Skip to content
Follow Us

Get the best of Capacity Interactive delivered to your inbox.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Live From Boot Camp With Tons of Data
Episode 38

Live From Boot Camp With Tons of Data

CI to Eye with Colleen Dilenschneider

This episode is hosted by Colleen Dilenschneider.

0:00 / 0:00


Colleen discusses why digital engagement is anything but optional for arts organizations today. This unique episode shares audio from Colleen's keynote session at the 2017 Digital Marketing Boot Camp for the Arts.

Colleen Dilenschneider: Good morning. It’s so great that you guys are so chatty. Hopefully we’ll keep it up. I’m about to show you a lot of data. Yay! first thing in the morning, data’s great! I have two goals today in the information that I’m going to share with you. The first one is I’d like to share market research that underscores how awesome all of you are. And the major role that you play in driving visitation to your organizations or driving attendance to your organizations. A lot of what you guys do is really important to the missions of your organizations right? You aim to educate and you aim inspire and though we don’t like to talk about it so much. We aim to influence hearts, minds and pocketbooks.

Colleen Dilenschneider: But that’s how we stay alive. That’s how we engage folks. So my goal is to show you just how important you all are in the entire attendance engagement cycle. My second goal is something called data fuel. And that simply means that you guys tend to know in my experience, arts marketers tend to know that what they’re doing is important. But the problem is often communicating just how important it is and how we need a funding it is to other people within the organization. So on that note, one thing that I’m trying to do today, if I’m going to show you guys a lot of data, I am promise that you guys are geeks and geeks are my people. So you might regret that you all just laughed and kind of agreed with that.

Colleen Dilenschneider: So on that note, you might be wondering, who is this overly excited person before you and that’s a very good question. My name is Colleen Dilenschneider. My job has two parts and as time goes on, those kind of two parts merge together. The first of course, is that I am the Chief Marketing engagement officer for predictive technology and market research company called Impacts Research and Development. We aim to influence of course hearts, minds and pocketbooks and as a for profit organization, we’re a little bit more obvious about that pocketbooks part. My job is to help make sure that the clients that I work with can keep their lights on and they can secure revenue so that they can continue to educate and inspire as many people as possible.

Colleen Dilenschneider: Some of the clients that we work with at Impacts include organizations like San Diego Zoo, Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Aquarium, Carnegie museums, Stanford University and Bing concert hall, Wildlife Conservation Society all sorts of different organizations like that. The second part of my job and the reason why I’m here today is I went rogue like a millennium would. I started a blog called Know Your Own Bone. Know Your Own Bone is actually based on a quote. It’s a famous quote by Henry David Thoreau and it goes like this, “Do what you love, Know Your Own Bone, gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” And at my best what I am is curious and helping to uncover ways to help you guys educate and inspire people.

Colleen Dilenschneider: And that’s not very different. That quote is not very different than what you guys do every day. Through the last several years, Know Your Own Bone has created a little bit of a life of its own. It has between 70-80,000 page views a month, which is only interesting because it means not that many people reading me being really nerdy, every single Wednesday. It’s spread over a dozen graduate programs. And I’m just very lucky and very grateful. So that’s a little bit about me and where I’m coming from.

Colleen Dilenschneider: And the next thing I’m going to talk about before we dive into exciting data and I promise it’s exciting data, or at least I promise I’m sure to keep it exciting. Is where does the data come from? The data comes from three places, the first that it comes from is impacts ongoing monitoring of 224 visitor serving organizations in the United States. This includes zoos, aquariums, museums, Botanic Gardens, symphonies, theaters, orchestras, ballets, and the like visitor serving organizations. That means that we’re constantly in market asking people specific questions about these 224 organizations.

Colleen Dilenschneider: The second place it comes from of course is impacts client data. You guys have a lot of really awesome kind of case studies that you guys are digging into today and tomorrow throughout the day. But that’s where some of the information comes from. And the place that most of it comes from, and nearly all of what you guys will read on Know Your Own Bone. I saw that some of your readers so thank you. Any of you guys who nerd out with me every Wednesday is from a survey called the National awareness, attitudes and usage study. It is believed to be the largest in market survey of market perceptions of visitor serving organizations.

Colleen Dilenschneider: It was originally funded in partnership between impacts, and David Lucile Packard Foundation. And again, it is constantly in market and one thing that super cool about the NAAU is that it aims to be consistently representative of the United States demographic in terms of demographic, behavioral, and psychographic makeup. We can always kind of dig in there and look for trends and helps us figure out where we need to kind of get more data so we can kind of see what’s going on in the cultural world.

