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Our thoughts on marketing, technology, and behavioral psychology.

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

December 11, 2012 |

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?

      In 2009, Arts Council Silicon … Read More

Thoughts on the psychology of social media

July 2, 2012 |

Institutions don’t talk, passionate people who work there do.

By Ron Evans There is a lot of content on the web on “how to create stronger social media connections.” A simple Google or Bing search will show a ton of articles (when I checked for that search term, Google actually had 129 million results it thought relevant — even if it is only 1% correct, that’s a lot of articles!). I know that a lot of arts organizations struggle with best practices for social media. In preparation for my upcoming webinar with the National Arts marketing Project on July 10 on the psychology of social media, I thought it might be useful to get away from all of the technical aspects of using social media, and talk about the human side. The interaction side. The “what happens in the brain” side.

Why do people “like” you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter?

Do you know the answer? They like you or follow you for a variety of very human reasons: Read More

You’ve got the new arts technology, make sure you have the behavior change

February 17, 2012 |

As an arts marketing and technology guy, I get asked about tech a lot. I help people choose online ticketing systems, new website content management systems, email marketing software — if it is online technology, I’ve probably helped an arts group choose and implement it. When I first started consulting, I thought my job would be to help people make the right choices, and then be on my way. But I’ve found over the years that this is only half of what’s needed to implement new technology.

Changing Technology means Changing Behavior

Say you’ve got a brand-new ticketing system. It can do all the things your old system could never do. You get it installed, and you get training from the company on how to use it. You’ve received a great start! But where I see staff at organizations fall short is when they apply their old behaviors to the new system, and don’t create new behaviors. The motivation and follow-through on behavior modification aren’t there.
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Strategy discovery: use Apple’s Siri to help patrons find your arts organization via mobile voice search

December 8, 2011 |

I recently got the new iPhone 4S. One of the most interesting features of the new iPhone 4S is “Siri,” the phone’s digital assistant. Siri is pretty amazing, and I feel that she represents the “next big thing” in how people soon will find information about your arts and cultural organization. 

If you’re not familiar with the concept of Siri, watch the short demo video from Apple:


So, it’s clear that Siri is already pretty darn good at scheduling your appointments, texting people via voice, reminding you of tasks you need to do, and pulling up generic web information. On top of that, she’s just plain fun to talk to. The fact that I refer to her as “she” should say a lot about how much personality she has. Just ask her a knock knock joke.

All of this got me thinking: although Siri is very new (and officially still in “beta” by Apple), what capabilities does she already have for helping a patron connect with arts and culture?

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Siri, what’s playing at the San Francisco Symphony tonight?

December 5, 2011 |

Siri, what’s playing at the San Francisco Symphony tonight?

You’ve come to the right place, Siri user!

Tonight at the Symphony:

Katharine Hanrahan Open Rehearsal: Esa-Pekka Salonen and Leila Josefowicz

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 10:00am Davies Symphony Hall $22 to $39 … Read More

How to hold a (successful) “tweet seats” event in the theater

August 26, 2011 |

Whether you are a firm believer, casually interested, or crazy-never-in-my-theater against, “Tweet Seats,” are being experimented with at venues across the world. The segmentation of specific seats in a venue to be used by people with their smartphones *during* performance … Read More

My picks for the top 50 tweets of the Americans for the Arts (AFTA) 2011 Conference

June 24, 2011 |

I wasn’t able to attend the Americans for the Arts (AFTA) conference this year, but I did get to participate in the next best thing: following the conversation on Twitter. Lots of great discussion and opinions. But unless you were … Read More

Arts discount-ticketing strategies: what to avoid and why — part 2

May 7, 2011 |
[ Image: Discount arts ticketing ]

This isn't really a live ad, just a screenshot for decoration. Had you going there for a second!

In my last post, I spent some time talking about advance sales and discount ticketing strategies, as well as how it’s too easy to train the patron to wait for a better deal if you offer large discounts late in the game. I mentioned that “the right thing to do here is create a marketing strategy that offers the most discount to people who give up the most convenience.” It’s enticing and effective to trade one thing for another (in this case, giving up convenience to get a discount back). I think we’ll see this idea of “trading something for something else” pop up again later on.

I also began to talk about discount ticketing, below, we’ll cover group-based buying programs (the half-price ticket program being an old favorite, and new group-purchase sites such as Groupon.com and LivingSocial that have recently come on the scene).

Half-price theatre tickets: deep discount or exposure to new opportunities?

Half-price tickets are hot. From the TKTS booth in New York City, to your local arts service organization with a half-price ticket list, the idea of “half-price tickets” activates the brain in an exciting way. First, there is the idea of the huge discount — similar to what you might feel when you say a $200 awesome leather jacket marked down to $100. A steal, right? Then there is the idea that they are limited (and we recommend limiting them) — get them while they’re hot, as they won’t be around long. Two powerful incentives to buy those tickets right now!

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Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance releases Groupofminds mobile app vendor selection research

April 8, 2011 |

In the summer of 2010, The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance commissioned Groupofminds to research mobile app development firms in an effort to identify mobile app vendors making significant strides in apps for arts and culture. Now that the research is … Read More

Arts discount-ticketing strategies: what to avoid and why — part 1

February 21, 2011 |

Pricing and marketing arts event tickets isn’t easy. When faced with the need to “put butts in seats” it can be tempting to do whatever it takes. In this article, I hope to give you some explanations on why some discounting strategies would be a better choice than others, and help you avoid some short-term successes that could lead to long-term problems. Picture this. You’re a big supporter of a large cultural music venue, so when you receive an email from the institution that tickets have gone on sale for an upcoming concert, you pick up the phone and buy your tickets (or better yet, buy online). You get your confirmation that you paid the listed price, and since the concert isn’t until a month from now, you go about your business. Three weeks later, you get an email from the same organization, offering two-for-one tickets for everyone who buys a ticket going forward. But only for people who haven’t bought yet. Wait a minute. You bought your tickets early, and now you can’t get the deal. You call the organization, and they tell you this offer is only for people who haven’t bought tickets yet. You’re angry, and understandably so. You think to yourself, “I could really make a scene here and demand that I be given the same offer,” but you probably don’t act on that idea. Instead, you smolder about it and swear to yourself that you’ll never be caught in THAT situation again. Next time, you’ll wait until you get the offer before buying anything. Read More