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Conference Catch Up: Meabh Quoirin

In this Conference Catch Up, Meabh Quoirin, Managing Director at Future Foundation talks us through what we can expect from her session at AMA conference 2016.

Picture of Meabh Quoirin

Describe your session in less than 50 words.
At Future Foundation we do trend led thinking. I’m going to dig in to the trends that will make the biggest difference to the arts arena for the next 3 years.

What are the top 3 things delegates will take away from your session?
3 prediction led opportunities. Getting on board with conversational commerce, learning how to produce liquid skills for people and a different take on personalisation – how to make the most of a me-me world.

What are you looking forward to most about AMA conference 2016?
Seeing the hugely creative outputs from across the industry.

What does the conference theme — On a Mission to Matter — mean to you?
It means getting more people engaged with the arts and getting those who are already interested altogether more involved. It also means dealing with the competition both within the arts and all around. We will live ever more distracted lives and for anything to matter, it will need to be a conversation thread that punctuates our lives.

Find out more about Meabh’s keynote and book your place for AMA conference 2016.

It’s great to create content – but what to do with it? #DMA

Claire Lampon, Digital Media Officer at Historic Royal Palaces, and a Fellow at the current Digital Marketing Academy (DMA), explains how she’s kick-started her digital content experiments.

Creating exciting content is what I enjoy most about my job. From 360 videos to timelapses and animations, searching for the next technological advancement is something we all get a kick out of.

But how to use this technology? In the short amount of time that I have been on the DMA, I have already been thrown into a world of intelligent questions, thoughts and possible solutions as to how to approach this issue from both my fellow mentees and my mentor. It’s all very well creating a great film or an awesome animation, but what use is it if it doesn’t reach anyone? How do we know that the content we are putting out there, which may seem fantastic to us, is actually only lukewarmly received by our followers? Audiences are everything and how content is delivered and consumed is just as important, if not more important, than the content itself.

I’m tackling this in detail as part of the DMA, and, being a bit of a data geek, can’t wait to get stuck in. I’ll be focusing on Facebook (partly due to the fact that their analytics are leagues ahead of other platforms), and will be mapping out the demographics of our audiences against pre-existing segmentation models to better understand who it is that we are reaching with our content. I’ll also incorporate a more qualitative element, analysing comments and likes on posts, as well as reach and overall engagement levels.

I’m hoping that by the end of DMA 3.0 I’ll have made substantial progress towards better understanding who our audiences are and what they want to see, as well as creating some exciting content along the way… Watch this space!

Image ©Historic Royal Palaces

New Fellows and their digital experiments

Happy audience photo by Ekke on Flickr - used under Creative Commons

Digital Marketing Academy 3.0 (DMA) has begun with 20 Fellowships offered to marketers working in arts, culture and heritage organisations across the country. We are delighted there is a range of organisations taking part – from Pavilion Dance South West and The Point and Berry Theatre on the south coast to our most northerly Fellows at Scottish Ballet in Glasgow and November Club in Northumberland. There are museums taking part including the Museum of English Rural Life and British Museum; venues include Barbican, Storyhouse and Contact; music organisations Spitalfields Music and Aldeburgh Music and performing arts organisations include Tara Arts and Pilot Theatre, among many others which you can find out about on the DMA 3.0 page.

Each Fellow is embarking on an eight-month journey to experiment and improve their digital marketing activity. They will have the support of a Mentor – an international digital expert – available as a sounding board, to offer advice, test out ideas, question, and question again. The nine Mentors taking part in DMA 3.0 are from various backgrounds and offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise across a range of topics including social media, organisational culture, consumer psychology, gamification and tactical digital marketing. With their help the Fellows taking part in this cohort of the programme will be able to focus their learning and experiments with real audiences in real organisations.

Fellows also belong to an Action Learning Set and use this style of facilitated working to deeper explore their own development through peer-to-peer learning. Online training is also available to the Fellows through tailored workshops, programmed with their experiments and training needs in mind.

You can follow the development of the Fellows as they progress through the Academy, and the advances they make as they work on their digital marketing experiments, right here on the AMA blog; Fellows and Mentors will be writing blog posts to keep you up to date, so watch this space!

After the success of DMA 1.0 and DMA 2.0, we are pleased that DMA 3.0 is able to take place thanks to CultureHive funding from Arts Council England.


CultureHive is managed by the Arts Marketing Association and is part of Arts Council England’s Audience Focus programme, supported by Lottery funding. CultureHive is a registered trademark.   

Happy audience photo by Ekke on Flickr – used under Creative Commons.

Revitalising Relationships = Real Organisational Growth

Image of audience

Kevin Giglinto, Director, Client Development & Marketing at Tessitura Network, Inc. discusses his time as an arts marketer with Chicago Symphony Orchestra. AMA Conference 2016 is sponsored by Tessitura.