Colleen Dilenschneider: So let’s get things started. What I’m trying to do is what you guys are trying to do. We’re trying to get people up off the couch and to our performing arts organizations and to our arts organizations in general. So what I’m going to do is I am going to walk you guys through the visitor engagement process. And at every point in that process, I’m going to show you just how important digital engagement is and what you’re trying to do and achieve. Why am I saying digital engagement instead of digital marketing? Well, really, it’s just a matter of semantics. We tend to use them interchangeably, but the reason I’m purposely using the term digital engagement is because outside of people who work in marketing, seems to come a whole bunch of marketing jargon. It has a little bit of a, “That’s not my job.” That’s triggered when we talk about digital marketing and that’s a dangerous because so much of the world right now is digital.

Colleen Dilenschneider: I’m specifically talking about digital engagement. Again, we use them interchangeably as professionals but I’m talking about that connection that people to people connection, or people to content connection that happens, that kind of engagement is what I’m going after here. So we’re trying to get somebody up off the couch. The first thing we need to know is what motivates the visitation decision in the first place. And thankfully, we’ve got some data on that. What you guys are looking at are three charts right here. We’re seeing what influences the visitation decision process for the US composite market, that is for people in the United States in general. We’re seeing for Western Europe just because reputation is first and it’s kind of awesome. Their reputation is so important in Western Europe, although we’re not there we’re in the United States trying to aim for high propensity visitors or high propensity attendees, and we’re reputation is second.

Colleen Dilenschneider: For those of you who looked at this data and your first thought was to go over here, I like you because you are probably an optimistic person. However, I would like to share some bad news. There are some people in the world that do not wake up in the morning and say, “I would really love to visit an arts organization today.” There are some of them, they exist. We like to pretend they don’t sometimes and even if things are free, there are still some people that we’d love to get them interested. The goal is still to get them interested, but there are people who are more likely to wake up in the morning and when someone says, “Hey, you want to go to the symphony today?” They’re more likely to say, “Yeah,” that sounds awesome.

Colleen Dilenschneider: We love those people and those people are high propensity, visitors or high propensity attendees. Throughout this presentation I’m going to be saying high propensity visitors. The data is cut for performance based and exhibit based organizations. So when I say, “Visitor,” I’m also meaning attending, so we are clear moving forward. And as you can see forehead propensity visitors, the people for whom our bread is buttered people who have the demographic, psychographic, and behavioral attributes that indicate an increased likelihood to visit an arts organization. Reputation is the second driver of visitation. The second motivator of visitation. It’s second only to schedule and schedule means being essentially open and having performances during the days and times when people actually can and want to attend. That makes sense for people who actually go and want to go to arts organizations reputation is extremely important. And even for the US composite, it’s a top five factor. Reputation, you guys get it? Really important.

Colleen Dilenschneider: So then the question that you guys are probably asking very politically in your heads. Thank you. Is what goes into reputation? And what we know about that too. According to the model of diffusion, if there are MBAs in the room you probably have studied into this. Two things go into reputation. The first is our P value, it’s things you pay for. It’s called the coefficient of innovation. That’s things that you pay to say about yourself. That’s of course, as you can see paid media advertising broadcast cable radio, online cinema, if you write on the chalk on the sidewalk it’s your chalk, if you skywrite, it’s your skywrite, if you have coasters, it’s the things that you pay to say about yourself.

Colleen Dilenschneider: The second thing that goes into reputation is called the coefficient of imitation. That’s our cue value. That’s things that other people say about you. That includes trusted reviews, pure views, reviews to trusted sources, on pure views like Yelp and TripAdvisor, word of mouth, inter personal, social media and earned media. They aren’t things that we’re not paying to say. They’re things that other people are saying about us. And what we know is that what other people say about you is 12.85 times more important in driving your reputation than things that you pay to say about yourself. And if you think about it, guys this makes perfect sense and the kind of nerdy, kind of weird analogy that I like to make is that it’s a bit like online dating. Stick with me here it will come together I hope.

Colleen Dilenschneider: Let’s say that you are on an online dating site and you see a person who just looks awesome. You pulled their profile they like to run, they like to eat Thai food and watch Stranger things, they look completely same, huge plus. They look like they’re really good person and you’re looking at their profile and you’re like, “Yeah, I’m into this person, I really like this person.” So many do a little Google search and you find out through the trusted review of the police blotter that they’ve gotten themselves into a little bit of trouble in the past. Data would suggest that what you’re learning from the police blotter is 12.85 times more likely to influence what you think of that person than what they wrote about themselves on their online profile.

