I recently attended the NAMPC from November 12-15. I returned last night with a brain full of exciting memories, valuable information, and an upbeat attitude. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to get out of this conference. I was happy to see that it had a focus – winning audiences – for the entire conference. I was also delighted that it was a lighter atmosphere than most conferences and that our strong marketing personalities were happy to share with each other our best ideas. I did not feel a competitive spirit, but rather a collaborative one.
If you had to miss it, click here for all the tweets about our experiences.
Personally, it felt a great deal like camp. I found my people – others who look at the world similarly to me. While waiting in the airport security line, a few of us happened to be in the same spot at the same time looking at an advertisement on the wall. Each of us were dissecting it to figure out what it was all about. Let me tell you, people look at me strange when I do this in regular conversations, but we were all of like mind and had a great time during our long wait through the line. This type of scenario happened time and time again throughout my conference experience. I can’t wait to go back to camp next year if funds allow.
I went to as many sessions as my brain and schedule could allow. Here is the listing of my schedule for Saturday night through Sunday:
Saturday night – Dine-Around: Engage! Turning online flirtations into offline relationships.
I co-hosted this dine-around with my conference roommate Maureen Carruthers. We had a great time! I believe we only went off topic a few times, but ideas to help particular situations were discussed. The overall take away, besides a nice meal and company, was the idea that building a relationship online can be taken to the next levels: email, tweetups, coffee, a shared meal. This is a natural progression worth implementing. Maureen and I met via Twitter, and I have also met some other wonderful people via social media. I have taken the risks of taking my social media engagement to the next levels, and oh boy, I have been enriched with new and amazing people in my life that I will keep contact with. Projects are being built with these new people, and I am finding getting together with my new friends during my travels are an added bonus to my travel experiences.
When I got back, I hung out a little with the #2amt crowd. I finally was able to meet David Loehr (one of the founders of 2amt) in person. Amazing! After many twitter, phone and Skype conversations – this conference made it possible! I also tried Kentucky Bourbon Ale for the first time. Oh my goodness – wow!
Sunday – Keynote – Scott Stratten – UnMarketing
We termed him the “cheerleader” keynote speaker. He was definitely rah-rahing about fantastic customer service and how to use social media effectively that fits your needs and your customers needs. I agree with how he thinks and the statistics he provided were eye opening. There were many tweets flying around with his catch phrases as well as tweets on how much people were crushing on him (yes, he wasn’t bad looking – :O) ). The main message – Be Awesome – people follow awesome, not meh. Be awesome in all you do!
10:45 – New Audiences that Stick: Keys to finding first timers who’ll return again and again.
The panel was knowledgeable and did research to find out the facts and figures about why people attend and why they will come back. The word “churn” was used a ton and would have made a great drinking game. The main messages of this presentation were to present quality programming that your audiences will enjoy and to build relationships with the people that are attending your core programming. Using “Killer Offers” to get new people is costly and does not guarantee that people will return. Focus on the overall quality experiences and follow up with the people that are buying the full price tickets. Also, improve the overall satisfaction for all patrons.
I was interested in this session due to seeing the report Turning First-Timers into Life-Timers Addressing the true drivers of churn. This report came to the same conclusions, but stated we need to do the Killer Offers as the main solution. The group of panelists at this session showed us that although Killer Offers do get people in the doors and did sell more tickets, ROI is higher if you invest in your main audiences. I agree big time with this and use it as a main audience development tool myself.
12:15 Networking Luncheon with dessert buffet
They had tables with topics and regions spread throughout the ballroom. I ended up at the least popular table with only 3 other people – Audience Diversity. Were people scared of this topic? Seems to me diversity is a big issue for all of us. The fact that we only had 4 people was a blessing in disguise. I built good relationships with these people in the short amount of time we had, and we were able to focus on the topic very nicely. Too bad you weren’t there!
2:15 Hidden in Plain Sight: New Revenue from Existing Audiences
Well, this wasn’t my favorite session, but some good ideas did come from it. I loved the concept behind the program Duets from the Gallo Center for the Arts (I think) where they matched a senior with another senior to combat the “I don’t want to go alone” factor. I enjoyed the “get to know you” activities that were a part of this program. The National Steinbeck Center presentation pointed out that collaborating with diverse groups can bring some interesting projects and community pride. The Ojai Music Festival gave us a peek at how people were purchasing in advance based on the music director (the position rotates consistently), very interesting. Offering “things to do” for your day pass programs in conjunction with the festival gives your audiences a well rounded experience (ie: hikes, restaurants, etc). This group also mentioned to focus on return visitors and not just the new. Another main point of the conference was taking shape.
3:30 was our networking break.
I ended up speaking with Robert Friend of Choice Ticketing to view his new program. I really liked it. Yes, sales alert, but if you want ticketing and donation information at a touch of a button combined with easy profiling of your patrons, this is a great choice.
4:00 Making the Market: A New Lens on Cultural Engagement
This was one of the most valuable sessions with a bunch of statistical research from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s Cultural Engagement Index (CEI) report.
“This research suggests multiple avenues for increasing cultural participation,” emphasized principal researcher Alan Brown. “Specific patterns of cultural activity revealed in the CEI, including respondents personal practice activities, can be studied by cultural groups to more effectively engage current and potential audiences.”
I had a great time talking with people. Made friends with Colonel Sanders too! I will post a pic once my phone has charged. I wasn’t too thrilled with KFC and Pizza Hut as the food (not too classy), but the music and company were fun. I ended up going out afterwards with a group and ended up the evening speaking with two playwrights and getting their perspectives – only at NAMPC!
Stay tuned for Day 2 …
Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Audience Development Specialists
“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”