School for the Creative and Cultural Industries


Creative Careers: Digital marketing in tomorrow’s art world

9 February 2024

We invited entrepreneur and arts marketing expert Ginny Wan to share her experiences and deliver a masterclass on strategies for digital marketing in an ever-evolving arts landscape.

Ginny Wan smiling and standing next to a brightly-coloured screen reading 'Digital Marketing Planning and Practice for arts organisations'

Ginny Wan met with students from the School for the Creative and Cultural Industries (SCCI) to discuss her career path as an arts marketing professional and how she has adapted her strategies in an increasingly ‘phygital’ world - that is a world where digital and physical art spaces are becoming interconnected.

After studying for a BA in Philosophy from UCL and a Masters in Management from London Business School, Ginny had several volunteer and sales roles in galleries and auction houses, including prestigious auction house Christie’s. She then ventured into entrepreneurship, creating her own art and tech apps, but she felt the commercial art sector was not being innovative enough and took a career detour into tech and digital marketing. From there, Ginny embarked on a renewed mission: to bring digital innovation and education to the arts world.
In the first part of the masterclass, students were taken through what a “psychological deep dive’ might look like -  identifying the motivations, interests and concerns of their key audiences, the best channels and methods to reach them, and the importance of building a high-converting, trusted brand that keeps people coming back again and again. As Ginny says, "Above all, marketing is about effective and heartfelt communications. We need to build emotional resonance with the perceiver”.

The second part of the session focused on Web 3  - which describes a newly emerging phygital (online and offline) space, a decentralised platform where users have greater ownership and control over the content. Central to the Web 3 experience are non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain-based tokens that each represent a unique asset like a piece of art, digital content, or media. Ginny describes NFTs as a “membership card but recorded on the blockchain and stored in a digital wallet”.

NFTs have the potential to transform our experiences of art. For example, it can create living works of art through digital twins and augmented reality (AR), open galleries to global audiences in the metaverse, and enable the co-creation of art collectibles that can be saved in our digital wallets!  

Technology has a way to go, but technological advances are opening up new possibilities and access to multisensory, community-driven experiences of the arts. As Ginny points out, at the core of effective marketing is knowing that “people don’t buy things, they buy feelings.” Connecting with people should always be at the centre of any marketing strategy and the art world is no exception.  

Ginny's top tips for a digital marketing career in the arts

  • Know Yourself, Be You. Take an Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality quiz - are you a party-loving extrovert or a cozy introvert? Do you thrive in team settings or prefer solo missions? It's all about finding your groove!
  • Get Real About Your Passion. Dive deep into what makes you tick in the arts world. Is it your love for creativity or a rebellious streak against societal norms? Figure out why you're drawn to certain things and what makes your heart sing.
  • Try Before You Buy - Career Edition. Do a little career window shopping! Hit up LinkedIn or your school's alumni network to chat with pros in your dream field. Ask them if they'd hit replay on their career or if they've got any hot tips for other paths to explore. But remember, it's all about giving as much as you get.
  • Stay Curious, Stay Sharp. After graduation, the real learning begins! Dive into the endless sea of knowledge on YouTube and Google. Become the captain of your own learning ship and sail towards digital marketing mastery.
  • Embrace 'Wuwei'. In Daoism, 'Wuwei' means letting things flow naturally. So, in your digital marketing journey, don't stress! Stay open to new adventures, trust your gut, and watch the magic happen.

Ginny Wan is the Founder of Surreal Digital, an agency offering digital marketing consultancy and education for artists, art galleries and start-ups, and Metasurreal, an incubator supporting artists to turn art into NFTs.

This masterclass is part of our Creative Careers series with UCL Careers, which aims to highlight different career pathways and employment options through talks and learning from inspiring speakers and leaders in the creative and cultural industries.