Colleen Dilenschneider: But how does this relate to you guys? How does this relate to us? Well, we are digital marketers. And digital marketing is in both of these categories. Of course, it’s our online. We have some paid media and paid advertising that’s placed in the digital realm. But all of these things that are so important, they are amplified by the internet. So this dynamic has always existed, people are able to decide the endorsement value of the people who tell them things, but because of the web, we can take these things and can super amplify them which makes the web really important of course here, but even more important in changing the game of how we do marketing and communications overall. In essence, we are living in a completely different world in terms of our ability to amplify message.

Colleen Dilenschneider: So, do people who want to go to arts organizations, those high propensity visitors, high propensity attendees, those people that we love, do they even care about the internet? Are they on the internet? And well is a good thing for everyone in this room, they definitely are. What we seek here is that all three generations qualify as being super connected to the web. Super connected to the web means that you have access to the web, at home, at work, and on a mobile device. Raise your hand if you are super connected to the web. Oh my gosh, you all have an indicator that you might be interested in arts organizations. Did not see that coming on.

Colleen Dilenschneider: This is where I’ve been explaining to you so that you can re communicate it as well. What you’ve seen here is a chart that is an index value. Index value is a way of assigning proportionality around the mean, in this case, in the case of all the data that I brought today, that means 100. So, that means, of course, things that are less than 100 or less important or a little bit less significant in terms of things that are happening, it means that are over 100. And indeed, we do see that millennials are even more super connected than Generation X and baby boomers. But the point here because it’s easy to draw the comparison here. The point here is that all three generations are super connected to the web, all three, and in fact for likely visitors to performing arts organizations and exhibit based arts organizations, social media, mobile web, and the web are the top three most important sources of information. Period and stop. Exclamation points. They are by far the most important.

Colleen Dilenschneider: Let’s go through these really quickly so again, you can re communicate them should that be helpful to you. We have social media you guys know what social media is. We have a mobile web and web those are exactly the same but once taking place on a mobile device. we have WOM, that’s word of mouth, so interpersonal communications that’s me talking to you. That’s when you guys this morning all said, “Hi,” to each other and poor Erica to kind of jump in and try to stop you which was hilarious to watch from the back. It includes, peer review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor as you can see email, television, radio, newspaper, periodicals and direct mail.

Colleen Dilenschneider: One thing that’s really important to mention because if I don’t know get me a little bit of trouble is that, this is not intended to be arguments not necessarily intended to be an argument for resource allocation. As we all know a cohesive marketing plan is strategic and uses the superpowers, which we’ll talk about some of these. The super powers of each of these channels in the way that best helps your organization to achieve whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve. And it’s usually getting butts in the seats, or people inside of galleries, or people to become donors, or members.

Colleen Dilenschneider: You guys will notice something interesting if you look at this. And again, this is cut specifically for likely visitors. We will look at the US composite in a bit. But you guys will notice something interesting here, take a look at all of the sources here that are over 100 in their index value. The ones that are most important are the channels that talk with audiences. Those with index values under 100 still important, but those are the more traditional communications that talk at audiences. And if I have ever seen a kind of metaphor in digital data that basically describes the essence of what’s going on in the world today, this might be it.

Colleen Dilenschneider: We are increasingly becoming a world where people not only would like to be talked with, but they expect to be spoken with. They expect that we’re going to come into conversations with kind of a culture, or mentality that not only do we talk, we listen to. But since they’re coming in with that expectation that we’re going to listen, it means that it becomes our responsibility not only to talk but also to listen. This is a little bit symbolic of a lot of things that we’re seeing happening and it also manifests itself in a lot of things that are happening on the floor. We see an increase in a want for more personalized interactions on organizations.

Colleen Dilenschneider: And one thing that’s interesting about this data and you guys know what I’m talking about. I’m very grateful to spend a good amount of time in boardrooms and with many executive, many In executive and this data, the first thing that happens when people see this data . And I know it’s happened to all of you, is they look at it and they go, “Well, that doesn’t apply to us. What? Social media? Mobile web? Web? Not newspaper? What? What’s happening?” So, this data we end up cutting it a lot. I tried to make them some ways you guys might like to see this data cut. So, you can see the orange is cut for performance based organizations, the blue and cut for exhibit based art organizations, and they are not very different. At all. They’re tiny bit different because when we include, of course we include symphonies and orchestras this tend to skew slightly older, but the difference is not incredibly significant. We see the big three remain the same.

Colleen Dilenschneider: This is a little bit interesting there’s a little bit change here, we’ll go through it. What happens when we cut this by generations because that’s something that we hear a lot too like, “Oh, our organization we’re a symphony.” So we have this with a symphony or two that we work with. They don’t like the internet, they don’t like it. They do not use it. Nobody over 50 knows what social media is. That’s not a thing, that’s an excuse.

