1909 is the marketing agency for museums. Members of our team have deep experience and passion for museums and the cultural sector. We know this industry inside and out.
Our Co-Founder Lori likes to say there is life after museums—and sometimes that life includes museums. Not all of our clients are museums, but some of our favorite projects are the ones where we get to help museums think more strategically about their digital infrastructure, both internally and externally. We were excited to learn about Terentia because we’re always on the lookout for other technology companies with similar values. We also love partnering with firms who provide other services that can complement what we do in the museum sector.
Terentia is a new cloud-native, API-centric platform that provides the tools, access, and scalability that an institution deserves to solve modern problems. The Terentia platform is dedicated to empowering cultural institutions to manage data, develop insights and tell compelling stories in the digital age. Through continuous collaboration with cultural organizations, Terentia develops, implements, and supports cloud-native software solutions for digital asset management, collections management, and workflow process for the industry.
What do we love the most about Terentia? As museum teams are thinking about how they’re storing and sharing content with with the world in a post-pandemic era, Terentia is a company that’s squarely audience-focused.
When we looked into Terentia, we found a platform that’s not solely a DAMS or collections management system. it’s is not just one tool, but a toolkit. Terentia has fully integrated applications and services to help the cultural sector manage collections and digital assets, ultimately enabling discovery, public engagement, and revenue generation.
We’re grateful to have the opportunity to introduce Terentia CEO, Neal Bilow, and Chief Product Officer, Adrian Cooper, to our clients:
Put the best digital foot forward
Before becoming Terentia’s CEO, Neal saw firsthand how shifts in digital infrastructure were affecting content storage, delivery, and aggregation over twenty years in the media industry. He founded Terentia with the belief that if the media industry could figure out an effective content pipeline for television, the cultural industry could also do the same. While Neal was consulting for museums, he realized that a key pain point in the content pipeline for museums was that different departments used different systems to organize content, and those systems were rarely integrated. Terentia’s mission is to empower museums to be more effective storytellers by bringing together the many systems for organizing assets, allowing museum professionals to more easily discover and share content.
Some vendors we encounter want to build for instead of with the museum community. Terentia understands that collaboration is the way to develop more effective tools—and connecting with cultural institutions is key to Terentia’s growth and success. Terentia partnered with Henry Stewart Events to conduct four listening studies and also surveyed museum professionals. Chief Product Officer Adrian Cooper has shared their model at sector conferences, like the recent talk at the Henry Stewart DAMS Conference. They also announced a strategic partnership with the Computer History Museum.
Neal believes the only way to introduce dynamic new ways of thinking and technology is to work collaboratively around use cases. This philosophy shows in Terentia’s products. We were immediately drawn to Terentia’s community-first approach to testing and innovating new technology and services. As another example of that collaborative, community-first approach, on April 15, Neal is leading a webinar discussion on demystifying the Cloud and what this means for your DAM for Henry Stewart Events. The session will showcase real examples from the cultural institutions joining the discussion.
Aligning in values and brand
As a company whose name is also infused with historic learnings, 1909 loved learning the ancient Roman origins behind the name “Terentia.” Historically, Terentia was the partner of the philosopher and orator Cicero, a contemporary of Augustus and Mark Antony. Terentia was a self-funded woman who served as a patron of the arts. The team invoke their namesake when they apply their technology-rich background from other sectors to the arts.
At 1909 DIGITAL, we’re constantly thinking about how technology can improve audience experience. Most museum visitors unaware of the role that a DAM plays in their experience, but Terentia is looking beyond the traditional role of a DAM for audiences by considering the role of social media and other forms of engagement. Their mission is to empower cultural institutions to manage, discover, share, engage, and trade in the digital age.
For Terentia, 2021 is going to be a year of growth and delivery. In order to make it through the pandemic, many institutions started thinking about what it meant to be digital-first. Now that organizations have begun to embrace a new digital mindset, Terentia is the tool to help them take the next steps.
