The National Arts Marketing Project Conference

Well, so it’s been a busy few weeks ’round these parts.  In the midst of it, I was able to attend the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Louahvull, KY (that’s Louisville for you Yankees out there) last weekend.  As I mentioned in a previous entry, it was an unusual conference for me, one where I listened more than spoke.  This, it turns out, is a good strategy.  It allows for new ideas to take root and dented confidence to heal a bit.

As I’ve said before, hanging out with marketers is cathartic if you are one yourself.  After all, no one but a marketer can understand how hard we work to make good decisions, accept as many ideas as we can, and make the sales that make it possible for our colleagues to keep getting a paycheck.  And how, despite our best efforts, a lot of it comes down to making guesses, educated ones, some good, some bad, but guesses nonetheless. 

This year’s conference was far more social media heavy than any conference I’ve been to, and I admit, it got a bit tedious.  But it was a riot to be part of the twitteratti (#nampc) at the conference, and I used twitter as a form of note-taking, recording gems from our amazing keynote speakers and some of the more profound presenters.  I also found myself tweeting with the guy sitting next to me, and met a woman I’d been following on twitter, only to find that, once we’d introduced ourselves, there was nothing left to say.  Awkward.  🙂 And I also, to my embarrassment and sheepish pride, received a basket full of fabulous bourbon goodies for tweeting the “funniest tweet” of the conference, which, it turns out, was quoting someone else quoting someone else.  Good thing there’s no copyright on tweets. 

We got to visit the Louisville Slugger factory and museum (I held both Mickey Mantle and David Ortiz’s bats!), and ate some pretty great food at the 21C Hotel’s restaurant, Proof

As for the wisdom gleaned from the conference, I think it can be summed up by the following: 

*Research is key (good thing, cause I need some!)

*Let the data drive your decisions (and, it turns out, your need to manage up (your boss), down (your staff) and sideways (your peers))

*Engage rather than broadcast (so hard to do when everything is about sales)

*Your front line staff have more power than you ever will. 

*Prayer should not be a marketing strategy (this was the tweet that was deemed funniest, which gives you an idea of how serious we marketers can be)

So all in all, it was a worthwhile weekend, capped off with a trip to Lynn’s Paradise Cafe where I ate a world-famous Hot Brown, an incredible cheese/turkey sandwich in a bowl which probably set my diet back by two years. And now I’m back, and blissfully travel-free until Christmas.  Thank goodness.  My dog might eventually remember who she belongs to.

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