Colleen Dilenschneider: The top three, they change order a little bit when you look at baby boomers versus millennials, with the top three, social media, mobile web, and the web, they remain the same regardless of generation. Yeah, you guys have fought this battle. Yes? Yeah, digital is for millennials, no digital is for everyone. That’s how people are making decisions. And actually, let’s dive a little bit deeper into that. This is a cartoon by Tom Fishburne, the marketoonist. He’s hilarious so I definitely recommend pulling him up and looking at his. It’s very refreshing. What I’m going to do right now is we are going to dive into some data fuel. And what we just spoke about was data that was cut for people who are likely visitors, likely attendees to arts organizations.

Colleen Dilenschneider: So, what we’re going to do now is we’re going to dive into a media study about how people in general for those folks because I know you guys have hit this too, right? We’re reaching our audiences but we want to reach new audiences and of course we do want to reach new audiences but new audiences also qualify as high propensity attendees. But for folks that might have trouble with that, but we want to reach the people who aren’t necessarily, we don’t know that they’re necessarily into arts organizations yet. This data may be particularly helpful. This data is very similar to the last data that I showed you except, that it’s not cut for high propensity attendees. It’s for the overall US composite market. And I’m going to look at them through the lenses of reach. So, where people go as an information source, trust an amplification and I will explain them as we go through.

Colleen Dilenschneider: But let’s start with the reach really quickly. We can spend a lot of time on the next four slides that I’m about to show you, if you guys have any questions we can come back to these at the end and dive into them, but for now I’m just going to give you guys a little bit of an overview. You’ll notice something interesting here and that is the importance of social media. And actually this makes sense, how many of you guys get an idea of what’s going on in the world by opening up say, Facebook or Instagram and scrolling through your news feeds? Yeah, yeah. And it’s interesting we kind of think when we think of the news, how to get the news we tend to think about print or the web, but the reality is that a lot of us are getting a lot of our information regardless of what it’s on via social media.

Colleen Dilenschneider: One thing that’s interesting about this data you may have already noticed it before I even called it out, is that it is not cut in even increments. You’re looking at June 2011, June 2015, and June 2016, that is data company that’s practice to cut the baseline recent cut, and then one cut from the middle. So, if you guys are thinking, “Oh, whoa, there’s huge jump, especially in social media between the orange bar and a blue bar.” Yes, they are not an even increments. We did that you so you can get a sense of the growth that’s happening there. So if you guys are aiming to re communicate this data, I might be something that’s interesting to keep in mind. Nothing too shocking here. It’s very similar to the data that we just saw.

Colleen Dilenschneider: But now let’s talk about the superpower of trust. How trusted are each of these communication channels. And now you might be thinking, “Oh, no, things looked really good for us with mobile web and social media before and this doesn’t look good,” but it is good. You know why this is good? This is good because it means that people on the internet have an idea that there are some other people on the internet that are crazy. They really are and we should be really nervous if this is really high. We should be very nervous when it’s high. Word of mouth is higher which is great that makes sense it’s because we can decide how much we want to qualify the endorser.

Colleen Dilenschneider: You all have that friend who when they say, “I’m going to New York City. I’m going to go to a restaurant. You have to go you know you have to go to this restaurant. It’s the best. You’re gonna have the best vegan Reuben ” Just me? “Kind of the best vegan Reuben you’ve ever had.” And when they say it you’re like, “Oh, yeah, I’m definitely gonna go,” but then you guys also got friends that I won’t make you name names, that when they say, “Oh my gosh, you could’ve go here and you’re gonna have the best vegan.” Again just me? “You can have the best vegan chili that you’ve ever had.” You go, “oh, no. Like, I’m not gonna do that,” You can decide how much you qualify your endorser.

Colleen Dilenschneider: And that’s the beauty of word of mouth. That’s also one of the beauties of peer review and we dive deeper into some of the data on peer review, is that we know that people like to go through and they can tell if there are people. Have you guys all seen the one star reviews of national monuments? There are crazy people on internet. The good news is that we all know not everyone on the internet. But many people on internet know that there are some other crazy people on the internet. That’s a good thing for us.

Colleen Dilenschneider: What we’re seeing right here is the publication effect. This is interesting and it makes sense and it’s a kind of important superpower of these printed channels to acknowledge here. What’s happened here is that we know that anybody can post what they want on the internet or on social media. But it’s presumed of course, that those that are in printed newspaper or periodicals have gone through some sort of publication threshold. That somebody else has read them to make sure that that person is not a crazy person. Essentially, is the thought. Yes.