The staff at Terentia is most excited about the positive response to their product as they begin rolling out partnerships with more major institutions. The company hopes to scale this year and is looking forward to learning as users grow in their experience with the platform. They believe their technology will give organizations the ability to experiment on the platform, and this experimentation will fuel innovation.
The future of Terentia, with 1909 DIGITAL
We’ve created digital engagement and social media strategies for cultural institutions and other nonprofit clients. As organizations thought through digital transformation last year, they hired us to provide content strategy, workflow recommendations, and process implementation for their teams. We saw firsthand how the lack of effective tools can hold institutions back.
In his recent talk at the Henry Stewart DAMS conference, Adrian cited a recent Knight Foundation report:
“Organizations need to develop muscle and mindset for digital transformation.”
Adrian followed up with Terentia’s philosophy:
“Successful innovation requires a mature mindset to understand where you want to go.”
We love the metaphor of muscle and mindset. Institutions—or their digital consulting partners—provide mindset, but we need data management services and tools as the muscle to make executing strategies possible. Terentia is a muscle built from strong and thoughtful strategy, helping institutions engage visitors in their content. We recommend Terentia as the muscle that will help our clients power through their pain points.
The world of digitally-focused cultural institutions is vast, and we can’t wait to see what Terentia does next!
The month of March may not ever lose the sting that comes with reminiscences of quarantine and urgent closures. As cultural sector professionals and supporters, we hold space for our friends and colleagues who have faced immense professional and personal challenges this year from museum closures, layoffs, and furloughs.
Due to our close ties to the cultural field, co-owner Lori Byrd-McDevitt was asked to share her thoughts on the state of museums in digital after attending the annual Museum Computer Network conference.
A version of this blog originally appeared in Jing Culture & Commerce in January 2021.
When we launched 1909 DIGITAL six months before the coronavirus-imposed lockdowns began, our goal was to help organizations put their best digital foot forward. With over a decade of experience at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and the Museum Computer Network, I was excited to take our strategy-approach to clients in the cultural sector. As the world began turning virtual, we found clients had a newfound urgency to adopt the strategies 1909 DIGITAL was established to share. At the same time, we watched as friends and colleagues were overworked and expected to perform “digital technology miracles” —those who kept their jobs.
After a year of working virtually and supporting those who are, here are the trends we’ve seen in museums:
A need for Agile workflow
While new audience-facing digital initiatives receive most attention, we believe digital connectivity and competence begins internally with an embrace of agile processes. This means realigning workloads and capacities to allow cultural stakeholders to better plan and execute tasks. As an all-remote nine-person team spread out across different time zones and states, Agile methodology is our go-to at 1909 DIGITAL. More importantly, we believe it has value for cultural organizations irrespective of size or status. But I only know a couple of museums that are actually trying Agile with their teams.
Streamlined digital process
When everything goes online, it suddenly becomes apparent there needs to be clear process, centralized resources, and messaging consistency. More and more of our 1909 DIGITAL projects are about workflow templates, tools, and empowering teams to collaborate together online. A streamlined workflow is the foundation to success.
Utilizing team resources
When we start a new project we get in and talk to as many people as possible. We ask everyone, “What do you love to do, what do you want to do more?” and assess everyone’s skill sets. We might shift little roles around to get people excited and motivated; it’s not that roles or titles shift dramatically. Little steps seem simple, but people just don’t do it. They roll along and don’t have the chance to stop and think of these changes.
Mental health first
Museums need to be more intentional with capacity and tasks and give team members the space to breathe. Don’t keep piling on work. I tie agile and mental health together; they create a safe space to talk about what is going well and what isn’t. The more we speak about mental health and think about mental health, the more it might become a thing in our workplaces.
The digital “pivot”
Museums got really creative in 2020 creating live events and exclusive content. Much of this was around member events and this is inherently a revenue driver. But there’s also the non-traditional museum-goer willing to pay for opportunities. The hard work is to really specifically target audiences with digital advertising to reach niche audiences on both a national and international level.
