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Case Study: How BALTIC’s online shop refresh led to a marketing strategy rethink

Responsible for BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art’s retail enterprises, driving growth and identifying commercial opportunities, Head of Retail, Sara Ley takes us through the organisation’s marketing strategy rethink.

What did you want to achieve?

We moved our online shop to a new platform in 2015. This generated a significant increase in sales in the following years, but as this growth slowed down we recognised we needed advice and support with our marketing strategy.

What led you to reach out to the Digital Culture Network?

We’re a small team and we didn’t have the expertise internally. We were producing basic marketing content but our lack of knowledge meant we didn’t know what the possibilities were and what approach to take. We also didn’t know how to interpret the data we were getting back to further inform future activity so needed practical support in this area too.

How did you do it?

One of our Trading Board members works for the Arts Council and she initially put us in touch with the eCommerce Tech Champion at the time. We had a couple of online meetings which were really informative and allowed us to pinpoint which areas we needed further support in. We were introduced to two more Tech Champions who we then set meetings up with.

What happened?

Over a period of around 12 months, we worked directly with the Email Marketing Tech Champion. As we were novices with no digital marketing experience, the Tech Champion’s approach was to break down this subject area into manageable sections, such as segmentation and A/B Testing. We were given practical advice on-screen and then given the opportunity to test out what we’d learned and then report on the results.

What have you learned?

We found the support and advice we were given invaluable, particular at such a testing time. Covid had meant we were reduced to trading online only for a period and even out of lockdown eCommerce is a hugely important income stream for us.

As an organisation we have recognised the importance of the digital world and have undertaken a review of all our departments, identifying where expertise is lacking and where support and training is required. Our retail team now has a dedicated digital marketeer so although we are no longer producing content ourselves we have the knowledge to interpret the results we’re getting and to advise on future strategy.

Would you recommend the Digital Culture Network?

Yes. The support we were given was outstanding and because it was one to one we were able to pinpoint exactly where our knowledge was lacking and tailor the training exactly to our business.

What’s next?

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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