Colleen Dilenschneider: All right. Let’s look at amplification. That’s the sneeze factor. How easy is it to infect people with your message by each service channel? Social media makes perfect sense, right? It’s all about sharing that makes complete sense. Mobile web, web, you can see all of these things make perfect sense. Because it’s an interesting tidbit is that we tend to see that people throw away newspapers and direct mail, periodicals and magazines, they stay on people’s newspapers, they see on people’s coffee tables, they are in dentist office, they are in your seat when you are on united flight, you know, the last person’s periodicals was there. They’re last person’s periodical. Last person is magazine. It’s right there and those things tend to stick around a little bit longer.

Colleen Dilenschneider: But what’s really important here is the overall weighted value of these information sources. What you’re seeing right now is a component metric. It’s a metric made up of several other metrics. And those metrics are the ones that I just showed you. And what it should be astounding to you is social media. In terms of the combination of reach, trust, and amplification and kind of how those things work together. Social media is an incredibly important source of information and communication channel for the composite market, certainly, as for our visitors and attendees, but absolutely for the composite market in general. And indeed, web and mobile web are extremely important. And look at that awesome growth mobile web. It’s a good thing. It’s a good thing.

Colleen Dilenschneider: So, how often are people using these. What we ask here is wanted to know what sources, which of these channels are you going to learn information specifically about your visit or specifically to inform your visit. And what we see of course, is that the results are rather unsurprising. The Big Three make the list. Again, web, mobile, web and social media. It’s incredibly important. So what we’ve just gone over is how important digital engagement is, or digital marketing is, is in getting someone on site. We know that digital marketing and digital engagement increases reputation, and reputation is a top motivator for attendance.

Colleen Dilenschneider: So you’ve got someone on site. What happens when they are on site? Does our job end there? Are things over for us? We’ve done our job, we’ve got them in the door. Good work marketing. Go back out on there. Good talk. See you later. Nope, it doesn’t. We keep on working. And that is because over 50% of visitors to arts organizations use social media on site, while they are attending the organization to do something that elevates presumably, elevates their experience. So what we’re looking at here is what sources of information did you use in regard to your visit, or in regard to your attending this organization.

Colleen Dilenschneider: What counts here is sharing that you are in the theater with your friends on Instagram. What doesn’t count here is someone on mobile app, in your galleries opening up Open Table and making dinner reservations. What did people use as a source of information while they were there? WOM it’s interpersonal that means simply asking somebody a guard, an usher, a staff member for information, or a little bit about what’s going on, or even asking the person next to them about something. over 50% are using social media on site.

Colleen Dilenschneider: So, so what, over 50 are using social media on sight. So what? We have to consider what do we want from them using social media on site. It sounds good to know that they’re using it right? But why does that matter? Here’s why that matters. That matters, because off site we’re aiming to increase reputation, but on site, we are aiming to increase satisfaction. A whole bunch of really important things happen when we increase satisfaction. Organizations that have higher satisfaction rates, they are more likely to have larger donors. And we’re like, they’d have more donors when they have a membership structure in place, they’re more likely to have more members. Obviously, as you can see in this data right over my head, they are more likely to come back and come back sooner based on how great their experience was. And to turn back to you guys, people who have higher satisfaction rates are more likely to share their experiences with others. And we like that, because that feeds right back into social media, and it feeds right back into what we do, and it gets more people in the door. It kind of serves to make this cycle work.

Colleen Dilenschneider: Alright, so we’ve looked at the channels that people are using on site. We know that satisfaction is important. Question, does using these channels on site increase satisfaction? Well, it’s a good question. We took everybody who went to organizations that use these channels and you can see that in the green, and put them alongside the people who reported, not using those channels. And you can see that in the blue. And what we found is that people who use mobile web have a 5% higher satisfaction rate than people who don’t. People use social media have a 6% higher satisfaction rate than people who don’t. That is incredible. The question I get very often when I share this information is, is this even significant? Does this even matter? Yes, this really matters. This is incredibly significant. Increasing visitor satisfaction is a little bit like a video game. There are certain things that we can do throughout the experience that knocked off points, that increase points, and one of the things that we can do and I’m showing you and you guys all know it but now you can take it back and tell everyone, is allowing people to use social media on site in a way that works for your organization and matches your goals. This is incredibly important.

Colleen Dilenschneider: One question you guys might possibly in your head if your data people be asking very politely is, “Okay, Coleen this sounds nice, but correlation versus causation.” And you’re right, that’s an issue here. The question is, does using social media increase the attendees experience? Does that give you a better experience, or people who are having a great experience more likely To use social media? And the answer is, I’m not sure. But the other answer is, does it matter? They’re both great things. If there’s something that we can do, because we can enable someone who’s happy to do and they want to share what they’re doing, that we want to share it. And if there’s somebody who can do something that will give them a happier experience, don’t we want to enable them to do that as well?