I began my life as an arts marketer in September of 1999, when I joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s staff as the orchestra world’s first ecommerce director. From that time and throughout my 10 years leading the CSO’s Sales and Marketing Department, we maintained a constant focus on audience development.

This is certainly nothing new to arts marketers. Something that I always admired about our field is the remarkable energy expended and experimentation explored to turn over every stone in order to find the next new audience member. That commitment to our arts organisations and the role they play within the cultural landscape of our communities is found everywhere. This illustrates the deep passion that will certainly permeate the sessions at the AMA conference in Edinburgh.

Back in the late 90s and early 00s, there were still fresh memories of hundreds of concerts sold out on subscription tickets from earlier in the decade. The realities of a more selective audience and increasing competition in the market created challenges and shrinking attendance. Marketing budgets hadn’t completely been shifted to address the new market realities.

As we dealt with those issues, we wanted to make sure that our strategy was on the right course, and we always felt strongly that we had to ground ourselves in sound data to help us analyse and diagnose a situation before following a path or an assumption that might be misleading.

One of those assumptions that was being propagated in the news media and even from some within our own organisation, was that Classical Music was not creating any new audiences and we were faced with the ultimate demise of an ageing base. By challenging that meme with real data from multiple years, we actually showed that each year, over 40% of our audiences were new to us. It turned out that popular programming (Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, etc.) in our core product was our best new audience driver.

Armed with that data, we continued down a different path. We were able to study those new households and found out that 90% of them were not returning for a second time. Add that to the math that it cost four times as much to bring in a new audience member as it did to retain one and we had created the seeds for the beginning of our strategy to build lifelong patron relationships.

We partnered with other orchestras, and found that our collective research pointed to the same thing. We didn’t have a new audience issue, we had a retention issue. The collaborative research was extremely powerful, arming us with even more data to feed into important strategies to bring people back into our hall. If we could get one of those first-time buyers to come one more time within twelve months of their first purchase, their likelihood to return for a third time doubled.

My colleagues from the other orchestras and I continued our relationship exploration and found direct correlations between the relationship paths we were rolling out for our audiences and the impact it has on long-term contributions and philanthropic support of our institutions.

By the time I left to join the Tessitura Network staff this year, the CSO had experienced five straight years of subscription renewal rates of over 90%. That, and a well-defined new audience development strategy helped us grow ticket sales and established the CSO as having the largest subscription base of any orchestra in the United States. Given that there is an extremely high correlation between a subscriber or multi-buyer and a donor, the overall institutional strategy took shape and helped us grow total donors over a five-year span, correcting a downward trajectory that had been going on for years.

This is why I was excited to see the theme of this year’s AMA conference, On a Mission to Matter, and building meaningful and lasting relationships with our audiences. I have seen the impact that a strategic focus on audience relationships can have on arts organisations, and have been deeply involved in it. At the heart of my experiences are core principles of the Tessitura Network, which includes the power of a unified platform to understand the holistic relationship you have with the people coming through your doors. Additionally, having access to robust data analysis and marketing tools that can enable you to build more meaningful relationships with those audiences are critical components to your own audience development strategy today and for the future. In the end, that is what sustains our art forms and allows them to continue to play an important role in the culture of our communities.

I hope you can join me for Breakfast at the AMA conference on Wednesday 13th July, when I will share more detail around my experiences while I was at the CSO, as well others from the Tessitura Network. I will be joined by Becky Loftus (Head of Audience Insight, Royal Shakespeare Company) to share ongoing work she has been leading to more deeply understand the interest of their audiences.

Don’t forget to check out the Tessitura Lounge in the exhibition area at this year’s AMA conference.

Conference Catch Up: Beth Wells

Beth Wells, Leap into Live Music! Programme Manager at Liverpool Philharmonic will sharing her experiences at AMA conference 2016 as part of our new co-created quick-fire presentations. In this Conference Catch Up, she gives you an insight into her session:

Picture of Beth Wells

Describe your session in less than 50 words.
Liverpool Philharmonic has been working with families, employers and community groups in new ways and through new partnerships over the last four years to increase audience diversity. In this session I’ll be sharing some of the processes, lessons, what has worked and what has been less successful.

What are the top 3 things delegates will take away from your session?
Hopefully they will gain some additional understanding around the challenges facing ‘hard to reach’ in 2016 as well as some practical takeaways that they could easily implement. There will also be some food for thought around how organisational change can really impact on audience development work.

What are you looking forward to most about AMA conference 2016?
I always love going, it’s always such a great opportunity to catch up with old colleagues, network and meet others in the sector and also to hear about some of the fantastic (and really innovative) work that is taking place.

What does the conference theme — On a Mission to Matter — mean to you?
I think there’s a real sense that we as organisations need to be genuine – through social media the window to behind the scenes in organisations has really opened up. People are very quick to distrust organisations that are being disingenuous, so the more that we can build real relationships and show that we matter to them, and can make a difference in their lives the better.

Find out more about this session and book your place for AMA conference 2016.



