New Marketing Success Guide published

AIM’s latest Success Guide on Marketing seeks to demystify the discipline for small and medium-sized museums, providing an overview of what marketing is and a helpful framework for developing a strategy and action plan.  

Marketing is much more than simply selling or publicity. It involves: 

  • Understanding who your competitors are, the context you operate in and trends and developments that may affect this 
  • Identifying and understanding who your current audiences and potential audiences are  
  • Understanding their needs and preferences 
  • Providing a service or product that they want and value – at the right price, place and time
  • Reaching and communicating with them
  • Engaging them and retaining their custom. 

In museums, marketing involves identifying and satisfying audiences’ needs, ensuring there is demand for the museum’s products and services. Marketing is an exchange process, meaning a museum aims to offer its audiences something that they value (e.g. a day out, a learning experience, information, entertainment) in exchange for the audiences’ money, time and/or attention.   

Many small and medium-sized museums do not have any dedicated marketing staff so marketing will often be a shared responsibility or part of one person’s broader remit. Whilst the lack of marketing staff and budgets can make marketing more challenging, it can make decision-making more focussed and the planning process principles are the same, regardless of budget.   

Today there are also many opportunities open to museums that don’t require any budget, from social media marketing to e-newsletters and partnership cross-referrals. And in an era of fake news, climate crisis, vast political and societal changes, there are huge opportunities for museums. Museums can play a hugely pivotal role as places of reflection and sanctuary as well as wonder and escapism; as trusted and safe spaces; helping people to understand big issues and navigate change; and connecting audiences to their local community and heritage.   

The Marketing Success Guide gives museums a clear marketing strategy framework that can be used and adapted to your specific requirements. It offers a practical approach to marketing, along with suggestions, advice, and case studies to illustrate marketing in practice.   

Understanding Your Audiences Success Guide  

The recently published Understanding Your Audiences Success Guide is a companion guide to Marketing and is best read first if you haven’t already done so.   

Understanding who your audiences are forms the basis for effective marketing as it allows museums to be targeted and deliver the right message to the right groups of people.   

About the author  

Christina Lister is a marketing and audience development consultant, trainer and facilitator working in the cultural sector. She has worked in marketing and communications for 17 years including for a global skincare brand, PR agency and heritage charity. As a consultant she specialises in strategy development and is passionate about empowering organisations and teams to undertake effective marketing. Christina is a member of the Arts Marketing Association and the Visitor Studies Group. She also co-founded and jointly runs the Museum Freelance Network which aims to champion and support freelancers and consultants working with museums, heritage sites, archives, libraries and galleries.  

Read the Success Guide – Marketing here.