Last Build Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:00:53 +0000
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:00:53 +0000
I’ve just returned from the annual Salesforce.com “Dreamforce” conference, an annual gathering of some 170,000 in San Francisco. We were well represented with 5 of our staff presenting at various points during the 4 day event.
My takeaway from this mega-event is a set of letters, which to me represent the future of technology and which I’ll be writing about more in the coming months and years. Here’s the list, along with a quick definition and some off-the-cuff examples of why I think these new technologies will matter to arts organizations.
AI: Artificial Intelligence – This is the hottest topic in tech right now, and it’s all about the potential of technology to forecast (based on huge datasets and algorithms and “machine learning”) something that will happen in the future or might happen. For marketers, AI promises to give better guidance on when email campaigns should go out and/or in what cadence. Rather than our having to guess what will work best, AI tools will do a better job than we can.
VR: Virtual Reality – I’ve now had a dozen demos on various consumer VR headsets and without a doubt, this is the next biggest improvement in experiential entertainment and learning through technology. I recently took a five-minute “tour” to a glacier in Alaska, complete with sound effects and a seat that shook, mimicking the engine of the boat I was riding on. It was so immersive and realistic that my interest in going to Alaska is now significantly more, based on those five minutes. Imagine if there were to be a VR experience of sitting inside an orchestra as the orchestra plays?
iOT: Internet of Things – This is a broad catchphrase for when hardware is connected to the internet. There are a few widely distributed examples of this already. Google’s “Nest” thermometer, for example, is connected to a database that through technology figures out when you’re at home and subsequently when the heat should be turned up or down. The uses of this will become more apparent over the next few years as Google, Apple, and others work to infuse the home with IOT devices. I’m ...
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:00:49 +0000
Today’s guest blog post is written by Natalie Sullivan, Assistant Marketing Manager, Content and Social Media, Patron Technology.
I am a millennial who is very ingrained in the arts. Not a week goes by where I don’t attend some sort of live performance. That said, there is one large subset of the performing arts world that I have found really hard to get into: classical music. Between the “stuffy” stigma and generally high (for me) ticket prices when I could go to a hip comedy show or off-Broadway musical for less than half the price, I have just not been enticed to go! The closest I have come to purchasing a ticket for a classical music concert since moving to New York four years ago is paying for “Mozart in the Jungle” on Amazon.
But, this all might change because of an article I stumbled upon this past weekend entitled, Uber, But For Millennials Who Want Orchestras in Their Living Rooms from Wired. The article focuses on an app called Groupmuse, which connects classical musicians with local audiences to put on concert house parties. You can either sign up to host one of these events, or type in your zip code and find someone who’s hosting a public event near you that still has spaces left – and the best part, it’s basically free. There are no fees to host or attend, all that the company asks is that you pass around a “donation” bucket for the musicians at the end of the concert (they suggests $10 per person).
The whole idea behind the app is to expose a new kind of audience to classical music (on their terms), while giving the musicians, who are either professionals or conservatory students vetted by an internal team, performance opportunities. So this all sounds great, but how does it affect your organization? Well, according to the article:
…musicians aren’t the only ones benefiting. Groupmuse audiences offer a demographic different from the usual Lincoln Center crowd: 70 percent of “musers” were born in the 1980s and ’90s. That’s wildly attractive to organizations like the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, where half the audience ...
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 13:00:41 +0000
Writing a blog post that references an article about how to write a blog post that people will read is a challenge. Half of the people who clicked on this post didn’t even make it to this sentence! And, that’s pretty much the point of an inciteful post from Copyblogger that I’ve linked below.
What you’re going to learn is that most people don’t read any longer, they scan. And since they scan, there are tricks of the trade that you can apply to your writing style to keep people interested. The essence of Copyblogger’s message is to keep your paragraphs short and your writing to the point.
And with that, I’ll let you discover some easy-to-follow techniques by reading the post here.
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 13:00:53 +0000
Today’s guest blog post is written by Cameron Draper, Client Cultivation Specialist, Patron Technology.
When I’m not working here at Patron Technology, I moonlight as an usher at an off-Broadway theater and it is AMAZING how frequently I have to remind people that there is no photography in the theater. These are the house rules. Of course, since virtually everyone has a camera on their mobile devices, taking a picture is easy. So what is the solution to the epidemic of photo snapping in the theater? Should we continue to discourage it or make lemonade out of lemons and use the rise of mobile to our advantage?
First of all, what’s the big deal about taking pictures? Well, often, it is a copyright issue and/or a union rule that and stands to protect the intellectual property of the designers and also ensuring the safety of the actors. Taking these pictures is against the law and that is why photographs are prohibited in theaters. A 2011 article on Playbill.com goes into more detail.
