The Galaxy's Guide to Digital Media
The Dying Dinosaur—E-Blasts
This is the second post in a series exploring the role of digital media in the theatre realm. Find the full series here.
I want you to take a moment to think about the first moments of your morning routine. Walk through it in your mind.
Here is mine: Every morning I wake up and reach for my smartphone. If it has any juice left from my late night pinning spree, I do my check-ins. Email. Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest.
I open my email. Mostly from organizations and companies I’ve signed up for intentionally or unintentionally from purchasing a product or ticket. Gaaaaawd! There are just so many of them. Maybe I will keep one or two if it’s from something I am personally invested in, my mother, or my bank balance, but everything else goes into the trash.
I go to Facebook and Twitter. I scroll through statuses, check out pages, profiles, pictures, kitten videos, the greatest memes and hashtags invented overnight, retweet articles, commenting, participating. I engage. I still haven’t even left my bed.
And, I know I am not alone in this.
This begs the question: are emails/e-blasts still effective? Are we invading our patron’s inboxes so much that they don’t even open the email? Or is it possible that email has just become too archaic or dare I say boring for marketing purposes? Do emails engage our patrons in quality interaction? I don’t send an email to my friends anymore. I send them a Facebook message or text.
Now, you may scoff, “She doesn’t know what it was like before computers. She’s too young.” I may be young (if thirty is young), but I ain’t no spring chicken. When I was in high school, classrooms were not outfitted with computers. At home, we had ICQ and AIM, and we rocked them out—after school and after homework. Forget texting, I still passed notes my senior year. No one I knew had a personal computer/laptop/desktop at the age of seventeen. You were lucky if your family had one for the whole family. I thought I was hot shit for having my own yahoo email account.
How did we go from thinking we were hot shit for forwarding an email version of chain mail to Instagram where we point, shoot, and share what we had for dinner from a device we hold in our hand?
I am the graduating class of 2000. This was only thirteen years—a hot minute, my friends—ago. My entire life, we teetered on the edge of old school and technology. Just a before this, CD players were tape decks which replaced 8-tracks and then the video killed the radio star. The cusp is a cool place to live; we live the innovation.
How does this affect marketing for the arts?
Email can’t and shouldn’t be your only source of communication with your audience. I’m not suggesting we throw it away either. At least for now. Where email lacks, social media provides a higher level of micro-customer service experience, provides transparency to our process, and develops brand loyalty. So, if someone deletes your well crafted, beautifully designed e-blast, you can hyper-engage them using your social media before they even get out of bed and recover that loyalty. And, the upshot is you can also tell all their friends about it.
Where do we go from here?
In an age where 3D printers (replicators much?) make toys from your child’s crayon drawing, and “Explorer Editions” of Google’s Project Glass are distributed to developers for $1500 a pop this year (Geordi’s visors?), it’s only a matter of time before emails are a thing of the past. Think of what we could do to engage our patrons with our brand and our art! But, until then, as artists and arts administration nerds we need keep pushing forward and live the innovation. Theatres should start hiring developers as a permanent part of their administrative team. Think of what could happen! #mindblown
Where do you see technology going and how will it affect marketing for the arts? How have you changed your email strategy to change with the times?
Otherwise, we will still be cranking out e-blasts when our patrons have well since moved on.
Where do you see technology going and how will it affect marketing for the arts? How have you changed your email strategy to change with the times? Do any of you have developers on staff? How have you lived in the innovation?
P.S. Let’s talk about Google Glasses for an extra moment. I can’t wait for these to be available to the general public because: 1. they are badass, 2. who didn’t want to be Geordi La Forge from Next Gen/Reading Rainbow? And 3. Geordi was badass.
Disclaimer: The views and experiences expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of the organization. So, don’t blame Signature, blame me for why I think tweets are the shit and e-blasts are boring.