Daily Archives: November 17, 2011

#NAMPC National Arts Marketing Project Conference – Winning Audiences – Final Day

After practically no sleep, I was still excited about the last day.  This was the day I was scheduled to present!

8:45 Engaging Audiences through Collaboration and Innovation

I had a great team to work with.  Our moderator was Kory Kelly, Director of Marketing & Communications at Actors Theatre of Louisville.  Also presenting with me were Sam Read, Deputy director of Theatre Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington and Greg Fiedler, President and CEO of the Greater Flint Arts Council in Flint, Michigan.  We decided to tag team our presentations so one would lead into another.

I started off the morning of our Engage Audiences through Collaboration and Innovation with an overall look at the variety of collaborations you can achieve.  Each type of collaboration had a case study story to give an example – the case study pointed out how it engages with your audience.  This presentation was from the view point of one organization working with many other arts and community organizations.  This was a milestone presentation for me too since I vowed to never do another “PowerPoint” presentation ever again.  You can hold me to it!

My audience was a little sleepy during the beginning of my presentation, but I could see them waking up in the middle.  8:45 am?  Much too early, right?

Sam Read took the ball and presented Arts Crush.  This festival is full of creative ideas on how to get the different disciplines of the arts working together and working with the community.  Innovative programming, venues, and audience development can result when a community gets together to co-create an arts festival.  His presentation was exciting and the theme of collaboration and innovation was demonstrated perfectly.  One of my favorite quotes – Move beyond the butt!

Greg Fiedler had a video presentation that spoke about the Parade of Festivals that his Arts Council is responsible for.  The point of the presentation was to not only show how different and interesting festivals can work together to build audience, but also how the arts are changing the perception that surrounds Flint, Michigan.  Unfortunately, almost everyone raised their hands (before the video) when asked if they heard something negative about Flint.  Fortunately, everyone raised their hands when asked if the video gave them a more positive perception of Flint.  The arts are making a difference in Flint, and through collaboration (and innovation), the difference is noticed!

10:45 Closing Plenary with Sam Horn

This was an interesting move since this talk tied together all the elements of the conference – marketing, development, audience development.  We all seemed a bit brain dead and Sam Horn was speaking in codes, or rather acronyms.  The messages of her talk were extremely valuable. Some of her main points are as follows. When relating to people – don’t just tell them what you do – tell them an example of what you are doing.  Tell stories instead of relying completely on facts and figures.  Get them to raise their eyebrows by asking “Did You Know” questions and supply them with some of the most interesting details about your organization.  Lastly, relate your message to who you are speaking to.  Instead of a typical elevator speech that states your mission, which is the same for everyone, first find out who they are and then give them something to relate to about your organization. Even though I was dog tired and ready for lunch, I got the messages and agree wholeheartedly.

My Final Tweets


My last little session of hanging with some great people.  A group of us went to hotel sports bar and grill before we left in our cars, taxis and eventually our airplanes toward home.  It was a fantastic ending to the conference – down time with folks that understand you.

Overall Impression

I have to say that all in all, NAMPC was an amazing experience.  The people I met, the presentations, the building of relationships – all factors were well worth it.  I will also say that I am proud of myself for presenting in front of my peers (which can make you a Nervous Nelly).  I am also proud of all of us that attended (well most of us) for leaving our egos at the door and being able to share our good ideas with each other.

I look forward to keeping in touch with the many people I was honored to become associated with during the conference.  If asked again to be a part of this experience, of course, I would say yes!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists



“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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#NAMPC The National Arts Marketing Project Conference – Winning Audiences Day 2

Part 2 of the adventure unfolds!   Yesterday I felt like my head was still at NAMPC while my body was milling around Boulder, CO.  It was a very strange feeling.  This probably can be attributed to not being able to download the entire experience.  I may never be able to do this, but I will attempt to wrap up some of my thoughts and feelings for day 2 of my conference schedule.


I wanted to mention the breakfast networking opportunity here.  They provided us with a continental breakfast.  It wasn’t bad, but I was severely missing my protein.  However, the chance to have breakfast with a group of people was delightful!  I met some of the best people here.  It was a more relaxed atmosphere since I forced myself to get up to eat at 8AM (I am not a morning person).   Kudos to the conference for supplying these big tables for a more family style network breakfast session.  One of the people I met was Karin Hensley from the National Storytelling Network.  Since my mom is a storyteller, and we had been to the National Storytelling Festival, we had something to talk about!  You never know who you will meet at breakfast.

9:00 – Engage the Crowd to Do Important Things Like Change the World or Meet Your Revenue

This session hosted by Brian Reich was a little bit of a commercial for his upcoming book and for Kickstarter, but many valuable things were said. The main point is that technology has changed the way we function, and there are ways to embrace this new technology to invite our audiences to become more involved.  The perspective is to make sure you tell your story in a way that will spark interest, and to offer incentives that your audiences would enjoy. The funniest comment was, that if your mom doesn’t want to back your project, you are doing something majorly wrong.

