This summer, with funding from Film Hub South West & West Midlands, I attended my very first Arts Marketing Association (AMA) Conference. The AMA is a not-for-profit organisation, providing a community of knowledge for arts professionals passionate about bringing arts and audiences together. This year’s theme was ‘Stay Curious’ and over 600 arts marketing professionals descended onto The Rep in Birmingham, from different arts and culture venues from across the country.
Part of my role as Marketing Officer for the Shindig scheme is working on the marketing for our rural community cinema scheme Big Picture Show, and it was a great opportunity to attend and hear from senior professionals what their experiences have been and what advice they had to offer to fellow arts marketeers!
Over the three days I attended four seminars:
Seminar One – Why We Should All Share Our Audience Databases
The main question was can a data commonwealth unlock potential or less engaged audiences? The speakers took us through work they’d been doing with nine arts organisations in Newcastle and looked at how they overcame the three main barriers of sharing audience databases; fear of poaching, fear of data and lack of technology. The speakers mentioned how we should all be working together as we aren’t in competition with each other but in competition with Netflix, Playstation, big concert hall arenas and much more.
Seminar Two – Influencing Upwards: Asking the Right Questions
The title speaks for itself. It focused on influence strategies and how you can use it in your organisation to influence yourself upwards. One of the more fun facts I learnt from this seminar is that some large German companies think powerful questions are so important they employ a Direktor Grundsatzfragen (a.k.a. the Director of Fundamental Questions)!
Seminar Three – If the Box Office Didn’t Exist, Would We Have Invented It?
In this debate style seminar we looked at how marketing and fundraising are changing and ask what this means for the ‘closing the sale’. A comment which stuck with me from this discussion is that when events are being marketed, we shouldn’t think of people as ‘bums on seats’ but think of their heart and mind and really engage with them as individuals.
Seminar Four – How Successful Is Your Marketing? – The 8 Metrics of Marketing Success
Unfortunately there were only 7 metrics in the end but I found this seminar very engaging. The speakers provided statistics which had been collected from over 200 UK arts organisations, to then discuss the 7 most useful metrics for assessing marketing performances in your organisation. I’m hoping I can implant the 7 metrics of marketing success and maybe come up with my own number 8.
The conference also gave me the chance to meet new people from a variety of arts backgrounds, share our experiences and ideas on marketing within our own work and organisations.
For a person who works in arts marketing this was a fantastic event which definitely inspires you to push harder and connect your work with the brilliant general public.
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Film Hub South West & West Midlands, as it was because of them that I was able to attend this awesome event!