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Six quotes that captured our imagination at Digital Marketing Bootcamp for the Arts

Highlights from the two-day virtual event that brought together digital marketers from the arts and cultural sector


Read/View Time3 min

We at Tessitura were proud to be a sponsor

of Capacity Interactive’s Digital Marketing Boot Camp for the Arts, which brought together digital marketers from arts and cultural organizations across the globe. The two-day virtual event was packed with engaging content and dynamic presenters. Here are six quotes that resonated with us.

“Organizations are people, not constructs.”
— Ruth Howard

Ruth Howard, founder and curator of MoBBallet.org (Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet), shared valuable insights in the session Navigating Social Media Criticism, Negotiating Power Dynamics, and Other Modern Marketing Challenges. Ruth advised how organizations can respond thoughtfully to social media criticism in these intense times. She encouraged us to take a more personal approach and speak to our audiences in real ways, explaining that showing vulnerability amid uncertainty demonstrates authenticity and can win respect. We are at a time when people expect to hear the real ‘us.’

“This was an opportunity to make sure we were changing the behavior of our audience in a positive way.”
— Kristie Swink Benson

High Museum of Art’s Director of Communications, Kristie Swink Benson, talked about the museum’s pivot to advance ticketing in How Did You Pivot and What Did You Learn?. Prior to the pandemic, advance online ticket buyers had totaled just 11%, with the balance being walk-ups. This ratio resulted in very little customer data, since the priority among the guest relations team was to make the entry smooth and as fast as possible.

Screenshot of a pie chart, 'High Museum Ticket Buyer Behavior — COVID' showing 99% online buyers and 1% walk-up buyers. On the right, three webcams.

Now that guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance, 99% of tickets are pre-purchased online. That means the High Museum now has data for all those visitors, held in their Tessitura database, which in turn is helping to fuel more effective marketing.

“When you are in a crisis, you just have to communicate constantly. And you have to constantly ask for feedback because you think you’re communicating one thing and somebody might be hearing it a different way.”
— Terri Lee Freeman

Terri Lee Freeman, President of the National Civil Rights Museum, spoke with incredible honesty in the powerful Leading Through Chaotic Times session. She and her fellow panelists shared what they have learned about leadership over this turbulent year. 

Screenshot showing five tiled webcams of women facing forward, each seen from the shoulders up.

“It was important to share messaging that came from a place of abundance and community, not of scarcity.”
— Jen Keavy

In Social Media Marketing During the New Abnormal, Jen Keavy, Director of Marketing for the Minnesota Orchestra, talked about the importance of revisiting your organization’s mission. She shared that the pandemic has enforced that the orchestra’s values and culture have helped position them well for this moment — as challenging a moment as it may be.

“Accessibility is not a checklist. Access is a conversation. Access is a culture. Access is a capacity that exists within all of us.”
— Laurel Lawson

More than 20% of our audiences have disabilities, said choreographer, dancer, and engineer Laurel Lawson from Kinetic Light, a disability arts ensemble. Laurel encouraged all of us to go beyond compliance and build relationships with audiences, artists, and our teams, starting with the simple principles of equity and hospitality. If we aren’t creating our art with an accessible mindset, she asserted, we aren’t making the best art that we can. 

The video footage she shared of transcribed dance performances enforced her statement that “dance does not have to be a solely visual art.” And we were inspired by her encouragement: “Transformation is hard. Access doesn’t have to be.”

“Providing a sense of calm and approaching our community with empathy have been really important.”
— Dana Allen-Greil

When the pandemic hit, the Monterey Bay Aquarium team were able to draw on an existing culture of care. In the closing session, How Did You Pivot and What Did You Learn?, Dana Allen-Greil, Director of Digital Strategy at the Aquarium, shared examples of successful fundraising efforts. Adding small asks to existing content, such as live streams, was highly effective. Incorporating these asks into their seven-week email series on animal habitats raised nearly $30,000.

Screenshot showing a jellyfish tank with the words 'Morning MeditOcean with the Sea Nettles' overlaid. On the right, three webcams.

Soothing images of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Jelly Cam were perfect for rounding off an inspiring and information-filled two days. We were grateful for the opportunity to hear about the courage, innovation and compassion of our arts and cultural community during these uncertain times.

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Tessitura Network, creator of the leading unified CRM system that enables unparalleled targeting and insight capabilities for arts and cultural organizations, was proud to sponsor 2020 DMBC4A. If your organization is beginning to delve into producing online content, read our Seven Tips for Delivering Virtual Experiences


Top photo: Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash.

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