National Arts Marketing Conference

Published November 29, 2012

A few weeks ago, I attended the National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC) in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was there representing both the Georgia Symphony (I’m their Director of Community Engagement) and the Georgia Arts Network (I serve on their Board as the Marketing Chair). NAMPC is an annual event organized by Americans for the Arts. I can categorically say that it was the best conference I have ever had the pleasure to attend! I learned SO much, met incredible people, and had a ton of fun to boot!
One thing to note, the typical NAMPC attendees, being marketers, are obsessed with Twitter. To reflect that, I have linked to the Twitter accounts of relevant people and companies here, rather than to their traditional websites. There was a Twitter dashboard in the main room of the conference, which you can see below. They also gave a prize for the funniest tweet and for the person who tweeted the most times, and they have even created a free e-book of the 50 best Tweets from this year's event. (See? Obsessed! But in a good way!)
Photo by George Hendricks.
IMG_9386 Here’s a photo of me asking her what designer she is wearing (I also had a “real” question!). Photo by George Hendricks.
First of all, I highly recommend checking out Nina Simon’s incredible keynote address. You can watch the entire speech and the Q & A here: http://youtu.be/umG_jAr-7VU
It’s really inspiring! Nina runs a museum in California and her blog, Museum 2.0, has begun a revolution in the industry. Her tactics for engaging with the constituency are something which can be applied across many nonprofit disciplines.
At a roundtable discussion led by Adam Rubine of California-based company Paciolan, I discussed leveraging marketing techniques for fundraising. One thing we spoke about was Re-Targeting Ads, which are ads that use cookies to place strategic ads on websites. Say you visit a clothing store’s website and look at a pair of jeans, but don’t purchase them. Re-Targeting allows the store to place ads on major sites like The New York Times, so that the next time you visit the NY Times site, you would be shown an ad for those jeans. Re-Targeting brings in revenues of 14 to 1 versus the amount spent on the ads.
Adam wondered if this technique could be used for fundraising. If someone visits your donation or membership page, couldn’t they be shown an ad exhorting them to donate/join as they visit other sites around the web? It serves as a nudge and a reminder. I thought this idea was fascinating!
Another great session I attended was called Your Brand Age is Showing: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Your Public Identity. The presenters were Ann Aronson of the University of Minnesota, Erin Lauderman from the Weisman Art Museum, and Shelly Regan from Yamamoto. They spoke about the re-branding process for the Museum and about 10 factors in re-branding:
  1. Signs – Need to be clear about the signals you send to the marketplace
  2. Objective – Why does the brand change matter? Where will it lead?
  3. Leadership – The top person at the organization must be leading the charge for re-branding.
  4. Commitment – Be prepared for change and set expectations for the change.
  5. Stakeholders – Get everyone on board; socialize your ideas.
  6. Process – Expect the unexpected throughout.
  7. Resistance – Be prepared for skeptics, both internal and external.
  8. Support – Find partners and allies in the process.
  9. Wholeness – Connection across the organization is critical.
  10. Measurement – Metrics do matter!
This tied in well with the final keynote of the conference from author and marketing guru Rohit Bhargava, who exhorted the crowd to work on humanizing your organization's brand. Here are his top tips!
Tips for Creating a Human Brand:
  1. Tell the Truth – By letting your audience behind the scenes of the organization. Share your "outtakes."
  2. Connect People – Make connections with your influencers.
  3. Offer an Emotional Story – Ex: You can dramatize your backstory.
  4. Live Your Personality – Don’t be shy, and celebrate your quirks!
You can see Rohit's full presentation on the conference website. If you work for an arts or cultural organization, I highly recommend attending the NAMP Conferences in the future. Next year's will take place on November 8-11th in Portland, OR. I will be there! Will you?

--Posted by Rachel Ciprotti, YNPN Professional Member

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