Performance Counts: Promotions, Marketing, Paul Simon, and the Museum

Posted on October 9th, 2015 by

In today’s Performance Counts we ask the question, “how do you get noticed”?  Well, if you’re a presidential candidate you probably just say something outrageous, but if you’re a small gem of a Museum in Jonestown it calls for a different strategy.  This month you might have seen our name attached to a familiar rock star’s face on a circulator bus or noticed a 30 foot inflatable guitar on the top of our building.  You might have seen an AP story that’s making the rounds (the Jewish Museum of Maryland covered in Idaho?) or looked at this morning and seen a top story from WBAL: “Baltimore museum hosts Paul Simon exhibit.”  You might have even seen something on the front page of yesterday’s Baltimore Sun about our involvement in working with Historic Jonestown.

You might think this is all just good fortune (and we’d be the first to be thankful for all our good luck).  But it’s easier to be lucky when we have a talented team putting our name forward.  Our success to date, and we strongly suspect there is more to come, is based on a combination of four forces – our in-house marketing team (mainly Tracie and Rachel), our colleagues at The Associated, our partners at Visit Baltimore, and our ambassadors on the JMM Board, especially our “ambassador-in-chief”, Board President Duke Zimmerman.  Thanks to this dynamite combo we have already taken more than 300 invitations to opening weekend events and we have already substantially raised our institution’s visibility.  I have asked Rachel to share some highlights of what’s already happened and what’s in store.

~Marvin Pinkert

How do you get noticed? As Marvin mentioned above: hard work, great partners, and yes: luck. As the marketing manager here at the Museum those three tenets are a bit of a mantra for me. It’s been very exciting behind the scenes for the last few months as we’ve tried to figure out the best way to capitalize on the broad appeal and “cool factor” that is Paul Simon: Words and Music. Happily, I think we’re already showing some real signs of success with organic coverage:

A cover story in the Baltimore Jewish Times – plus we especially enjoyed last week’s “MishMash” question on favorite Paul Simon songs!

A travel story in the New York Times online (Special thanks go out to Visit Baltimore for this one!)

A sneak peek tour with WBAL

Even an Associated Press story that has indeed been picked up as far away as Idaho and Florida (and in plenty of places around town – including the Washington Post)!

Marvin has also been interviewed on WJFF and will be appearing live on air with Tom Hall this Monday at 9:15am (so be sure to tune your radio to WYPR 88.1).

In addition to organic coverage we’ve lined up quite a bit of traditional advertising and promotion to further our reach including:

Television campaigns with WMAR/ABC2, Maryland Public Television, and Fox 45

Radio campaigns with WTMD, 100.7 The Bay, and WAMU

Print campaigns with Baltimore City Paper and the Baltimore Sun, the Jewish Times, Overture Magazine, Baltimore Magazine, and the Ravens Yearbook

And our partners at Visit Baltimore donated additional print coverage in AARP magazine and regional travel magazines in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and the Shenandoah Valley, as well as featuring the exhibit in recent editions of their e-newsletter “Baltimore Buzz,” and on their blog with a special entry from Marvin.

My personal favorite part of marketing has to be the social media piece – that is, the materials we create and post on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr. The fast pace and often irreverent attitude embraced by the user groups that populate these platforms make them the perfect environment for playful, often experimental work promoting our programs and exhibits.

For Paul Simon: Words and Music, one particularly cool thing we created is a series of “lip synch videos” to various Paul Simon songs. These short clips star JMM staff members and some very energetic summer interns. You can view the videos we’ve posted already here and there will be more to come! You can also follow along with all our Paul Simon related-tweetings by following the hashtag #PaulSimonBaltimore – you can even use this tag to share your own photos and thoughts with us and we’ll re-tweet our favorites!

As Marvin mentioned above, we’ve also been delighted with the coverage from the Jonestown Brand Unveiling, held on October 1st here at the Museum. Reporters from the Baltimore Jewish Times, Baltimore Sun, the Daily Record, and the Baltimore Business Journal attended the event which featured the Mayor, Jonestown State Delegates Luke Clippinger and Brooke Lierman, and the President of Historic Jonestown Inc, Lindsay Thompson.  You can read their articles at the links below!

Jewish Times:

Baltimore Sun:

Daily Record:

Baltimore Business Journal:

So now that you’ve noticed us – why not share with your friends and family?  Forward our e-newsletters, send links to our blog posts, or just check-in on your phone when you come to visit! Every little bit helps when it comes to catching the public’s eye.

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A New Year at the Jewish Museum

Posted on October 8th, 2015 by

Graham photo

Rosh Hashana Under the Stars. Image courtesy of Baltimore Sun.

As we start a new Jewish year, I want to reflect a bit on my past four months working at the Museum and also look ahead to some exciting events coming up this year. I feel blessed to be able to come every day into a place that I love and where I believe in its mission.  I also feel very fortunate to be surrounded by dedicated and passionate colleagues who have helped me grow as a museum professional and have encouraged me to make meaningful contributions to the Museum.

