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Mobile Solution to Museums' Millennial Dilemma

museum, art, cultural institution

If your cultural institution has been debating how best to reverse a trend in declining attendance, the conversation has undoubtedly focused on attracting millennials. You may have read in a recent National Attitudes, Awareness, and Usage Study (NAAU) report that Millennials are more likely than any other demographic to return for multiple visits, and to talk about those visits with others. In other words, attracting Millennials can turn your attendance around.

But attracting Millennials is also a quandary for many cultural institutions.

The NAAU surveys museums, zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens and performing arts groups to understand their audiences and make informed business decisions. According to its study, Millennials should be museum’s and other cultural institutions’ most sought-after audience.

More so than Baby Boomers or Generation Xers, Millennials are willing to return for a second visit within a year, share the experience on social media and with their friends and families, and are also more connected to the Internet. Because they return multiple times, they’re typically the most represented group at successful institutions.

To attract millennials, you have to find them where they are: typically online and swimming in technology. Cultural institutions should incorporate mobile learning and two-way communication with millennial visitors to get them to return. If you impress them by introducing technology they prefer, you’ll get them to return and share their positive experiences via social media. According to The New York Times, a Henri Mattise exhibit at the New York Museum of Modern Art was so packed that the institution had to open its doors around the clock during the exhibit’s closing weekend. The museum is one of the country’s most technologically advanced.

The same article began by declaring that “museums face an uncertain future.” Overall, art museum attendance declined by 5 percent between 2002 and 2012, according to the National Endowment for the Arts. The only demographic that increased during that time was 75-and-older.

“Curators worry most about millennials,” the NYT reported. “How do static galleries of canvas and artifact engage a generation raised on the reactive pleasures of right swipes and hyperlinks?”

Hyperlinks is exactly where you need to follow them. That’s also where Guide by Cell thrives. Our mobile, text-based platform allows you to provide your visitors information, narrative and color where they already expect it: at their fingertips. Guests are able to text in a unique code and access more up-to-date insights, history and meaning than could ever be conveyed on printed placards that, once printed, remain stagnant for months or even years.

With Guide by Cell, you’re able to convey rich media like videos, images and a mobile website with any information you want; be it a tour, specific exhibit information or updates. You can engage visitors to participate in group communication such as polls and quizzes, take them on fun learning activities like treasure hunts, or communicate directly by text or mobile website.  And the system is highly flexible. Our platform is drag-and-drop. You can publish content on the fly and revise content within seconds.

Returning to the NAAU study, one key finding directly connected all visitors who returned to cultural institutions as being “super-connected” to the web. And Millennials are far more super-connected to the web than any key demographic. To attract more millennials, your institution need to better incorporate mobile technology to engage with the demographic.

Visit GuidebyCell.com to learn more about how you can increase engagement, repeat visits and lifetime value with a web-based mobile platform.

Mobile Solution to Museums' Millennial Dilemma

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