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thought leadership

Six takeaways from AMA's first Arts Marketing Festival

Highlights from the two-day virtual festival that brought together arts professionals from the UK and beyond

Published12/4/2020

Read/View Time3 min


We at Tessitura were proud to support

Arts Marketing Association’s (AMA) Arts Marketing Festival. We’ve had a long relationship and know the importance of bringing together colleagues, peers and experts to share learnings, ideas and thoughts — especially after the year we have all had.

The content across the festival was fantastic and thought provoking. Here are six great takeaways we wanted to highlight:

“You communicate, you advocate, you build relationships and are so important…audiences miss the way we make them think, act and feel.”
—Cath Hume

The entire festival gave us an overwhelming sense of how inspiring our colleagues across this industry are, as well as how important arts and culture can be for our audiences. The year has been hard, and there may be more challenges ahead, but AMA’s Cath Hume put it best when welcoming us to the first day.

Tessitura team member Ellie, on the first day of the Arts Marketing Festival

“Find your unique strategy. Every arts form has its barriers: to overcome those challenges, talk to your audience and do your research... The core product may be sacrosanct, but we can build around the whole experience to enhance relationships, stimulate imagination and build self-esteem.”
— Georgia Rivers

Georgia Rivers, Marketing Director for Tessitura Network member Opera Australia, provided an insightful session on data campaigns and audience growth. She took us through Opera Australia’s strategies and tactics for going beyond marketing the art to truly connect with an audience’s needs.

“Though we were in a crisis, our communication focused on solving audience problems rather than broadcasting our own.”
—Jane MacPherson

We were incredibly inspired by Sadler’s Wells who shared ‘Dancing at Distance — a reopening story.’ Their approach to reopening was to focus on their biggest goal: to retain, gain and grow their audiences despite the pandemic. They did this by bringing the staff together, involving them in the strategy, and collaborating cross departmentally — all of which gave permission to iterate quickly by empowering colleagues.

They also ensured the audience was central to the strategy. Segmentation and bespoke customer journeys meant they could pivot from sales-led communications to true brand engagement.

“We can’t maximise the value of technology if we don’t have a solid plan of what we’re trying to achieve. Technology itself is not an answer, it is simply a tool.”
—Kate Watson

Our very own Erin Koppel, SVP of Consulting, and Kate Watson, Consultant led the session ‘Five steps to deepen engagement — acting with intent’. Sometimes it’s easy to expect a platform to ‘do’ the work for you. Although it is there to help, you need the right processes and people alongside to truly master CRM and deepen engagement with your audiences.

A slide reading 'Question your approach and your assumptions; then act'

Discussion arose when Sarah and Andy from Bristol Beacon shared their journey ‘From Colston to Beacon — delivering change in the midst of a pandemic.’ This honest, open session offered real reflection on the challenges and the learnings they took from changing their organisation’s name.

They shared five key learnings from tackling such a complex issue, from looking after yourself and your colleagues, to communicating with audiences to allow you to understand your identity, question yourself and then to act:

  1. Manage your collective mental health
  2. Trust your stakeholders
  3. Understand who you are — what is your perspective and impact on the world
  4. If it’s your issue, deal with it
  5. Question your approach and your assumption; then act.

We have all spent a lot of time thinking about the last year, the challenges, opportunities and learnings. The final takeaway we want to leave you with is to think about the future and answer these three questions that AMA’s Cath Hume posed in the final session of the festival: 

  • What do you want to focus on in 2021?
  • What do you want to feel in 2021?
  • What is the first thing you need to do to achieve your answer to question 1 and to feel your answer to question 2.

These questions are something we and our organisations should be thinking about as we look to 2021 and beyond. A great way to end a fantastic two days. We are proud to  festival support and be a part of such a creative, innovative and resilient industry. Thank you to everyone who contributed

To find out more about the AMA, you can visit their website.

 

 

Top photo: Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash.

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