Last week ANSM held a two day Marketing and Revenue Generation Workshop (Nov. 3-4) at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (MMA). We were thrilled to welcome Rosalyn Rubenstein as our presenter. Rosalyn holds a Master’s degree in Museum Studies and provides museum studies training to a number of museums across the country.
During this workshop, participants were challenged to identify their: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in their museums. It is crucial to ‘be in the know’ when working with your museum, you can do this by looking closely at day-to-day operations and performance. Once you have identified these four things, you can use this knowledge to develop a strong business plan.
Participants were asked to think about ways to create effective marketing for museums. Rosalyn noted that museums are not only selling tangible things, like gift shop tokens, they are also selling intangible things, such as the visitor experience. She prompted participants to think about ways to put in place effective marketing in museums. Group ideas included:
-connect with local organizations that focus on community outreach/public programming at their own facility to develop new relationships and cross-promote
-host museum events and workshops to generate interest in the museum (creating a fun and unique experience)
-work with museum archives to find related material to boost public programming/event content
-think about opportunities in marketing materials and website design
-search for grant opportunities and actively pursue funding
One of the things that Rosalyn repeated is that business plans should be reworked and revisited, especially when pursuing grants. Museums are ever-changing. There can easily be a shift in staffing, volunteers, board of directors, public programming, etc. It is crucial to review and update your business plan when developing grant applications because you want to submit a business plan that reflects current activities, goals, budgets, and marketing strategies. It is also important to work collectively as a group, be open to sharing ideas and brainstorm when developing your business plan.
Rosalyn asked the group to explore the exhibits at the MMA in an effort to identify ways the museum generates revenue. Participants noted that the MMA thinks beyond their collections when creating opportunity for revenue generation. They learned that the MMA generates revenue by:
-creating an opportunity for learning through public programming (i.e. workshops that focus on developing skills that directly relate to the museum’s mandate, such as ropework)
-facility rentals, including theatre
-partnering with local festivals, such as Devour! The Food Film Fest
In conclusion, Rosalyn reminded participants that those involved with their museums are leaders in their communities and that it is important to embrace the social value of museums. In order to develop a successful plan for marketing and revenue, museum representatives must work together to identify the museum’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and actively network in the community to build both strong and lasting relationships.