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2nd August 2016 Verity Sanderson

A full book of notes and some excellent networking experiences #AMAconf

Laura Cake, Digital Marketing and Box Office Coordinator at Pavilion Dance South West, received a PatronBase bursary to attend this year’s AMA Conference – On a Mission to Matter.

I am brand new to arts marketing, having only worked at Pavilion Dance South West for 6 months, so I was thrilled to have been awarded a Patronbase bursary to attend the AMA Conference 2016. Admittedly, at first, I felt a little intimidated by the thought of having such a jam-packed week surrounded by hundreds of people who had probably been to more conferences than I’d had hot dinners. But I soon realised my anxiety was completely unfounded.

On the first night, we arrived at Dynamic Earth for the welcome reception and were greeted by smiling faces, an incredible venue and a buzzing atmosphere as everyone moved around introducing themselves, chatting and sharing their experiences.

I had a full schedule of sessions booked and armed with the Guidebook app, a pen and a note pad; I dived straight into the breakout sessions. As my role at Pavilion Dance South West focuses on digital marketing I was immediately drawn to the sessions with a digital focus

Organisations that are on a mission to matter
Breakout session by Abi Stacey, Eric Hildrew, Ami Aubrey, Beth Wells and Helen Ball

This first session was definitely a good way to get started. Adopting the Pecha Kucha presentation style, 5 marketers from around the country shared stories from their mission to matter. From a completely revamped National Museum of Scotland (which I later paid a visit to) to the amazing community-focused work facilitated by Creative Barking and Dagenham, it was great to hear the challenges and successes from people in different areas of the arts.

Google Analytics – top tips to maximise impact and insight
Breakout session by Mary Butlin

I use Google Analytics on a daily basis and thought that I was fairly well-versed in its features but, wow, was I wrong! From adding annotations to significant events to removing staff visits and identifying spam visits (apparently visits from Russia are a dead giveaway!). This session was unbelievably valuable and gave me a lot of factors to consider upon my return to the office.

Using digital to engage younger audiences
Breakout session by Sharna Jackson

We are always looking for ways to engage our audience of children and young people at Pavilion Dance South West. I was blown away by the immense work that Sharna had done and the sheer passion that evidently goes into every aspect of her work. I walked away buzzing with ideas about what we could do from online games and competitions to colouring pages.

What can we learn from #ThisGirlCan?
Breakout session by Kate Dale

The short answer? A lot! This is girl power (and digital marketing) done right. The sheer amount of engagement that was sparked from this initiative was staggering and really drilled in the importance of having a two-way conversation with your audience. I was also incredibly proud to learn that Sam, one of the poster girls for the campaign, is from my hometown in Poole!

Making our futures matter
Keynote by Meabh Quoirin

For me, Meabh’s session was one of the highlights of the week. Not only was this keynote delivered with an incredibly funny dry wit but it also addressed big areas of interest for me – particularly the subject of trends, looking at the differing responses to VR technology and the subject of ‘immersive realities’. Meabh’s keynote also wins my vote for providing us with the ‘earworm of the week’ as we all left the auditorium humming the ‘activewear’ song to ourselves…

I left the conference with my mind stuffed full of ideas, a full book of notes and some excellent networking experiences. I’d like to say a massive thank you to Patronbase, who made my attendance at the conference possible, and the AMA for giving me the chance to experience something completely new, incredibly inspiring and hugely valuable.