How can we possibly prevent every patron from taking pictures after they’ve been reminded? I read an article in the New York Times last year about cellphone use in theater and the author mentioned a theater company in California that hands out “a form-fitting, tamper-proof neoprene case” to every theater patron as they enter to actually prevent them from being able to use their phones during a performance. They clearly went the route of trying, almost at all costs, to prevent patrons from recording the show. So it seems that anything short of physically forcing patrons not to use their phones just doesn’t cut it.
Maybe we should accept the inevitability that patrons are going to take pictures and think of ways to use this to our advantage. Now, I am not suggesting we go against copyright laws, but rather create some way that patrons can legally share their experience on social media. That way, they have something to take away and you have some additional social media marketing – everybody wins!
The recent Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella did this brilliantly by setting up a ...
The post Mobile Phones in Theatres:
Turning Problems into Possibilities appeared first on Patron Technology.
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 13:00:15 +0000
Because I worked as an Executive Director of a symphony orchestra earlier in my career (and was part of two unfortunate strikes and walkouts), I watch orchestra negotiations with particular interest. I think it’s fair to say that over the past two decades these have come in waves, where orchestras tended to follow one another. Either wage negotiations go well and orchestras sign early, or one goes on strike, which sets off a wave across the county.
What we’re seeing today is something new, outlined in an article last week in The New York Times. The reporter points out that some orchestras are thriving, building new halls, increasing their seasons, and raising endowments. Yet others are struggling, and some big-name orchestras faced strikes yet again.
What makes one different from the other is pinpointed with clarity in the Times article. Even the headline gets it right: “For Orchestras in the U.S., So Much Depends on Their Communities’ Fortunes.” The final paragraph of the article points out the crux of the issue and the solution at the same time:
“From the point of view of the musicians, they’ve spent a long time developing their skills, so they tend to look at what people with similar skills are being paid at other orchestras,” [Stanford professor Robert Flanagan] said in an interview. “On the management side, they’re basically stuck with what the community they’re located in is willing to pay. And those two perspectives have very little to do with each other.”
Let’s assume that musicians are not being overpaid, meaning that a cut in wages isn’t going to solve the problem. The key is the part about what a community is “willing to pay.”
Orchestras, like all cultural organizations, get their money from individual decisions by people, not by collective action such as taxes. Orchestras are constantly in the business of “selling” the value of having an orchestra in their community to anyone who will listen, particular wealthy arts-minded donors, foundations, and community leaders.
It’s absolutely true that communities get what they want, and if nobody in the community cares about having a symphony it won’t be funded and that’s that. It’s not ...
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 13:00:27 +0000
Today’s guest blog post is written by Elise Rebmann, Renewals & Retention Manager, Patron Technology.
My family and I recently became subscribers of a certain meal delivery service that shall remain nameless. When we discovered the service, we were really busy, tired, and felt like we were in a complete rut with meal planning. This seemed like a cool option to both expose our kids to different foods outside of the 10-12 basic meals we’d been riffing on for 8 years while also taking a few of our weekend hours back from meal planning and grocery shopping.
The meals are generally pretty good, some have been great, others just okay. But we have really enjoyed cooking everything together and trying new meals that we would never have made on our own, so we continued our subscription.
We had been active subscribers for about 9 weeks when I received a mailer from the company. It was a beautiful, oversized, full-color, triple fold out brochure on glossy cardstock highlighting their meals and ingredients. On the front page, in giant letters, there was a special offer to save $40 off my first week of meals – applicable to new customers only. This was the first mailer I had ever received from them.
So I’m standing in my kitchen with this thing in my hand, and I turn to my husband and literally say out loud – “Why don’t you segment your list (insert company name)?!” I am upset with this company because they simply didn’t care enough to target their offer to me and my active subscriber status. I could have used that discount when I first signed up, but it’s useless for me now. Needless to say, this incident has made me feel significantly less loyal to this particular company, and the market of food delivery services is certainly expanding quickly.
On some level, I get it. I have been in sales and marketing for (cough) over 20 years, and I can remember when we sent postcards to everyone on our list. Segmenting would have required an unbelievable amount of expertise and time that seemed out of reach for anyone besides multi-national corporations. In 2002, I was ...
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 13:00:36 +0000
Last year live streaming was all the rage with two competing services, Periscope and Meerkat, duking it out. I wrote about it here and postulated that it could be the next big thing. I still think it will be, but this week one of those two services shut down.