Finding niche audiences
The competition for museums is now Netflix and YouTube. It’s a mistake to keep targeting your same audience. That’s the shift in 2021: taking the great content and targeting it well. It’s about knowing who the content audience is. For example, that artist talk in your gallery — who are the fans of that artist? You need to know the tools in Facebook and Google to target your niche and find those that will pay for the live experience, not just locals. But the problem is that many museums laid off half their digital communications team in 2020, so the skillset is no longer on-staff.
Where we’re going next
Museum relevance has been an issue for a long time and people will be choosing carefully what they spend money on. You wonder if museums will be a top priority for families, tourists, or locals. The cultural sector will need to keep investing in virtual experiences and hands-free experiences. This is an area I’m keeping an eye on, because no matter what the health climate might be, the average person may still not feel safe to return to regular activities. There’s no going back; people will continue to expect virtual experiences.
As we mark a year since the start of the pandemic, we acknowledge our incredible fortune to grow our business despite tremendous loss in the field. We will continue to monitor trends in digital as we emerge slowly into the post-pandemic world and will continue to support colleagues who have been less lucky.
The co-owners of 1909—Jarred, Chris, and I—love to have tongue-in-cheek debates about who is “better friends” with the long-time digital marketers we’ve known for years. (We think we’re hilarious, but our team members probably think we’re obnoxious.) Indianapolis is “the world’s biggest small town” where we’re lucky to have grown up knowing most of the core circle of great minds figuring out this crazy industry together.
Weirdly, until 2019 Jarred, Chris, and I were all in separate friend groups and didn’t know one another for nearly fifteen years moving in the same circles. But we all know Rocky Walls. Rocky is kind-hearted, a big thinker, and gracious with his time. When he started 12 Stars Media as a small video production company in 2007, he was the one you wholeheartedly rooted for.
Rocky is one of those people you’re proud to say you know. You better believe we have had an endless “fight” over who has known him longest. (I still think it’s me. I worked with Rocky and his team for years at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis doing the series This Week’s WOW! But Chris and Jarred won’t back down.)
It’s clear that we’re fans of the owner and team behind 12 Stars Media, and for good reason. Over the years he’s taken his full-service video production business to the next level by focusing on storytelling and supporting creative projects that aim to make the world a better place.
Video production extraordinaires
There are a variety of professionals in the film and video industry. While many organizations may use a professional video production team for a project, it’s rare that thought is put to, “What kind of professional video production company makes the most sense for my project?”
For businesses that want to dig in and craft a story around their brand with a team of creatives, we will always recommend 12 Stars Media. Unlike companies that come in just to shoot what a client tells them to, Rocky’s team is creatively strategic. They work with clients to plan, direct, shoot, and produce video that taps into the most valuable resource most companies have—their people. 12 Stars Media is laser-focused on character-driven storytelling, and character isn’t a word they throw around lightly. Because the team at 12 Stars Media does the work ahead of time through research, pre-interview phone calls, and focus groups, they can ensure that the people who show up on camera are truly authentic, interesting, and inspiring.
12 Stars Media employs a full time team with a range of professional skills and experience. They’re the perfect fit for those who want to make use of video but need support in where to begin, what kind of video would work well, and how to produce it. They work as a seamless extension of your team, specializing in research and development all the way through to the distribution of a project.
Making the world a better place through storytelling
Coursing through the heart of 12 Stars Media is the belief that anyone can make the world a better place—sometimes in big ways, sometimes small. They also believe that humans accomplish more by connecting with each other. While “documentary” may come to mind when thinking about business-related professional video production, it can be so much more. Storytelling is a powerfully nuanced communication tool.
12 Stars Media has worked with cultural institutions, large corporations, entrepreneurs, and everything in between to tell character-driven stories. Businesses aren’t just the buildings you walk into. They are the people within those buildings, and they have a backstory that involves passion, blood, sweat, and tears. Creating visual stories around those experiences is incredibly humanizing and has the power to connect brands to their communities and customers.
