Digital Presence: The Evolution and Change

Over the last month, I’ve reflected on what we learned at the Museums and the Web conference in Chicago. The conference, its speakers, and the other attendees were just an amazing source of insight and information on the industry …it’s actually been a tremendous amount to process. What’s really been exciting is to see many of the things we learned playing out through our current museum clients or even in conversations with some of our new prospective clients inside this niche.

However, one conference session keeps coming up in conversation, “Catalyzing Change: Tools and Strategies for Digital Transformation”. Emily Lytle-Painter, Dana Mitroff Silvers, and Carolyn Royston tag-teamed the workshop and it was the perfect way to start out our conference experience. It was their opening discussion that stuck with me the most and I thought to elaborate some of their insight below.

Museums are hungry for digital change and they are looking to learn how they can evolve in this arena. Emily, Dana, and Carolyn focused not only why there is such a technology need, but the specific tools a museum can begin to put in place to start this change. For now, lets take a look at the why…

Three Reasons Why Museums are Looking for Their Online Presence to Evolve

1) Increased financial pressure to become more efficient.
Museums are often some of the first to experience funding cutbacks. That pressure paired with potential fluctuation in donor gifts, can really cause a museum to take a hard look at their operating budget. The good news is museums are asking the right questions and seeking to leverage current online technologies to consolidate outdated systems or remove unnecessary systems.

2) Competition for users’ attention in the digital space.
With so much digital disruption at everyone’s finger tips, potential visitors will make decisions quickly about how and whom they interact with online. Museums have to be found quickly among a growing number of options, all fighting for your attention. Even after arriving at their website, a museum only has a couple seconds to engage the potential user/visitor and show value. If that value is not presented clearly and correctly, the potential user will quickly move on.

3) Desire to connect and have a deep, rich experience online.
When your visitors arrive at your site, they are looking to be engaged and wowed with a depth of content that appeals to them. This will immediately affect how they will identify your brand and consequently, if they are willing to engage with your desired goals. If you are looking for more patrons to visit your physical museum or users to donate time/money, you have to presenting them a wealth of relevant content that they see as valuable.

These 3 points not only started off our conference experience, but they now feed our process with each site we build for our clients in the museum and cultural institution industry. We ask…

  • How can we as a company leverage technology for your museum to maximize your investment and your bottom line?
  • How can we help your museums be found and then stand out in a loud digital environment?
  • How can we best build a platform for a museum not only to create a connection, but to also build a relationship with their intended target audience?

There is still a lot to talk about from the workshop “Catalyzing Change: Tools and Strategies for Digital Transformation”. In my next segment, we will take a look at some of the pain points of museums that often slow down digital progress.