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.
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.
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.
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,
Audience Development Specialists
“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”