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Experimenting with Digital Audience Development

Using lean or agile techniques means adopting new ways of working based on experimentation, rapid iteration and continual testing that involves audiences and users at every stage of the process. For arts and cultural organisations this can be a daunting prospect, seemingly filled with risks – wasting precious time, making embarrassing mistakes, over spending the already tight budget…

However, we at Indigo encourage clients to embrace agile because, for digital projects in particular, it is the best way to minimise all those risks.

But don’t take our word for it – there is plenty of evidence in favour of lean approaches to digital audience development in the arts and cultural sector provided by CultureHive’s Digital Marketing Academy (DMA).

The DMA is a central point for knowledge exchange within the cultural sector — Fellows share their learning with each other and across the sector. This promotes an experimental, evidence based approach to digital marketing. The DMA itself was developed through a ‘lean’ methodology (and hence low cost). It is operated entirely online and involves senior arts marketers and CEOs from across the UK. The annual reports are a goldmine of interesting experimental case studies that provide inspiration and guidance on what worked, what didn’t and what is possible with digital audience development. Interesting experiments include:

  • Development of a prototype platform that connects schools with arts organisations.
  • Creation of a fun, game-like quiz to gather qualitative audience insight and aid in segmentation
  • An experimental approach to increasing online audiences through live streaming and ‘added value’ digital packages

The DMA offers Fellows a Mentor to support them to develop and implement experimental ideas. It’s interesting to reflect that we at Indigo fulfil a similar role with many clients, and enable them to take risks, experiment and stretch the boundaries of what’s possible with digital. From the creation of a transmedia visitor experience, to a virtual exhibition and an e-learning platform for playwrights, Indigo is continually supporting arts and cultural organisations to experiment and succeed with agile approaches to digital.

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