Podcast: Technology’s Role in Inclusivity and Accessibility In The Arts

Podcast: Technology’s Role in Inclusivity and Accessibility In The Arts

Art should be for everyone. For this week's Podcast Series, Danielle Linzer of The Andy Warhol Museum joins AMT Lab to discuss the importance of inclusion in the arts, and what technology can do to aid in inclusive programming's implementation, outreach and marketing efforts.

What's On Your Phone, Dana Casto?

Dana Casto is the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music. Dana is primarily responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of a comprehensive program in public relations for the School of Music, which presents more than 300 concerts, recitals, special events and programs annually with numerous collaborations and partnerships in the Pittsburgh arts community. He recently talked to AMT Lab Contributor Sophia Hubeny about his favorite apps.

Sophia Hubeny: What are the apps do you use everyday and why do you like them?

Dana Casto: Beyond the usual Mail, iMessage, and Phone apps on iOS, I would be completely lost in my professional life without Asana for task management, 1Password for password management, and Evernote for note taking and brain-dumping ideas. I also rely heavily on Hootsuite for big-picture social media management for the School and Eventbrite Neon for checking in on ticket sales for our events. In my personal life, I love Flipboard, Feedly, and Pocket for keeping up with news, Google Maps for getting where I need to go, and Sunrise for my calendars (Sunrise was recently purchased by Microsoft and is being absorbed in to their Outlook iOS app - its great as Sunrise lets you share times on your calendar for easy scheduling with someone).

SH: Is there an app that has surprised you with its usefulness?

DC: I manage a team of five grad students in the School of Music who are all responsible for various day-to-day marketing activities. Asana has been a game-changer for us in that we all know what we are all working on at any given time and can get status updates. No more emails back and forth or folks not being in the loop. It’s all managed within Asana.

SH: Is there an app you think developers should be working on?

DC: I think it would be cool to have an augmented reality app for live music performances. Something that would show info about the ensemble, music being performed, or other fun facts. Kinda like a live version of VH1’s Popup Video but in real time.

SH: If you could recommend one app to arts managers, what would it be? 

DC: So much of my work is done via email and online. Once I made the switch from not using email as a task manager and back to a communication device, my productivity went way up. For me and my team, Asana met my needs in making sure nothing was missed and we stayed on task. If you’re an arts manager that collaborates on projects with your colleagues, Asana is worth checking out.


Interview with Ceci Dadisman: Online Marketing and Audience Engagment

Ceci Dadisman, Palm Beach Opera's Director of PR and Marketing, sat down with AMTLab to talk about her work and how she utilizes a variety of digital platforms to market more effectively and increase audience engagement. She also offered numerous tips about how arts organizations can get started in the world of new media.

The Age of Big Data

The Age of Big Data

Founder and CEO of TRG Arts, Rick Lester recently visited Carnegie Mellon University to discuss the implications of "big data" on arts organizations across the country. Afterward Rick sat down with Technology in the Arts to share insights on current trends in patron behavior, suggestions for new or under-resourced ventures, and desired skills for emerging arts managers. Listen in on our conversation through SoundCloud (above).

Interview with Terre Jones, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

Interview with Terre Jones, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

Last week, as part of the Master of Arts Management Speaker series, students had the unbelievable opportunity to listen to a talk on leadership by Terre Jones, president and CEO of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. Terre sat down with me afterwords to discuss the importance of technology in the work done by Wolf Trap.

9 Helpful Tips to Supercharge Your Digital Marketing: A free webinar for arts marketers!

Increasing online engagement, smarter budgeting for websites, banner ads that sell, and higher return rates on fundraising appeals; if any of the above caught your eye, you must be a digital marketer!  And Technology in the Arts invites you to participate in a free webinar that will help you achieve these targets and enable your organization to Supercharge Its Digital Marketing! The webinar, which will take place on the 7th of August (1PM EST/10AM PST), is being held in partnership with Capacity Interactive, Opera America, The League of Resident Theatres, Dance NYC, and Technology in the Arts!  It will be lead by Erik Gensler, the president of the digital marketing consulting firm, Capacity Interactive. In lieu of the upcoming webinar, we decided to ask Erik a series of questions pertaining to his views around digital marketing in the arts.

Having worked in this field for many years, what is your opinion on the general state of digital marketing in the arts?

I think organizations are evolving at different paces. Some organizations made a commitment to embrace digital marketing years ago and are now reaping the rewards.  I find that the most successful organizations have senior leaders that allocated resources for staffing and budgets to focus on their website, embraced social media, and used digital media.  Other organizations are still operating like it is 1995. Generally, larger organizations are faced with lesser difficulty when it comes to digital marketing while smaller organizations may rely on a junior staff person doing the best they can without the resources or support from senior management.