Colleen Dilenschneider: So I don’t know what the answer is, and thinking logically, perhaps it’s a mix of both. But indeed, correlation versus causation is a thing here. But the findings still stands, people who use social media on site have 6% higher satisfaction rates than people who don’t. The reason why I highlighted this plus 8% for word of mouth, is because this is the other one here that has to do with connection. Connections to humans, connections to people, and I’m going to dive into that a little bit more in a second. Real quick because there’s always someone who I make angry. There is someone in this room who didn’t listen to a word I said about this, because the only thing that they were looking at was, how mad they are at the mobile app. And to you, whoever you are, I will say this, this does not mean there aren’t excellent mobile apps. It does mean, perhaps that the market is over saturated with mobile apps that aren’t great.

Colleen Dilenschneider: And this makes sense, right? We went through this time period where we didn’t even care what that mobile app did just we had one. Like, that was what mattered most. So what’s happening here is we’re seeing that play out you the data again, this doesn’t mean that your app isn’t increasing visitor satisfaction. I encourage you to go out and test it because that’s the way you’re going to find out. But to ever who just like, sat in anger at the last five minutes. I need to mention there’s someone, there may be more than one person. I’m in digital marketing. So it’s probably more than one. But anyway, we’re all good. Are we all Okay? All right, we are all okay. We’re moving on.

Colleen Dilenschneider: So, guys you just look at the visitor engagement cycle, you had offset connection, we increased reputation. Digital engagement drives this. We motivated a visit, we got someone on site. And once they were on site, we used digital communications to make it relevant to them. That increases satisfaction. So they’re more likely to tell others. And then when they tell others it cycles right back to word of mouth endorsement and connection feeds our reputation. And it’s this beautiful cycle of financial solvency, admission, execution, and you guys are at the center of it making it happen. That is incredibly important. You guys are all incredibly, incredibly important.

Colleen Dilenschneider: But we haven’t problem, it’s the goldfish problem. The goldfish is internal and external. I love bad metaphors and if you Know Your Own Bone you I love them. So I’m going to give you a bad metaphor. The metaphor is this. It’s like we’re all in fishing, and there’s a lot of water around us, It’s hard for us to get messages and really hear them. It’s noisy. There are a lot of waves. We live in a really connected world. It has a lot of information coming into it, a lot. And it’s hard for us to figure out what we should be paying attention to. It’s hard for us to hear messages that’s the reality of the world in which we live today. The second problem, the second problem is that we are goldfish and that is that the average attention strong… I don’t know the average tension strong is in the goldfish. But word on the street is that the tension strong of goldfish is nine seconds.

Colleen Dilenschneider: As of 2015, the average attention strong of a human alive in the United States, according to Microsoft is eight seconds. One thing that’s actually particularly terrifying about this is that Microsoft started their study in 2010. And when they started in 2010, the average attention strong for humans was 12 seconds. So between 2010 and 2015, we went from 12 seconds to eight seconds. And that matches almost perfectly with kind of the mobile revolution, our ability to hear things, but also to hear them all the time, no matter where we go. And this is the reality of the world in which we live. And this is also the reality of the world that you guys are trying to work within and make change within.

Colleen Dilenschneider: And one misconception that seems to happen is that this fish tank only exists for digital things. Like, we just go about our world and then we think about digital and then it’s like, go in the fish tank. We’re in a noisy world only have an eight second attention strong, and then we’re done. We’re doing something else. But that’s not true. The environment that we’re in is this water. It isn’t just online engagement, it isn’t just digital marketing. We live in a noisy world. And more often than not, the trends that we see taking place online match very, very closely and are in fact in many ways, exactly the same as the trends that we see taking place in real life. The digital world is real life. Digital engagement is engagement. There are humans behind those computer screens. They are not … Well sometimes are robots. But the ones that are actually going to visit are presumably not robots.

Colleen Dilenschneider: And bad things happen, really bad things happen when organizations within organizations, other departments not my job, digital engagement, or and they hear it and they pick, “I’m gonna give that to you, that sounds like it’s your job. Digital engagement? Not my thing. That’s somebody else. That’s one of you guys is in the room job.” And so yes, very bad things happen when we forget that we live in this connected world and digital impacts everything. Let’s take an example. We’ve talked a little bit about the visitor experience. Let’s talk about fundraising for a second. This data is from folks who made previous donations of between $250 and $2500. They were annual donors and they hadn’t given in the last two years. We asked them what’s the reason why you haven’t given in the last two years now.