Conference Catch Up: Jo Verrent and Jen Tomkins

In this Conference Catch Up, Jo Verrent Senior Producer at Unlimited and Jen Tomkins, Head of Marketing and Development at Artsadmin give us a sneak peek into their session focusing on how to make your marketing more accessible.

Picture of Jo Verrent and Jen Tomkins

Describe your session in less than 50 words.
It’s all about how marketers can create more accessible marketing – in print, online and video – and in doing so, improve their communications for audiences. Some of these are quick wins, some longer-term strategies. We’ll also help to dispel myths around the language of accessibility and people’s different access requirements.

What are the top 3 things delegates will take away from your session?

  • A better understanding of practical things you can do to ensure a wide range of people can access your printed and digital materials.
  • A sense of how you are doing – just how accessible are you being in your marketing at the moment?
  • A strong list of what’s next for you – what are the simple (and perhaps not so simple) steps you are going to take to move things a step further?

What are you looking forward to most about AMA conference 2016?
In a nutshell: real conversations with real people about stuff that really matters. We can all read blogs and skim through guidance materials, leaving us with a vague sense of guilt that we could do more. Physically meeting up at AMA conference means there is a chance to have face-to-face interaction based on what we all actually do – it’s a chance for all of us to learn.

What does the conference theme — On a Mission to Matter — mean to you?
We all want to get messages out there, and at Unlimited we want you to get them out to as wide an audience as possible. If it matters, then it matters to everyone.

Find out more about Jo and Jen’s session and book your place for AMA conference 2016.






One to Ones

AMA conference ©

What is it about?

For the first time we are offering a very limited number of ‘One to One’ sessions with some of our speakers. These 15 minute slots are an opportunity to get expert, tailored advice for you and your organisation. Please come to the session with a challenge or question in mind to make best use of the time you have. These sessions are extremely limited, so if you sign up please commit to attending and let us know if your plans change so that someone else can make the most of this opportunity.

We are also offering one to ones with our Associate Producer, Laraine Penson, to discuss your individual and/or organisational objectives and how a programme of training and professional development might support you in achieving these. This may include utilising and tailoring pre-existing AMA programme, working with a trainer to develop and deliver a bespoke training event with you, mentoring or coaching, or a blended mix of learning to meet your specific needs. Following your one to one you will receive an outline programme of professional development for you or your organisation.

Please refer to the biographies below to gain an understanding of how they can help you. Sign up for one speaker and we will confirm a time within this seminar slot with you. You will attend this ‘One to One’ in place of a breakout session.

‘One to Ones’ are available with:

David Reece, Director, Consulting Services, Baker Richards

Picture of David Reece

Jen Tomkins, Head of Marketing and Development, Artsadmin

Picture of Jennifer Tomkins

Roger Tomlinson, Independent Consultant

Picture of Roger Tomlinson

Mary Butlin, Director, Tonica

Picture of Mary Butlin

Katie Moffat, Digital Manager, The Audience Agency

Picture of Katie Moffat

Jo Verrent, Senior Producer, Unlimited

Jo Verrent - photo

Becky Loftus, Head of Audience Insight at the Royal Shakespeare Company

Picture of Becky Loftus

Laraine Penson, Associate Producer, AMA





Our mission to matter — shaping our future

Image courtesy of Puppet Theatre Scotland © Andy Caitlin – Animating the Inanimate – Julian Crouch & Saskia Lane

What is it about?

This session is for AMA members interested in having an impact on our future programme. During this interactive, highly discursive session, we will ask you to share your reflections on the conference content and the ongoing questions you have and challenges you face. Come together with other members to explore how we can help the sector make better connections between arts and culture and the public.

Conference Catch Up: Mark Robinson

In this Conference Catch Up we sit down with Mark Robinson, Founder, Thinking Practice to talk about the advanced session he will be delivering at AMA conference 2016.

Mark Robinson, credit Keith Pattison

Describe your session in less than 50 words.

I’m going to talk about some of the things I found when I interviewed 18 great arts and museum businesses about their business models. Things like how rethinking your relationship to your community, how creating new public spaces, and how being more relevant can all help you fulfil your mission.

What are the top 3 things delegates will take away from your session?

  • A better understanding of the Business Model Canvas
  • An understanding of how business models aren’t just about the money bits
  • Some inspiring examples of positive uses for different sorts of crisis

What are you looking forward to most about AMA conference 2016?
Being surrounded by enthusiasm and passion.

What does the conference theme — On a Mission to Matter — mean to you?

All my work on adaptive resilience has led me to focus on the importance of shared purpose or mission – what it is you exist to do? That has to matter or you are irrelevant – either endangered or indulged. Mission is the element I add to the Business Model Canvas, so I’m interested to hear what it means to others.

Find out more about Mark’s session and book your place for AMA conference 2016.

Change of details?

If you would like to change your contact details or organisation please get in contact with us.