You’ll hear us say it again and again—we love partnering with companies who keep the focus on humans. The 12 Stars Media team aligns with our mission in every way.
The icing on the cake? Supporting our friend after watching him build such a fantastic business from the ground up.
In a year full of transition and the changing landscape of what is considered “normal,” we’ve seen brands struggle to keep up with the digital demands of doing business online. Whether you want to call this a “new normal” or a temporary change in the way business is done, there’s no doubt digital is more important than ever. But that’s a tough pill to swallow for the many brands and small businesses who thrive on providing quality customer service directly to their patrons.
This is where we fit in. We’re a team that augments yours. We humanize brands and add quality processes to the way business is done so you can keep doing the good work you’ve always done. And because we’re digitally focused, we work with partners that complement our menu of services.
Enter, Marketpath CMS, the fully managed Web Content Management and Digital Experience solution for businesses that meets the needs of marketers, developers, and editors with a full-featured toolset and superior support.
Your Website Is Your Storefront & Greeter
Since websites are often the first impression these days, what does yours say about your business? Is your website sending the right message to your existing and potential clients? Do you feel like your website might look okay but doesn’t really communicate what you want to say? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions let’s talk. We have branding expertise in house and work with fantastic partners to make your business dreams a reality.
Websites are often one of the first touch points between your potential clients and your business. In a time where websites are more important than ever, don’t you want yours to reflect the core of you, your business, and the great work you do? Of course you do!
We work with our clients to complete a thorough and extensive process that digs in and digs up the very essence of your business to develop messaging, context, and clear strategies to make your brand make sense. We build strategies to communicate those messages through numerous channels.
An optimized website is more crucial now to that process than ever. Marketpath partners with us to make your brand come to life.
The Details Matter
We hear it often: Clients just want a clean and simple website with no fluff; just down to business. That’s great! And we’d be willing to bet what they actually want is a website that does its job by communicating on behalf of their brand and converts potential clients into paying clients.
What you want and what we see are not mutually exclusive things. We take your vision, push it through our process, and turn your brand into a multifaceted digital experience that works for your clients. Websites are an art form and Marketpath CMS has the tools to fully customize customer engagement and conversions with the capability to personalize a virtual experience for each visitor.
The bottom line? Your website has to work for your customers. Marketpath offers better organization, faster deployment, and stronger security. The details in a website matter and Marketpath CMS is excellent at providing the flexibility to build the things other systems miss. And because websites need to work for the end user (yes, we’re bringing this up again!), Marketpath is database driven, meaning your website is powered by users and customers.
We’re proud of our extended suite of preferred partners. We’re here to help your business make more sense online and we’re ready with the team and partners to serve you. If you haven’t already, go ahead and check out a sample list of our services.
We’re a proud team of creative strategists and digital marketing experts with in-depth skillsets running the gamut of owned media, branding and messaging, and paid and earned media. (And that’s just our internal team!) We work with our clients to layout a foundational strategy that works for them and their individual needs, which means we occasionally partner with other agencies to ensure the needs of our clients are met and exceeded. One of the partner agencies we have the privilege to work with is Anderson Creative, a strategic design, branding, and creative development group based just outside Indianapolis, Indiana. Some of the services they provide include branding consulting, identity systems, design, and experiential brand development.
They’re not only a great compliment to our roster of skills but they’re good people that make client meetings productive and fun.
The visual power of branding
Jake and Arin are the founding team at Anderson Creative: a husband and wife duo creating beautifully designed brands which stand out artfully and practically. These two very cool people bring brands to life through powerful visuals and smart identity systems. They make brand elements that work cohesively for their clients. They’re client-focused and have creative ideas for communicating brands beyond just words on a webpage.
As interdisciplinary artists, Jake and Arin bring their love of all things visual to their daily work and help clients find their own tailored look and feel.