I have been spending the past month observing the Jewish holidays, finding renewal in nature and preparing for our grand opening of the Paul Simon exhibit. A few weeks ago I went to Baltimore Hebrew Congregation’s Rosh Hashana Under the Stars held at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville. It was a wonderful evening where thousands gathered to celebrate the Jewish New Year with family and friends while enjoying a picnic dinner, uplifting music and an inspirational sermon by Rabbi Sachs Kohen.  It was also fascinating to know that the roots of Baltimore Hebrew lay at the historic Lloyd Street Synogogue, where I give tours on a weekly basis. I just returned from a week-long vacation in the Pacific Northwest region where I found my own sense of renewal through hiking in Crater Lake and admiring the jaw-dropping vistas along the Oregon Coast.

Expanding on the theme of new beginnings, the Museum has installed a pair of automatic doors at our front entrance to make us a more accessible place. As I am writing this, workmen are busy installing the Paul Simon exhibit and school groups are beginning to visit the Museum again. I hope to continue to introduce new audiences to the Museum, perhaps some who have never visited a museum before. If you have not done so already, check out our website to get a full listing of our public opening events, performances, lectures and folk music festival. I hope to see many of you in the coming months!

GrahamA blog post by Graham Humphrey, Visitor Services Coordinator. To read more posts by Graham click HERE.


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Happy Bar Mitzvah (Anniversary) Marvin!

Posted on October 7th, 2015 by

Fifty years ago this week there were only two topics at Rodfei Zedek Hebrew School in Chicago (where I spent many hours of my childhood).

For half the kids the topic was Sandy Koufax who had just refused to pitch in the World Series on Yom Kippur.  In Koufax’s absence, Don Drysdale pitched a losing game and then the next day when Koufax came back to the mound he lost as well.  At 0-2 it did not seem that Koufax had induced a divine blessing on the Dodgers.

For the other half the topic was the new hit single by the Beatles, a song called “Yesterday”.     It reached the top of the charts this week and would stay there for the rest of October.

I didn’t find myself in either half:

  1. Because (aside from Ernie Banks) I had almost no interest in baseball, either watching it or playing it.
  2. Because I was so turned off by the crowds of screaming teens that followed the Beatles, that I decided that I must also dislike the Fab Four – even if there songs now ended with something other than “yeah, yeah, yeah”.
  3. But most importantly because I was rather preoccupied with an event coming up that Saturday – my Bar Mitzvah.
An announcement of the big day!

An announcement for the big day!

Yes, this week marks the 50th anniversary of my Bar Mitzvah (October 9, 1965).  In honor of the occasion I pulled out my Bar Mitzvah book to try to aid my somewhat foggy memory of that day.

Not pictured: the lyrics to "Mazeltov, Mazeltov," a clever rewrite of "Matchmaker - Matchmaker."

Not pictured: the lyrics to “Mazeltov, Mazeltov,” a clever rewrite of “Matchmaker – Matchmaker.”

Like many, my memories of preparing for the day are stronger than the day itself. My haftorah reading for Ha’azinu seemed particularly long and difficult, but I suspect that had more to do with the pupil than with the parsha.  I can still smell the decomposing reel-to-reel magnetic tape as it passed up and back through the recorder – month after month delivering a trope that I truly could not sing.  I think that I might have mentioned in a previous blog post that singing was not my strong point to start with – Cantor Goldberg asked me to leave the choir… at about the same time he made my cousin the star.  In this program from our 1965 Hebrew School commencement, you’ll see that I was assigned a speaking part (in English) while cousin Mandy followed in a Hebrew duet.  He was headed for Broadway… I was on the road to the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Check out that line-up!

Check out that line-up!

My Bar Mitzvah speech was the first time I ever addressed a public audience and the first and ONLY time I asked my father for speech-writing advice.  Don’t get me wrong, dad was a great manager and engineer, but not much of a public speaker.  My speech included the line “today my cup runneth over” – which when delivered by a 13 year old boy becomes a gag line for the rest of your life.

The Bar Mitzvah “party” was very subdued by today’s standards, just a lunch in the synagogue auditorium.  The party was my mother’s domain, she had the reputation within the family for making clever lyrical adaptations for special occasions.  My luncheon songs were sung to melodies from the new musical Fiddler on the Roof (e.g. Matchmaker, Matchmaker became “Mazel tov, mazel tov, Pinkerts and Drays, Marvin’s Haftorah merits our praise” – trust me, you don’t want to know the rest).

The Bar Mitzvah Book also contains lists of gifts received.  Most of these possessions have long ago been abandoned as we moved from Chicago to DC to Korea to Hawaii to Boston to Chicago to Maryland over the past five decades.  I think the three “dicky”s I received did not even make it to my junior year of high school.  The exceptions to the rule are the Lucien Piccard watch from my grandparents (almost never worn, but a treasured keepsake) and the five historical atlases that have travelled thousands of miles with me.  At age 13 I think I already had a reputation as a historic geek and I especially appreciated the aunts and cousins who recognized my passion.

A list that includes atlases and dickeys, oh my!

A list that includes atlases and dickeys, oh my!

So my Bar Mitzvah week came to a happy conclusion.  I had come out of my shell (just a little bit).  Sandy Koufax went on to win his next two games – leading the Dodgers to victory in the World Series.  The Beatles kept innovating, though it would be a decade before I would finally admit I liked the Beatles.  But in that October, I was actually attracted to a new song on the radio– not a song for screaming teens – but a song that sounded like it belonged to quiet kids like me – it was called the “Sound of Silence”.  Little did I know…

Marvin PinkertA blog post by JMM Executive Director Marvin Pinkert. To read more posts from Marvin click HERE.

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