From physical to digital: an exploratory investigation into the effects of digital marketing upon the survival of commercial art galleries in France
This dissertation has demonstrated the ways in which French commercial art galleries have moved from physical to digital. While digital marketing has taken an important place in the world (Blazheska et al. 2020), there is limited literature and findings about its effects on commercial art galleries. For this reason, the aim of this research focused on proving the importance of digital marketing on the survival of art galleries through a critical investigation of four objectives: to determine which forms of marketing are used in art galleries, to identify the most beneficial digital marketing tools used by art galleries, to examine the barriers and motivations encountered in their adoption of digital marketing, and finally, due to the research being conducted during the global pandemic, to investigate the effects of COVID-19 on their use of digital marketing. In order to answer the research question, the study focuses on a qualitative approach, through the use of semi-structured online interviews. Six professionals working for art galleries located in France were interviewed, providing the research with in-depth and rich data. Recurring and emerging themes were identified throughout the data analysis process, allowing for a critical analysis and evaluation relating to the literature’s findings, alongside the aim and objectives. Results indicated that, while a mix of both traditional and digital marketing have been proven to best serve art galleries, digital marketing techniques are important for the survival of art galleries and a lack of the latter could pose a challenge. However, although digital marketing has presented motivations and opportunities for art galleries centring on higher visibility and increased audience reach, the findings have also presented barriers such as a lack of human interaction, a lack of skills and time, as well as a lack of enjoyment and personal motivation for art gallery professionals. Nonetheless, the analysis of the results allowed for the drawing of conclusions and the presentation of recommendations for further research.