When worklife is also homelife
As career creatives, both Jake and Arin started out working for companies who helped shape their entrepreneurial perspective. As Jake says, their business “happened by accident.” They focus on what they’re great at (not just good at) and found they were able to quit their jobs and pursue their own business through working on side gigs and projects. They’ve been successful in creating a work/life balance that compensates for the difficulties of working from home and directly with a spouse. While they’ve been working remotely for years–something new many of us are learning to do in 2020–they’ve really found their groove.
Jake and Arin shared some of their learnings for finding productivity while being homebound:
- They work well together but also found they work well apart. They divide and conquer to work efficiently.
- They make sure to recharge by pursuing creative hobbies apart because they share a living space.
- Arin treats the day as if she were still commuting to work. It helps her shift her mindset. It’s a good way to help ramp up to the day AND shut down for the day.
- Jake identifies as someone who despises routine but recognizes the need for a flexible routine. He operates on discipline, getting the work done by giving into creative impulses and not sticking to strict rules.
- Dinnertime. They make an effort to close out their business day and enjoy a family meal together. This can be challenging in a world where you can work anywhere and at any time. Unplugging at the end of the day is something many people struggle to do.
They help us put the “pro” in “projects”
We work hard to find solutions that work holistically for new clients. That often means consulting with other agencies to give our clients the tools they need to succeed digitally. Because we’re nimble, we work with businesses who match our drive and our commitment to client success. We’re proud to have Anderson Creative on our side. They’re smart, creative, and good people all around. Those are things we believe in.
As anyone in the professional world knows, sometimes businesses work harder (not smarter) than they need to. At 1909 DIGITAL, we’re all about finding smart, efficient solutions for our clients. We pride ourselves on transparent processes so we can help clients smash their goals. As a digital marketing agency with decades of experience, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to digital marketing. So to highlight one of the GOOD (read: very good) businesses in the digital space, we’re excited to introduce you to our preferred partner, Convesio, a smarter (to use a beloved meme)…Ho-sted WordPress solution. We think they make WordPress hosting pretty fashionable, if not efficient.
What is Convesio?
Convesio is the next generation of managed WordPress hosting. They describe themselves as the first self-healing, autoscaling, platform-as-a-service solution for creating and managing WordPress sites. This means that behind the scenes they keep your website up and running with no downtime, they automatically fix broken plugins, and they increase your site’s loading speed (just to name a few features).
Other services their awesome team offers: quality support from WordPress experts, the peace of mind knowing your website won’t go down, and the ability to easily choose your backup preferences and how long you keep them.
Why we partner with Convesio
If you’re a business owner or have worked on the website-side of a business, you know how frustrating and stressful it is when your web platform goes through an upgrade. Did anything break? Are my plugins still functioning? Did I back everything up properly? These questions are just the start of a laundry list of questions that keep so many of us in the digital marketing space up at night. However, thanks to Convesio’s services, that’s no longer something we worry about.
At 1909 DIGITAL, we’re always on the lookout for smarter technical solutions for our clients. While ensuring efficiency, reliability, and profitability is a must, having awesome humans who make things happen is much more important. This is Convesio’s secret sauce— high quality service plus amazing humans offering the customer support when needed.
Why they’re a great choice for our clients
We are in the business of helping our clients go beyond achieving their goals, to smashing their goals. Convesio is right there with us. They are also super affordable and offer competitive pricing. Like us, Convesio is always transparent with pricing, which is an important value for our team. Their solutions are scalable for your business and you’ll gain peace of mind as you no longer worry about your website going down due to a broken plugin. By decreasing your website’s load time, you’ll also improve the user experience for your clients and customers.
1909 DIGITAL + Convesio have your back
We are passionate about the work we do and the relationships we build, both with our clients and our partners. We only work with businesses and clients who fit in line with our values, so it only makes sense to connect the two! We exclusively recommend the best in the biz. We know you’ll learn a lot by speaking with one of their reps, so go ahead and give them a call, and see why we prefer them for WordPress hosting and support.