Overall, I do think that most people in the industry know that embracing digital marketing is important. It is hard to miss all of the reports about the growth of digital ad spending and how brands and organizations are thriving on social media. But success in digital marketing requires time, financial and personnel resources, and hiring people with the right skills.

Are arts organizations keeping apace with the technologies and tools out there?

I never advise organizations to chase the latest technologies because we've seen so many trends come and go. Let the for-profit world invest and experiment and once there is a proven ROI and user base and then consider jumping in if you think it is the right fit for your organization.  First, focus on the fundamentals like your website, Facebook, and banner advertising.  Then, focus on tools that have proven benefits rather than chasing "the latest technologies." Finally, focus your time where the majority of your audience or potential audience is and pay much less attention to the margins.

We are pretty sure that not all marketing campaigns are created equal. So are there any arts organizations that you think are doing an excellent job with their digital marketing?

I am impressed by many museums that were very bullish about embracing social media.  The Brooklyn Museum for one is very innovative and forward thinking. They've had dedicated staff to focus on the digital arena for years!   A few years ago Carnegie Hall made a big investment in their digital efforts and we are seeing some really great results like their mobile apps, a new website rich with content, and clever social campaigns.  I am very proud of our work with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, particularly on Facebook where they have grown a really strong and engaged community.

Some organizations, such as the MOMA, publish interactive content primarily on their website while others seem to rely more on Facebook or Twitter (ignoring their website in turn). What role does an organization's website play in a world so keen on social media?

I don't think the question is one versus the other but rather, both are important.  In the early days of social media, we thought it was important to drive users from the social network back to your website.  But now users can have a meaningful experience with an organization on its Facebook page or YouTube channel. It's also more likely that they access content through Facebook or YouTube as opposed to a website, so sharing compelling content on these mediums is crucial.

This isn't to say the content shouldn't also be on the website.  In fact, the website is often the first place users go to have an experience with an organization digitally. So an organization needs to express its identity and mission on the site, and hopefully, entice its users into a relationship.  Finally, it’s important to note that the website is what will persist, not matter what the latest social media fad may be.

With so many content driven social platforms, it can be difficult for an organization to retain interest and engagement. Would some organizations be better off focusing on their website or is a Facebook/Twitter/YouTube presence absolutely necessary?

I think if you have the content it would be a missed opportunity not to share it across these channels.  This does mean more work for the marketing staff but ultimately, the potential reward can outweigh the effort. Organizations can also use syndication tools that help distribute content across platforms.

While online avenues to fundraising are becoming more prevalent, organizations still cite direct mailing campaigns as most effective in terms of response rate. Do you think that crowdfunding and reaching out through social media / email will eventually render mailing campaigns obsolete?

As more and more older people go online and generations that grew up using email and social media mature, there is no doubt that digital fundraising will wax as direct mail wanes.  We are certainly not at a place where I would advise organizations to fully abandon direct mail. One big benefit of direct mail is that it doesn't require opting-in so that makes it advantageous for acquisition. Emailing someone without permission is spamming. Direct mail doesn't have that limitation and I think very few arts organization are completely comfortable with online fundraising so, as of now, an education gap does exist.

In a world of tablets and smartphones, mobile marketing is one to watch for! But what are some of the opportunities and challenges unique to this medium?

Across our clients' sites we are seeing up to 30% of traffic on mobile and tablets. The first thing organizations need to do is create a mobile friendly site or build their website using responsive design so the content renders properly on all devices.  One opportunity that I see is in online advertising.  Since the mobile ad space is less crowded, CPMs for pay-per-click on mobile are lower than desktops and the competition for keywords is much lower. Plus if you have a site enabled for mobile you can add calling your box office as a direct call-to-action and track these calls.

The nature of digital marketing is constantly changing, what are some of the innovations that you find particularly interesting?

What I love about digital marketing is that almost everything is measurable. I think we've come a long way when it comes to measurement and attribution modeling (attributing conversion credit to marketing channels).  Now the standard for most platforms is to measure click-through and view-through conversions in advertising.  This is quite useful in helping marketers understand what is working and then optimizing efforts.

I really like the new Google Analytics multi-channel funnel reports which let you see all the visits and sources that a user took before the purchase. I also think Facebook has made some good innovations in their Insights and Domain Insights. Yet they still have some way to go in terms of providing one single interface where you can see how your advertising, organic efforts, and domain insights are performing together. Right now you have to search through three separate areas and download into Excel to get any customized data.

Even so, I am excited for the innovations coming around measurement and analytics!

Technology in Art and Arts Organizations: Interview with Fifth House Ensemble

Integrating technology, on any level, can be daunting for arts organizations. There are valid trepidations concerning cost and time commitments, and generally a change resistance culture. You won’t find that attitude with Melissa Snoza and the staff of Fifth House Ensemble.