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An Inclusive Approach to Marketing

Louise Storie, MGS Marketing and Communications Manager, shares her team’s ongoing journey to inclusive marketing, along with valuable insights gained.

Twin teenagers with dark skin and long black braided hair stand and pose for a selfie in a mid-20th century sweet shop. An older adult with light skin and a floral apron stands and smiles behind the teenagers.

The challenge

Since the pandemic, our annual marketing campaign has helped raise the profile of museums and galleries. The #MuseumsAreGo campaign centres around a simple Google map which shows museums that are open to visitors.  

Our marketing approach evolved in response to repeated lockdowns. Our goal during the pandemic was to let people know that museums were reopening and were safe places to visit. We used local radio and targeted regional press to get the message out.

We took a more targeted approach as the tourism industry opened up, choosing to focus on underrepresented audiences and challenging the idea of what you can and can’t do in museums. We wanted to promote museums and galleries as exciting and entertaining places where everyone is welcome. We wanted to showcase diverse voices from different communities and share their museum and gallery experiences through various media to encourage others to visit.  

We set ourselves a challenge, but now we needed a plan. Who were these audiences and how were we going to reach them? 

Working with micro-influencers

We had already dipped our toe into the world of micro-influencers with great results. We worked with Scottish bloggers the Chaotic Scot and That Museum Girl to promote museums and galleries off the beaten track.

Micro-influencers are people with a large social media or blog audience. Think thousands of followers, rather than millions. Besides making their own original content, they also promote social media content or blog posts for a fee. Micro-influencers are skilled and versatile individuals who work as writers, photographers, and videographers.  

In 2022 we were invited by VisitScotland to join forces for an influencer campaign which aimed to promote visits to museums and galleries in Scotland’s cities. We jumped at this opportunity to work in partnership to extend our reach beyond traditional media channels. This joint marketing campaign, now in its second year, has enabled us to reach new audiences and work with influencers who embody the values of our organisation. You can see the outcomes of the 2022 campaign on the VisitScotland corporate website. 

This year we worked with influencer @simplyemmablog, an accessible travel and disability blogger. We arranged for her to visit the Scottish Fisheries Museum and Wardlaw Museum. She documented her trip on her blog, Instagram, and YouTube channels. Emma was also part of an advertorial we commissioned with The Skinny Magazine. An interview about her trip was published in print and online for the July edition of the magazine. 

Key benefits to working with influencers:

  • Reaches different audiences through different perspectives.
  • Money goes directly to the influencers, so supports the growth of diverse voices in media.
  • Low cost, high impact approach.
  • You can have influence over who you choose to work with, so can prioritise diverse voices.

Non-traditional media

As well as partnering with influencers, we’re reducing our reliance on traditional media like newspapers, TV, and magazines. We’ve been venturing into alternative avenues like podcasts, vlogs, and community press. This shift led us to collaborate once more with The Skinny, an independent media platform which shares our values. Advertising with them broadened our audience reach, promoted diversity, and provided a platform for more varied voices in the media.  

Our PR agency The Space InBetween helped us research other suitable titles to work with. Together, we developed a pitch-based approach to position different ways of experiencing a museum with a focus on the value of play in museums.  This has resulted in a podcast episode with Play Scotland which airs in November and is aimed at education practitioners. 

Going forward

We are only at the start of our inclusive marketing journey, but already have a clearer idea of what the challenges are and what we’d like to achieve. We’ll continue to share our learnings with the sector and support museums and galleries with their own journeys towards inclusive marketing.

If you would like further advice on inclusive marketing or have any learnings that you could share with us, we would love to hear from you.