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Case Study: Brighton Fringe experiments to improve audience engagement

Digital Marketing Coordinator, Jamie Haas, takes us on Brighton Fringe’s journey with the Digital Culture Network in a case study from February 2021.

Dancer performing on stage at Brighton Fringe Festival with book in hand

About the organisation

Brighton Fringe is England’s largest arts festival. I am Jamie, the Digital Marketing Coordinator, so I manage our social media accounts, write copy, put together e-newsletters amongst other things. We run an annual open access; large-scale event hosted across the city of Brighton & Hove in a variety of venues which can take any form. We are an international festival that is at the same time rooted in the community, embracing any/every form of artistic expression. We support both new and established performers in trying out new work and taking risks; as a registered charity it is important that our year-round activity benefit society in a meaningful way.

What did you want to achieve?

We began to work with the Digital Culture Network to learn more about how we could get the most out of our audiences. We were in the process of writing new strategies for our email marketing and socials and sought guidance/support from the Digital Culture Network. We wanted to make sure we were using the digital tools we already had to their full potential, and also getting the most out of our current audience while reaching new ones. We had no real point of reference about how our campaigns were performing, so we were looking to find out whether our engagement, CTR (click-through rate), sign up and other rates were good or not, and how these could be improved. It was really useful to hear ideas about how we could get the most out of our platforms, and it was especially useful to have an expert sounding board to bounce ideas off and be inspired by.

What led you to contact the Digital Culture Network?

Our marketing manager Rosie had had support from the Digital Culture Network in a previous role, so we attended some webinars and got in touch with Peggy and Haydn who have both been really helpful in leading insightful 1-2-1 sessions. We were looking to learn about new marketing techniques and analyse our practices to see if we could adopt new strategies moving forward.

How did you do it?

We have added advice and ideas into marketing plans, socials and email strategies and seen a real improvement since. Haydn’s advice has helped us form our social media strategy, leading us to identify our key content pillars and create our vision for our social media calendar. Peggy helped us start our email marketing strategy, highlight the things we were doing well and new tools we could use that we hadn’t tried before, like segmenting lists and A/B testing.

What happened?

We have gained confidence in trying new techniques and seen a growth in engagement across socials and e-news. It has been particularly interesting to adopt the A/B testing on subject lines and seeing how much of a difference different wording makes to our open rates. We’re still in the early stages of implementing these things so analytics are limited, but our open rates sit at around 20-25% since working with the Digital Culture Network, rather than 15-20% before.


We would definitely recommend the Digital Culture Network, even if you’re not sure what you can improve, they will give you the tools and ideas to move forward and be a catalyst for developing your marketing plans. After a conversation with a Tech Champion, you will feel confident and ready to implement all kinds of new ideas into your work.

What’s next?

If you would like to learn more about A/B testing then listen to Peggy’s webinar recording: Test to success! Experiments to optimise your website and email campaigns.

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all arts and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up for our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

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