Made Wrapped 2023

Reviewing this year’s highlights and looking ahead to 2024.

December 14, 2023

As we start to wind down another busy year here at Made, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the last 12 months. A lot has happened this year, from kicking off new projects and bringing several new team members onboard, to attending plenty of conferences and events – and of course, building lots and lots of websites.

The work

We've launched a raft of new websites across the UK and the US this year, for both new and existing clients: the Royal Albert Hall, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the National Youth Theatre (UK), Mystic Aquarium, and Florida Studio Theatre. To add to that, we've also launched new purchase paths for the National Arts Centre in Canada (in English and French) and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, using our BlocksOffice platform.

We delivered significant projects for existing clients including Melbourne Theatre Company and Minnesota Orchestra, and Seatcurve integrations for Sydney Opera House and Sydney Theatre Company.We also launched a new service – Playbook – to help our clients make sense of the ever-shifting digital world and the impact on their current and future business; we're excited to see where some of these initial projects go in the future.

Growing the team to support our new client projects

Looking ahead to 2024, we're delighted to be working on new projects slated to launch next year with the Miami City Ballet, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Des Moines Performing Arts, Playwrights Horizons, the Canadian Opera Company, and many more.

To support the execution of all of this new activity for our clients, we've grown the team, with new starters joining to strengthen our US and UK-based development and client services teams, as well as our own marketing efforts.

Events around the globe

In August, we were proud to support the Tessitura Learning and Community Conference once again, with the conference this year taking place in Orlando, Florida. We gathered our newly-expanded US team and were thrilled to meet so many old and new clients, and host the return of our Made Social, this time in partnership with our friends at easy-connect. We followed that up with a trip down to Melbourne in November for the Australian edition of TLCC – and we look forward to being in Gateshead in March 2024 for the European edition too! The Made team also attended industry conferences in 2023 in London (Arts Marketing Association), Seattle (INTIX), Birmingham (Ticketing Professionals UK), Denver (American Alliance of Museums), Columbus (Association of Zoos and Aquariums), Pittsburgh (League of American Orchestras), Hamburg (Kulturplanner Impulse), and New York (Capacity Interactive Bootcamp).

Theme of the year: Digital leadership

Early in 2023, I attended the INTIX conference in Seattle, and spoke about the importance of digital leadership in cultural organisations. This is a theme that we've returned to throughout the year, and I've been pleased to see all of the digital leadership behaviours I identified in that talk represented across the work we've completed with our clients this year.

To take one of the behaviours as an example, we have certainly seen our client contacts act as trusted partners in their organisations' business decisions. This year, many of our clients have focused on developing new audiences, and providing accessible, inclusive experiences. To see this happen in a truly digital-first way, with new digital programs and initiatives at the core of their offering, has been fantastic.

Inclusion has been more than just a box to check to make sure an organisation's website is accessible. Instead, it now encompasses a much broader consideration of the varying digital needs of a wide and diverse group of users.

James Baggaley

Michaela, our Head of Strategy, picked up these digital leadership themes in two separate talks she presented in Orlando and Melbourne, together with our longstanding clients at the Minnesota Orchestra and Melbourne Theatre Company, respectively. In both talks, Michaela and her co-presenters talked about the importance of agile planning, and responding to constantly changing user needs and ever-evolving business objectives.

Moulding learnings into strategy

Now that I think of it; "Changing user needs and evolving business objectives" sounds like the perfect subtitle for our work in 2023. This year felt like the first year of true recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic, with many organisations only able to complete their first full season of performances this summer. Many cultural organisations were and are still working out how to embed post-Covid digital learnings into their day-to-day operations, and figuring out what this means for their digital estate: their websites, apps, social media, streaming platforms, and more.

One trend we've noticed is that organisations are reaching out to us much earlier in their planning processes, either to engage us via our Playbook strategy consulting service, or as existing clients looking ahead to their next business cycle, and we're navigating these questions together.

That's exciting for us, as we seek to reinforce and continue to embed the notion of digital leadership in the organisations we work with, and I can't wait to see where this goes in 2024.