Rachel Hilton, Managing Director of the new Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in the Junction Triangle, shares her top advice for marketers looking to stay ahead of the curve:
1. Get out of your own head
Not only that, get out of your own organization and talk to other colleagues, even if they’re not in your particular field.
When I worked in the theatre world [Stratford Festival], I liked talking to people who worked in broader entertainment sectors, like people who worked at Disney or other big film companies. They always had a lateral but very different perspective on things than I did. You can always learn from big business, even if you work for a non-profit and don’t always have big resources to play with. People are usually willing to offer you advice. And beyond that, they’ll start charging you.
2. Never underestimate the importance of data
And how you can collect it, what you can learn from it, how you can harness it and use it to your advantage—whether that’s to spend money more wisely or spend money differently or spend no money. I’m talking specifically about data to do with your audience, and how easy it is to collect it and use it, either qualitatively or quantitatively.
People look at social stats which is great or at web stats, which is also great. But what kind of data can you gather about your audience that will give you info that relates to the experience they’re having with your product? It’s one of those more qualitative measures that has nothing to do with what percentages are engaging with your post. This is often overlooked, and it’s where growth can come, or where some of the innovation or differentiation from other products can come.
3. Revisit your vision
When you achieve your goals, you need to re-envision them. Always make sure you’ve got a new destination in mind. This is a good company plan and a personal career plan. It’s broadly applicable.
4. Push your limits
My philosophy has been to always look for that thing that’s just beyond your grasp and stretch to it. If you want to do good work or great work, strive for things that are beyond your reach, things you have to learn more about or things that are totally new. Personal and professional growth only comes when you’re stretching to places you’ve not been before.
5. Rethink your approach
I don’t think email marketing has the same effect that it once did. I think events and experiences are other ways to talk to people and break through the clutter. Younger demographics are looking for experiences that are much more curated and more personal than before. How you deliver on that is really important, other than with just social posts. Things move so quickly and there is so much online clutter right now.
6. Extend your reach
Here at MOCA, we work across contemporary art forms, so even though we’re a museum that specializes in visual art, we also work with people from different mediums—dance, spoken word, performance—so we can widen the aperture on our audience and bring in new people and new followers.