Articles Archives - Group of Minds Arts Marketing + Technology Consultants

Thoughts on the Explorer Edition of Google Glass and the arts

glasssmall

City Lights’ marketing director, Rebecca Wallace, trying out Google Glass


After years of controversy and slow-burn marketing, Google has retired the Explorer Edition of Google Glass. In their blog post, they mention that they are going to focus instead on “building for the future” and that there will be future versions of Glass. The media has jumped on this and many sources are saying, “Google Glass is dead.” A few passionate tech folks at arts organizations are sighing heavily, because it feels like a promising avenue for engagement has vaporized. The good news is that wearables as a sector are going to continue to explode, and that poses some interesting possibilities for the arts.

There was a lot of excitement about Glass and its potential use in the arts. I “won” my access to Glass by tweeting that I wanted to use Glass to show opera supertitles.†After I received Glass and had worked with it a bit, I decided not to pursue this, but I was  Read more

Experiments in surveying arts audiences via tablets

Ron Evans, Principal of Group of Minds, talks about his experiments with surveying arts audiences via tablets†and puts the call out for arts organizations interested in partnering on additional experimentation in unique spaces.

Finally! A screen the executive director wants to see in the audience! With prices for tablets†declining and acceptance of their use increasing, I wondered how they would hold up as survey tools for arts organizations. I’m liking the results! Tablets are not a good fit for all situations, but are a great fit for some.

To get rolling, I knew I would be going with Android-based tablets, as iPads are too expensive for this situation. One of my awesome clients who is always up for a good experiment is The Western Stage, and they were game to try tablets, so I purchased a small fleet and got to outfitting. After a lot of trial and error with survey software, connectivity, and tablet functionalities, I was able to get a system running that I thought would be pretty easy for patrons to use. Here is a shot of one of the tablets in action.

[Image: surveying arts audiences via tablets]

surveying arts audiences via tablets

Traditionally, I’ve run in-venue surveys via paper and pencil, left on randomly selected seats. That’s how I was taught, and it is  Read more

Arts marketing micro-experiments: testing response to an “audio actor bio”

I often tell arts groups that “every marketing thing you do should be some sort of experiment.” If you’re sending out an email, do an A/B test of subject lines to find out what works better. Study what time of day your Twitter posts get the most response. Test if patrons who are given details about your yummy concession†items during a curtain speech end up buying more concession items at intermission than patrons who do not hear the description. These are not giant experiments with far-reaching†implications. They are not big enough to cause red tape at your organization. But they can yield results that can allow you to improve your tactics.

I call these small tests “micro-experiments.”

Micro-experiments allow you to learn from your actions. Even a small†statistically†significant result will allow you to adapt your marketing,†fundraising or “whatevering” behavior to use the new knowledge. And not only are micro-experiments useful to your marketing efforts, they are just plain fun. Research doesn’t have to be difficult — you can do it as part of your everyday activities.

I recently facilitated a micro-experiment†for The Tabard Theatre Company in San Jose, CA. Tabard has received a grant from the city of San Jose’s Office of Cultural Affairs to experiment with new audience engagement techniques, and specifically to explore new ways of communicating the information found in the paper program.

You have all held a paper program and know what information it contains — information on the scenes in the play, an explanation from the director about the show, descriptions of the time period, ads from local sponsors, actor and tech bios, etc. There are pluses and minuses to paper programs. Some people like to take the program home as a keepsake. Others throw it on the floor and waste the paper. Our main question during this process is “In what additional ways can the information that is contained in the paper program be communicated to the patron?”

 Read more

What arts and cultural groups can learn from Five Guys

I’m a strong believer that arts and cultural organizations should explore the practices of for-profit companies, and assimilate what works. Take the popular burger chain Five Guys. I heard about Five Guys launching in my city from my friends. “You have to try the burger… awesome…” they said. I have tried it, and it is a great burger experience. I also noticed interesting consumer psychology at play, and began to think about how these ideas could be adapted to arts and cultural organizations.

 Read more

Arts Patrons: Mobile Preferences | 2012 update to ongoing longitudinal study

What are arts patrons doing with their mobile devices? What are their feelings about mobile devices at arts and cultural events? What devices are they using, and what information do they want?

[Image: 2012 arts patrons: mobile preferences report cover image]

Download the 6-page report (PDF)

† † † In 2009, Arts Council Silicon Valley commissioned Group of Minds Arts Marketing + Technology Consultants to research the mobile preferences of arts patrons.†A sample of 45,000 patrons were contacted via email selected from the half-price ticket email lists of six regional online arts calendars in six U.S. cities. The goal of the research was to:

  • Discover current usage of mobile phones in relation to arts activities
  • Measure potential near-future usage
  • Explore expectations to prepare successful arts-related mobile channels

In September 2012, Group of Minds independently commissioned an update of the research, with a goal of measuring changes in mobile preferences over the previous three years, and will continue to update the research every three years moving forward. All six original cities and their respective half-price email lists participated in the 2012 update to the research. The same questions were used in the 2012 survey, although several answer options were updated for relevancy. The sample size and method of distribution were repeated. The analysis shows that arts patrons have made large gains of interest in and acceptance of mobile devices as preparatory, participatory, and logistical companions to the arts experience.

One recommendation is that arts organizations need to program different experiences based on different patron technology preferences. So, we’ve made the mobile preferences report available in two formats:

Special thanks to our partner researchers on this project:†Arts Council Silicon Valley, Jeff Trabucco, Josh Russell (San Jose); Matt Lehrman (Phoenix); Ann-Marie McKaskle, Marcy Hoen (Austin); Jennifer Schwartzenberg, Erin Hornsby (Nashville); John Mcinerney (Philadelphia); John Beck, Jennifer Falk (Boston).