Here are my tweets from this session.

10:30 – Winning Audiences on the Go: Maximizing Engagement through Mobile Apps

I really liked this session since David Dombrosky chose a talk show style format where he asked questions he wanted to know and then walked around the audience taking our questions.  The session became a little bit of a 101 since mobile apps are still new to most of us, but I really enjoyed the examples.  The main message was to make sure your website has a mobile version since more people are using their smartphones to access information – this means that you need to style the information down to a mobile format.  If you are squeezing and scrolling, your mobile site is all wrong.  Also, some apps are meant more for branding purposes than for information.  The Royal Opera House chose to do a game app called “The Show Must Go On.”  This app is a little educational to the backstage aspects of putting on a show, but mainly it is for entertainment and to get their brand out.

Here are my tweets from this session.

12:00 Plenary Lunch: Oliver Uberti

For me, this was the most incredible speech of the entire conference.  Oliver Uberti is a remarkable person with an incredible gift.  He is a curious individual that can’t help creating wonderful art, and he is inspired by the world of people around him.  He connects with people to make the impossible, possible.  The main message he gave us is to honor the people that are in your life and connect with them to help each other on your journeys.  He showed us his people connection chart, which completely blew me away that he took the time to figure all of it out.  The arts message was to make sure you can tell your story in as little as one image to bring your stories to life. He gave us several examples of the stories behind the final story photo so we can see that it takes time and effort to come up with excellence.  In his quiet way, he served as an example for all of us to reach for something better.  After his presentation, the room was very quiet for a few moments before the applause started.  It took a little while before someone had the courage to ask a question.  My new friend Greg Fiedler of the Greater Flint Arts Council asked about his spiritual background in order to understand how Oliver became Oliver.   It was the question that was on my mind as well.  How do you become such an amazing human being?

This was a presentation that my phone conked out so no tweets were tweeted.  I was very glad since I was able to absorb this speech the old fashioned way with my full attention.  Every moment was special and worth it!

You can view the presentation here: Livestream/NAMPC.

Before the presentation, I chatted with Bill Nix from the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.  Florida was definitely represented at this conference (Minnesota too).  Bill was gracious to tell me about his collaborative projects.  I hope to get more information in the near future since we traded business cards.

1:45 The New Customer Service: Customizing Arts Experiences for Your Audiences

This session had a challenge of rising up after the Uberti presentation.  They did a fairly good job.  Katryn Geane from Jacob’s Pillow Dance really knows how to engage her audience.  It was refreshing to laugh several times during this session.  It was a well put together presentation with a strong message that you need to go the extra mile for your audiences.  To me, this message is a no brainer, but it is a message that constantly needs to be repeated.  Sometimes we tend to get lazy.  With the new technologies of the day, we really don’t have an excuse.

Here are my tweets from this session (a few are about the plenary after my phone recovered).

3:30 One-to-One Coaching Sessions

I was one of the coaches at these sessions, and I was delighted to speak with four people from very different organizations.  Each situation was unique, but the overall impression I wanted each of them to carry away with is: get to know your audiences to lead you to your audience development programs.  It is time to have focus groups again, social opportunities to meet them in person, customer service that follows up with them, branding that will attract them and databases that capture valuable profile information to cater your marketing specifically to them. It is also time to start outreach efforts so you can meet your potential audiences.  The advice for audience relations programs were different for each person who came to see me, but the bottom line messages I just shared were the same.

5:15 Lightening Rounds of Research

I must say that I was completely brain dead after giving my all to my coaching sessions.  I spent about 5 minutes in this presentation, and I realized I had plenty already to think about.  Plus, this session was not particularly engaging since they were mainly spouting off their research numbers.  I left and found someone interesting to talk to, Drew McManus.  Drew was someone I wanted to meet, and this conference made it possible.  We had a pretty in-depth conversation about the orchestra industry.  Finding out that he is from my hometown area, I’m sure I will meet up with him again for many more enlightening discussions.  The conference proved that it really is a small world.  He knew some of the same people even though I moved from the area during the time he moved in.  My roommate’s cousin-in-law happens to work with my sister.  Strange coincidences, but fascinating to feel connected.

There were Dine-Around opportunities, but I opted for a quiet dinner with my roommate.  We were both utterly exhausted.  Watching some television helped me to unwind a bit too.  I couldn’t think another marketing thought if I tried.  Well, at least until I attempted to get some sleep.   Tomorrow morning was my presentation, and it was playing around in my head all night long.

The next blog will be my last day and final impressions.  Stay tuned for the final day!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists



“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, Online fund raising, Online fundraising