My involvement in the Blueprint festival was mainly based in the exhibition strand of the festival; I was its project manager and played a large part in devising the concept and curating among other things. In the exhibition team our focus was on generating submissions through getting the word out about the exhibition. This involved having the Open Call on the Tate website and going into local schools to promote the festival in the view of highlighting that people aged 15- 25 could submit their work.
A large part of our budget for the overall festival was spent on a local radio campaign. We were advised to do one because it is usually a really effective way of bringing in more visitors. However we found out that for our young audience radio advertisements don’t have the desired effect, and the main way the festival was heard about was through word of mouth. Of all the data gathered it is this statistic which jumped out at me as most significant and in need of being shown: 37% of visitors heard of the festival through word of mouth, and all of 0% of visitors were there as a result of hearing the expensive radio campaign. The data comes from surveys which were given by volunteers at the festival. A small percentage came across the event via digital outputs such as social media, as well as through material like posters and leaflets.
This insight into the effects of how the overall festival was advertised to the public is extremely useful going forward. If I were to go back to the beginning of Blueprint and do it all over again I would put marketing higher on the agenda and have that more thoroughly discussed across all of the different strands of the festival. I would suggest to focus our marketing budget more in social media areas, along with posters and leaflets, as they drew more interest even with little budget, and also suggest we ramp up our efforts going into the local community to make people aware of what we are offering them in person. This could be done with more of the presentations that we gave in schools or a less formal effort of handing out leaflets on the street and offering information to anyone who happens to be passing. From personal experience I find I’m more likely to attend an event if I am directly given the information about it.
I’m Steven Hyland, a member of Tate Collective Liverpool.