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A Chance to Experiment

This blog was posted by Ron Evans on March 18, 2015 as part of the CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy. You can find out more about the project here.

As Digital Marketing Academy (DMA) 1.0 winds down and my Fellows turn in their assignments, I have been reflecting on the process with them. I worked with four amazing teams of Fellows who designed great experiments, and are now writing up their results along with the other 16 Fellows in round 1. The DMA journey itself has been a fascinating experiment; the diversity of ideas and cultural organizations has made for a rich experience for all.

In speaking with some of the other Mentors, I know that while many of the Fellows are happy with their experiments and their results, others are disappointed that the results were not as predicted. For some of the experiments, the sample size of the response was too small, or the technology was not received as expected. Understandably, people want to create research that will change the world (and if not that, just really improve the organization). As well, there is a big focus on creating experiments that will inform the field so that others can learn from both successes and failures. But if we only focus on the research outcomes, we overlook the incredible learning experience that each Fellow was able to enjoy. The DMA gives people the “OK!” to experiment – to take an idea through the scientific process to test for results. Sure, results are important, but just learning how to run marketing experiments is such a useful learning opportunity. My Fellows have all said that the skills they polished in the DMA are going to assist them moving forward as they plan new experiments for their organization. As I have long said, “every marketing task you do should be some sort of experiment” and I love the idea that the DMA is creating a culture of experimentation in cultural organizations – a valuable skill that has a huge potential to impact arts and cultural attendance and engagement.

Thank you to the whole team at AMA/CultureHive for creating this programme, and thank you to my four teams of Fellows at ARC (Stockton Arts Centre), Theatre Royal Stratford East, Sound and Music, and Tyneside Cinema for their hard work and open minds throughout the process.

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