Colleen Dilenschneider: Now all of these results and everything that comes from the NAAU is done by a process called Lexical Analysis. That means that we didn’t give them a list, we didn’t give them this list and say, “Cross off the one that matters to you.” We ask them open ended queries. And then we brought them what they said. And then computers went ahead and organized everything. So we didn’t give them a list. This is what people said on their own. And if any of you guys have, you know, communications with the fundraising apartment, or if you are the fundraising departments, or if you have ties to the fundraising department, you’re pretty aware of reasons four, five, and six that we don’t give. Right? On actualize intent, gave to another organization or changing interest. In fact, when people don’t give to us anymore, we kind of assume it’s one of those three reasons. But the top three reasons are all communication issues. They were not acknowledged, or thanked for a previous gift. They were not asked to donate again, or there was a lack of communication about the use and funds and the results of a gift.

Colleen Dilenschneider: There are two problems here happening. They’re happening both ways. The first is sometimes there’s an idea that if somebody gives a donation over the internet it doesn’t count. That’s like a magical internet fairies that gave that donation and we can automate a response of thanks and what life’s easier that is just a blessing from the art gods. So there seems to be sometimes a lack of understanding that we need to make sure that we are properly thinking that human that’s behind a computer screen. The other problem is that a lot of organizations say, “We do thank our donors. We didn’t tell them our impact.” I mean what they’re really saying is we did thank our donor via direct mail. Whoever said “uh huh.” I like you. Yes. Affirmation.

Colleen Dilenschneider: Yeah, you send thank you via direct mail. You talked about your impact in a brochure. You guys know this, I’m preaching the choir to be effective in all areas of an organization. We need to meet our audiences where they are. Like, saying, we’re kind of thank someone in San Francisco so we like, our whispering into the wind like, “Thank you in Boise, Idaho,” like it doesn’t. That’s not where the person is. Like, that’s not where the person is making. That’s not where the person is getting their information. And this actually ties back really well to the web and social media, right, because this lack of communication about funds and the results of a gift. You guys have the ability to walk your talk every single day on social media. And actually, you guys a great session coming up later today about digital storytelling. You guys have this great opportunity to walk your talk and to talk about the mission where people are actually paying attention.

Colleen Dilenschneider: So we forget that what you guys do is so innately connected to the visitor experience, it’s connected to fundraising, it’s connected to membership, whole bunch of Video Problems happen. Every time somebody outside of the marketing department says that’s not my job to something that has to do with digital engagement, an informal learning fairy loses its wings. Quote, I’m not sure if it’s in a tweet. I have to check.

Colleen Dilenschneider: So a little bit of an HT, a little bit of a harsh transition here. I am from a northern suburb of Chicago, you may know that already because my accent comes out when I’m having a good time. And that’s happening. I am the oldest of four children and for three years when I was a kid, so not that long. My mother would take us on something she would call our special day. And she would take each of the four of us individually to downtown Chicago to ride the train it was a really big deal and we can do whatever they wanted. Within reason, of course. And these special days included all sorts of things. My brother went on like a pirate cruise, there were lots of toy stores and there was high tea. There was a lot of really fun stuff.

Colleen Dilenschneider: I went to the same place all three years because the first year was so impactful. And so on my first special day, I was nine years old and I asked my mom, I said, the one thing that I want to do is I want to go to the Art Institute of Chicago. I had never been. But my mother was a stay at home mom. And she also was an artist and she had a little studio in in our basement. And so a big part of my identity is being the daughter of an artist. And I said, “Mom, I’m the daughter of an artist. I would like to be an artist. Let’s go to the Art Institute.” I learned all that I could about impressionism, I got really excited, I wore my super awesome 90s jumper. That was Jean jumper with like, super cool leggings are back in style now which is great. I don’t have it anymore. Also, I was nine.

Colleen Dilenschneider: I was really excited and I still remember like so many of you do, because I know that you guys have sparked moments too. I remember almost everything about that trip. I remember walking in and seeing the way finding sign that said, “The Monet Exhibit,” and we were going to Monet Exhibit to see Monet. And I remember the sign that said, “Go this way.” I remember like, even I’m telling you now, I remember the feeling that I had the butterflies in my stomach. I’m going to see one of my favorite artists. I’m nine. I’m so cool. I remember walking in. I remember when I watched it was so crowded, I couldn’t see anything. It was just like catching glimpses between people’s moving heads.

Colleen Dilenschneider: And my mom. I just followed my mom in a daze and she takes me right in front of the first painting. And we’re quiet and she turns to me, I remember everything about this moment. She turns to me, and she has this radiant smile on her face. And she says, “Coleen, what do you think?” And it’s such a simple question. But I remember everything about that moment. And that moment was really important to me. And actually, that’s probably one of the reasons why I do what I do today. And I remember a lot about it. But the thing that I remember most and the defining thing about that trip is that I was with my mom.