With the technology at our fingertips, people live streaming things in their everyday lives is inevitable, and it’s already happening a lot. Perhaps, even more so in businesses. Here at Patron Technology, we’re on some kind of video chat with staff who work remotely several times a day. It’s become a natural (and integral) part of our work lives, and we don’t really think anything of it.
So, it seems clear to me that the problem with introducing live streaming into the consumer realm was the execution. A stand alone product just wasn’t the right thing. But Snapchat and Facebook are in this game now, and word is that Google is changing its live streaming “Google Hangout” product to something (hopefully) better. And one wonders when/if Skype will ever innovate again?
I still think every arts organization should start live streaming something – a backstage tour, a pre-concert lecture, a season announcement, etc. Despite the fact that live streaming hasn’t taken off as something all consumers are participating in, I’m sure it’s coming.
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:00:58 +0000
Today’s blog post is written by Natalie Sullivan, Assistant Marketing Manager, Content and Social Media, Patron Technology.
The other day, my husband downloaded an app called Checky. It measures how many times you check your phone in a given day. The results were shocking – but not surprising. He averaged about 90 checks per day over the last week with spikes well into the hundreds! This got me thinking about mobile marketing and how much potential there is to reach your patrons in a new and more effective way, particularly millennials.
This blog post from TechSoup and Philanthropy News Digest entitled, “Seize the Opportunity for Mobile Engagement in 2016,” delves into a few tactics that can help improve your patron’s experience with your mobile communications. Research has shown that the use of smartphones has caused a decrease in the attention spans of people who use them on a consistent basis. And I can attest to the fact that my husband is a perfect example! Though he checked his phone 90 times, he probably spent less than a minute each time he scanned through his app notifications, emails, and social media accounts. Keeping this in mind, the article says:
Your mobile design and mobile user experience should be simple, direct, and quick. Fonts are larger and buttons are easier to click. Single column designs offer a simple browsing experience with clearer and fewer choices for the reader. After a click from an email or social media post, landing on a Web page should also be a mobile-friendly experience
Of course optimizing your site content for mobile will require some reallocation of marketing resources, but considering the data above, it seems obvious to me that this is well worth your time and money. I hope you read the article and then take things one step at a time. Start with email templates, and then move on to landing pages, and eventually your website design as a whole. Your patrons are carrying (and consistently checking) your most effective marketing platform with them at all times – so utilize this to your advantage!
Tue, 27 Sep 2016 13:00:34 +0000
Face it, we’ve all had to write a “cold” email, and most of the time we don’t have a clue how to start. Whether it’s a new subscriber letter or a donor solicitation, writing to someone who does not know you or your organization is different than writing to someone you know. Though you may have experience writing cold emails, often times many approach writing them the same way every time, with the same voice, and the same goals. That’s why so few cold emails actually work, and most sound like they are templated emails (and most are).
Here’s a great guide to writing cold emails from the Harvard Business Review. When you skim this, you’ll see just how different your approach really should be. Furthermore, you’ll see that it’s not hard to go from mediocre to great. I’ll give you a preview by saying that what hit me the most were the sections about how you have to “validate yourself” and be “a little vulnerable.”
So it’s time your emails stopped reading like templates. I think it’s very evident, that once you change your cold emailing tactics, your response rates will go up, and your results will come more quickly.
Thu, 22 Sep 2016 13:00:28 +0000
I was meeting with an organization last week that is about to embark upon choosing new technology. I emphasized to them that at least one person on their selection committee ought to have a deep technology background.
I’ve often struggled with how to communicate the importance of this and I just stumbled upon a perfect analogy. Recently some friends of mine purchased a home. They found a “dream-house” with the right number of rooms, a great view, and a perfect kitchen with the right stove. But when it came time to buy, they brought in an expert who pointed out all the things they didn’t see – such as gutters that were rotting, a chimney that needed repairs inside, and a radon leak in the basement. They were so focused on the “features” that they ignored the infrastructure.
The same thing holds true with choosing technology. It’s a significant decision and notwithstanding the confidence you have in what features you want, you are ultimately buying a technology system, and you need a technical expert to advise you. You should find someone who knows their way around cloud technology vs. client server, as well as proficiency in understanding PCI compliance, data security, system redundancy, and hardware infrastructure.
Some months ago, we published a whitepaper that helps managers think through the process of choosing new technology. It’s not about selecting PatronManager specifically, it’s about the selection process in general. Click here to download.
In sum, if you’re thinking of selecting new technology, you don’t need to be a techie, but you ought to listen to one!
The post You Don’t Have To Be A Techie To Choose Great Technology appeared first on Patron Technology.