included audio tours (which have moved from devices handed out to visitors to content visitors can download to their own devices), iPhone apps, an iPad app (with feline promotional vid) and a books app. There was also Talk To Me and I Went to MoMA and…

Rachel Coldicutt pointed out that MoMA’s underlying foundation is very sensible. Allegra showed this in a strategy slide near the end of her talk – they have reasonably centralised content that can then be pushed to a variety of platforms, no matter what devices, applications might come along.

After her talk (and another break) we went back into seminars. I’d picked the Keynote in conversation session, where there were some good questions asked and answers given. I’ve no notes from that, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.


As I always conclude with these things, the real value is in meeting people during the breaks and over lunch, so hello to the people I met and thanks for the good conversations. Thanks also to the AMA for organising the event and to Sadler’s Wells (the hosts) and Spektrix (the sponsors).


Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.

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