Colleen Dilenschneider: Who people are with is two and a half times more important than what they see. When they visit a cultural organization. Who people are with, is more important than what they see. Whether you guys want to acknowledge it or not, you have a superpower. And your superpower is that you are all facilitators of shared experiences. You guys tell stories, you tell great stories, but you know what you do that’s even more important? You help us make stories. You help us make our own stories. And not only that, if we look at these two of the top that are over 100, have 100 in its values have to do with who people are with, or interacting with people. That is, spending time with family and friends, and interacting with staff, volunteers and performers.

Colleen Dilenschneider: Two of the top three best things about visiting and arts organizations have to do with humans. And in seeing and interacting with exhibits and performances have to do with humans too. That as to how what would you tell those stories, and this does not mean that content is unimportant. If we didn’t have content, we wouldn’t have an excuse to get out there with our friends and family in the first place. So for those of you, because sometimes this data is difficult for some people, for those of you weren’t thinking, “We don’t want the people who came to have fun with her families, we want the people who came for Beethoven.” We want people who came from Monet. That’s true you do you want those people but you still want the people who came for shared experiences.

Colleen Dilenschneider: That you’re looking at now is we took all of the people and divided them by what they said was the best thing about their visit. I put in green the two that have to do with, with over what. People who say that spending time with their family or friends or sometimes even spending time with themselves is the best thing, has higher satisfaction, significantly higher satisfaction rates than people who care more about the what. I think my favorite of this group is this people whose best thing is that they’re not at work. I like those people they’re funny. For people who it matters that the best thing is who they’re with. They also have better higher value for cost perceptions. That means that they believe that they’re getting a better bang for their buck by painted visit you. That’s a big deal. And also you can see also the bump in interacting with staff, volunteers and performers.

Colleen Dilenschneider: They also and this is a big one have significantly higher intent to revisit within one year. We are facilitators of shared experiences, and digital marketing and digital communication help us to do that. It helps us get people excited about their ability to come to our organizations and create their own stories. And it gets people excited about the stories that they’re going to come there and they’re going to see and that we’re going to tell them about. It allows us to communicate in ways that we’ve never been able to communicate before. But at the end of the day, what we do isn’t so much about technology. This isn’t so much about Facebook algorithms. Certainly they are important, certainly needs to know about them. This isn’t so much about HTML. This isn’t so much about mobile apps. what we’re talking about when we talk about digital engagement, what you guys are all experts in isn’t necessarily technology. You’re experts in people. You are experts at connecting people to each other, to information and to the world around them. And when we focus on connection instead of technology, and how technology helps enable connection, it makes our visitors and attendees better. And it also makes our organizations better too.

Colleen Dilenschneider: Thank you to all of the organizations. These are some of the organizations that gave me permission to use the data that I shared with you guys today. It is a great honor to have partners with these kind of organizations who will help fund some of the research, but then also have a kindness to let me come forth and share this data with you guys and then also make it accessible on Know Your Own Bone. So, on that note, thank you guys so much for having me.

About Our Guests
Colleen Dilenschneider
Colleen Dilenschneider
Founder & Managing Member, IMPACTS Experience

Colleen Dilenschneider is the publisher of Know Your Own Bone, the powerhouse website that provides data-driven insights about marketing, fundraising, engagement and more for arts administrators and executives. It’s required reading for anyone working in the arts and culture today. Colleen is also Founder & Managing Member of IMPACTS Experience, a company providing data and analysis to visitor-serving organizations across the world.

Read more

Related Episodes

Your Cultural Compass
EP 129
May 30, 2024
Your Cultural Compass

Audience behavior has changed significantly over the past few years, and pre-pandemic benchmarks are all but obsolete. If we want to adjust to the demands of today’s market, we need updated markers for success.

Enter: CI’s brand-new Cultural Compass study. We pulled from our own bank of campaign data that spans  over 150 client organizations to uncover the latest digital marketing benchmarks and emerging trends for our industry. In this episode, lead researcher and Senior Consultant Ali Blount discusses the biggest surprises in her analysis of more than 7,000 digital campaigns, and previews key findings to inform your FY25 media planning.

Choreographing Change with Data
EP 127
Apr 30, 2024
Choreographing Change with Data

Across a variety of artistic genres, we see persistent gender imbalances among the creatives and leaders who make the art possible. That’s especially true for dance, where women continue to hold fewer artistic director positions and receive fewer choreographic opportunities than men despite making up a significant majority of the dance workforce overall.

As full-blown data nerds here at CI, we believe you can’t change what you don’t measure. So we sat down with the team at Dance Data Project® to discuss the latest industry stats and consider how to carve a path forward for gender equity in dance.

Don’t Miss an episode

Don’t Miss an episode

Subscribe to CI to Eye and have your insight and motivation delivered on demand.