10 for that? You must be mad

Posted on by Masque

I’ve often heard people complain that they can’t afford to test their marketing, that it costs too much.

That’s the first problem – treating it as a cost rather than in investment. When you test you are buying knowledge that will let you improve your return on your marketing investment.

Marketing costs (time and money), it’s our job to make sure we make the most out of it so invest in your testing.


Was that technology I just used?

Posted on by Masque

Last week I was at the Arts Marketing Association Digiday where Carol Jones made the comment that “… it’s not about the tech, done properly you don’t even notice it”.

Immediately my thoughts jumped back to our first brochure (about 1990!) which started with a quote that “… the true test of successful implementation of IT … will be when we do not notice it is there”.

Believed it then, believe it now.


Repeat after me.

Posted on by Masque

a graphHad a very enjoyable and informative day yesterday at the Arts Marketing Association seminar on “Tracking Success: Measuring the impact of press and pr” given by Katie Moffat. A huge amount was covered, but one small piece rang a particular bell for me.

A while back there was a big project by AMEC about measuring the impact of PR and one of the the things they said was “Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound management”. We often we spend time discussing the transparency aspect, but for me it is the replicability that is just so important. Maybe it’s my background in direct marketing, maybe the programmer in me.

How often do we analyse an activity so we can report on it to our clients and those “upstairs”? Didn’t we do well. But analysis just to pat ourselves on the back, or otherwise, is a waste of effort. The reason we need to analyse is to learn and that is why replicability is important, because if we do the same thing again and the outcome is different then we are obviously missing a critical factor and it is something that we should be searching for.

The action – analysis – action cycle should continually improve our performance over time as we learn what factors have the greatest impact on our results. If they don’t then you should be questioning your methods of evaluation.

Derek Holder: trailblazer

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Professor Derek HolderA lot of good things have been said about Derek since he died in February, but I just wanted to add my little bit.

I first met Derek back in 1982/3 when I was persuaded to lecture about financial evaluation on the Diploma. Just a bit of a seminar I was told, easy – although it was over 2 nights. Imagine my surprise when I turned up at Imperial College to be confronted by lecture theatre full to the brim of eager direct marketing students!

And that is a testament to the passion and foresight Derek had – only a couple of years after the launch the Diploma was attracting not only enough people to pack a lecture theatre at Imperial but to do the same at several other venues at the same time.

From a personal point of view I had a thoroughly great time lecturing all across the UK on the diploma and contributing to the IDM Direct Marketing Guide. It also made me a better marketeer as I had to think much harder about what I was doing.

Derek not only saw the opportunity of providing a direct marketing course ( at a time when it was frowned upon by our above the line cousins) but drove it with a belief and a passion that changed what was considered little more than a technique into a profession. And in way laid the groundwork for the integrated marketing of today.

Thank you Derek.

– Russell

Responsive Web Design. What! Why? Should you care?

Posted on by Masque

Personally, I would say yes!.

Let’s start by explaining some things.

Back in the day we accessed the internet via a desktop computer, or maybe a laptop, screen sizes and computer speeds were pretty low, slow and inconsistent. But at least we knew roughly a few things about our potential visitors.

They would probably be viewing our sites either at 800×600 or 1024×768 (and there are some here who actually remember 640×480!), or as screen sizes increased and TFTs became common place, most users began to view our sites using 1280×1024 screens, this was fine. I could design my site to fit.

Now, things have moved on, once a mobile site would and could only be simple text, maybe a little colour and a couple of tiny pixelated images. Now mobile is here, tablets, netbooks and other strange net connected devices are cropping up. So where does that put me when designing a new site?

Now we  have to cater for a whole range of devices. Previously there was no choice in the matter, M.website.com or www.website.com. One pretty basic site and another rigid one.

We’re talking websites here, so if you’re wondering about when to make a mobile site or app, you’ll have to come back for that.

This is where Responsive Web Design comes in. Instead of developing a website specifically for one screen size, we can now detect the browser/device/tablet/phones viewable space, and adapt the design to fit.

Take a look at our new site built in this manner.

On my beloved 27″ iMac, instead of seeing a postage stamp, I see it in its full glory, then on my mobile I get the full experience, just nicely folded down.

Same site, same code. But with a little thinking it scales up and down gracefully.

Should we?

So, when you are next developing your website, think about the bigger picture, as well as the smaller one. If you have no need or the budget for a native app, I would say build a responsive site.Check out this website, pop in the address for your site,  or ours :) and see how it renders at different sizes http://www.studiopress.com/responsive/

Up Close and Personal

Posted on by Masque

Cover of JAM May 2012“By the end of 2012 there will be more connected devices than people on Earth”: the first sentence of Heather Maitland‘s article really kicks off The latest edition of JAM is a very timely look at mobile marketing. A host of excellent articles that build up to the final one (well it’s in the middle really) by Roger Tomlinson, which is the most poignant: the impact that social media development has had on how people buy. But more of that later.

Heather has done an excellent job on summarising where we are and where it seems to be heading- smart phones, tablets, Facebook, twitter, shopping …it’s big business and one we can’t avoid. After all the mind blowing stats, comes the little one, and for us the key one, basically you’ve got three chances before people give up on your mobile site.

So what makes for a good user experience? Well Heather starts us off with a good checklist ( if you want it, then buy a copy of JAM!) and the following articles start to put flesh on it.

Loic Tallon in an interview with Helen Bolt, talks us through how to create a good mobile experience. Same hymn sheet as me I think : talk in terms of the experience and the technology comes later; be specific about objectives…spot on.

Amy Clarke tells us not to neglect our email – for most it is still a bigger pool than our Facebook fans ( and it has less distractions ), but remember that more and more people are reading it on their phones, so follow Amy’s advice and make your email mobile ready.

Jim Richardson talks about apps or website optimisation, otherwise called responsive websites (these scale and change their layout depending on the device they are viewed on – have a look at Masque-Arts and change the width of your browser). Faced with the cost of app development and fragmented smartphone platforms, he thinks that arts organisations should take step back from apps and consider how their website performs on smaller screens.

Chris Unitt then looks at some latest stats and follows on from Jim’s article in comparing responsive sites to mobile specific sites.

Then we step into the world of the app! Vicky Lee gives us the background to developing the amazing StreetMuseum app from the Museum of London (what do you mean you haven’t installed it? Do it now and be inspired). And Allegra Burnette discusses integrating mobile into the mix at MoMA.

To this point the articles have given us an insight of what to do, how to do it and some fascinating peeks into what has been done. Roger‘s article is the key as it is really the why. Marketing had changed, it is more intrusive than ever before. Social media pushed it down this path and the mobile world has consolidated this – marketing really has become a brand in your hand. As Roger says it is up close and personal. By taking our marketing into the social media world we are butting into conversations among friends. We must be careful here as the potential for rejection is very high. Roger‘s observation is that we are now helping people to buy not selling. Of course that is what the best selling had always done, an no matter how we approach it selling is the end goal. So it’s marketing Jim, but not how we know it.

The Journal of Arts Marketing is published by The Arts Marketing Association