Embracing Technology
Even if it Seems a Little Scary

Today’s guest blog post is written by Elise Rebmann, Renewals and Retention Manager, Patron Technology.

If you’re like me, you’re not generally an early adopter of the latest gadget. Much like Maggie Smith’s portrayal of the Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey, I prefer to wait and see where things go before I make an investment decision. I bought my first smartphone in 2014, and my family still doesn’t own a tablet. Yet, being alive now means getting to be a part of important conversations about embracing technology and curating its use in our lives. 

The New York Times published an article this weekend about how quickly the visual art world has embraced virtual reality technology. It is a truly fascinating read, and I appreciate the thoughtful commentary about altered reality. Still, I flatly refused to buy my 11-year-old a VR headset for Christmas. Yes, I’m a mean mom, and I know it’s just a toy to him. Trust me though, he needs figure out how to navigate middle school in actual reality first. That said, I’m super excited to visit one of these new VR exhibitions.    

Humanized Big Data is another term that I’m a little uncomfortable with as it brings up images of The Matrix to me. Luckily, this is also a conversation we get to have right now, and who better than PBS to help us navigate such an important topic. If I didn’t own a smartphone, I wouldn’t be able to understand how this works. Embracing that technology, even super late, ensures I can participate in this important discussion in a meaningful way.

And if I’m being completely honest, cloud-based CRM technology is also something that seemed a little scary at first. I have come to wholeheartedly embrace it as it’s improved so much of what we can do now for our patrons and for our organizations.

We used to think almost exclusively about using marketing dollars to increase our audience, but over the past several years we are hearing more and more from organizations such as TRG suggesting that balancing that outreach with a sustained organizational commitment to deepening relationships with your existing patrons is absolutely essential to growth. It’s not just performing arts consultants saying this either as Surprise and Delight has also been embraced by commercial brands as an effective way to increase loyalty.  

The first step is working with your data about your humans so you can focus on making sure they feel valued and appreciated. I am the biggest fan of list segmentation – please try it. It’s the easiest step to sustained and healthy growth for your organization, and CRM technology makes it easy.

Last week, I had a conversation with one of our clients about how much the world has changed.  She bemoaned her grandchildren’s immersion in their smartphones, and I told her how it drives me crazy when I find my children watching TV and playing games on their phones at the same time.

We share a history of growing up without the internet, but we agreed that we are here now and it is indeed an exciting time to participate in the world – technology and all. Just like Violet Crawley, I want to be involved in meaningful conversations about our world. Even if it’s a little scary, embracing technology can create insight and more importantly, it can give you a seat at the table in the main dining room where all the important discussions happen.

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