Reflections on the NAMP Conference

A number of the AMT Lab contributors attended the National Arts Marketing Project Conference  (NAMP) 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee. They had the chance to engage with many professionals in the arts marketing field, especially with those using the latest technology to achieve better results. Check out this podcast for some brief interviews with some of the leaders in the arts marketing field!

Our contributors also left with some great insights from the various sessions and events they attended. Below are some of their highlights. 

Keynote Saturday by Luba Tolkachyov & Rodrigo Alanis from Gravity

Much of this presentation covered how arts marketers need to evaluate their practices to make sure they are paying attention to some new cultural changes in the coming generations. Marketing to this change will bring about the best results. The future generation is the more diverse than ever before, and they were born in the digital age. This is important because technology is changing the way that people consume and pay attention to arts and media. People are never offline. Millennials always have devices on them and are constantly connected to their networks, news and social media. Social media is a huge part of everyone's lives as well, as typified by the "Pics or it didn't happen" mentality. It's also important to remember that human attention span has shrunk from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. 

Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up to 2003
— Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

With all of this information coming at people it's not surprising that people are seeking experiences rather than performances. Not to mention, that from 1981 to 2012, the price of the average concert ticket rose over 400%. Organizations must be creative in tackling these issues. Another area of challenge and opportunity to consider is multiculturalism as a movement within the arts, and the continuing trend of cultural minorities becoming the majority. 14.9% of children will be foreign-born by 2024.

"Grabbing Attention in a Sea of Culture" Panel- Mediated by Kim Huskinson, Senior Manager, Marketing & Audience Insights at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

In this session, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) reviewed a case study of bringing the Guillermo del Toro at Home with Monsters exhibition from Los Angeles County Museum of Art to MIA. They had success in engaging "superfans" that did a lot of organic marketing for them through Facebook and other platforms.
In staying true to their community focus, the MIA also presented a case where they crowd-sourced ideas for marketing an upcoming exhibition showcasing their collection of Chinese art by Robert Wilson. The MIA failed to understand their market for this event. Their shortsightedness was turned into an opportunity for a dialogue between white Minnesotans, the Asian community, and the MIA. Their biggest takeaway from these cases was the importance of engaging and surveying stakeholders and to make sure that populations are engaged with the MIA's art but also that those populations are fairly and faithfully represented.

"Marketing, Disability, Diversity, and Engagement" Panel- Mediated by Beth Prevor, Executive Director of Hands On

Beth Prevor has found that people tend be afraid to discuss disabilities even in a context of how to improve an art institution's accessibility. In order to improve Hands On's accessibility, Beth mediated discussions around accessibility and marketing to people with disabilities. This included conversations on language, dealing with organizational restrictions in terms of budget, facilities, and management. In these sessions, she had the following takeaways:

  • It's wrong to simply say that a venue is accessible, if it's only accessible to a specific portion of the disabled community.
  • Each person's experience with dealing with disability is different, and their expertise is specific to their own needs. 
  • Staff needs to be trained on how to communicate this to audience members with disabilities.
  • Be honest and realistic with how your space is accessible to audiences members because they plan around this.
  • Deep market research is needed to learn who exactly is in the community
  • Exercise empathy rather than sympathy
  • Include disability in diversity conversations, treat it as any other minority when talking about diversity.
  • Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask questions, mistakes and faux pas are how people learn.

Did any of our readers attend NAMP was well? What were some of your takeaways or favorite sessions?