6. What did you think? #amaconf

Image for Amy Walters
Amy Walters, Theatre and Marketing Manager at The North Wall Arts Centre, tells us about her first time at AMA Conference.

2015 was my very first AMA Conference, and the whole thing was inspirational from start to finish. Opportunities to get outside the Oxford bubble are few and far between, so I relished meeting other arts marketing professionals and discussing the ins and outs of what works (and what definitely doesn’t) for their venue and their audience. It was also gratifying to know there are people who are as geeky about data as I am!

Whilst a lot of information on offer seemed completely out of reach for our organisation, it was brilliant to learn how, even as a small venue, we can make the most of our data – Spektrix’s “8 Measures of Marketing Success” armed me with a list of practical fixes that I could take back to The North Wall and easily implement as part of our day-to-day practice. The Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues’ data commonwealth & Insider Project left me in awe, and immediately went to the top of my wish list, closely followed by a trip to the Toledo Museum of Art.

I took copious amounts of notes and am still going through them – reporting relevant information to colleagues, checking out websites scribbled in the margins, and using new ideas to help me plot and plan for the upcoming season. Plenty to keep me going until the next AMA conference rolls around.

Follow The North Wall Arts Centre @TheNorthWall

#amaconf bursary recipients

PatronBase kindly offered bursaries to two delegates working in the first five years of their marketing career to attend this year’s AMA Conference.
Lily Middleton from Chelsea Physic Garden and Claire Jackson from National Portrait Gallery were the lucky recipients of these full conference places.

Claire Jackson

Claire Jackson, Marketing Officer, National Portrait Gallery
“With the generous support of PatronBase I was thrilled to be able to attend my first AMA Conference. The event in Birmingham proved to be a great experience and I have come away with renewed energy and new ideas for marketing the National Portrait Gallery’s broad and varied offer. It proved to be a great opportunity to network with peers, whilst taking in some of the local culture at MAC and Ikon, as well as make new connections and discuss our varying approaches to marketing the arts. I attended some really insightful break-out sessions on marketing to families, how to create an award winning marketing campaign and innovations in digital strategies as well as the thought-provoking keynote discussions on diversity and audience inspired visioning. The mix of speakers and attendees made for a diverse and interesting conference and I feel I have gained a huge amount of fresh insight and knowledge from the experience.”

Lily Middleton

Lily Middleton, Marketing and PR Assistant, Chelsea Physic Garden
“It was a slightly daunting experience attending my first conference, particularly after hearing there were over 600 others attending! But I needn’t have worried, as the Arts Marketing world is very friendly and welcoming. As soon as I had started my first event, an illustration workshop, I was chatting away about theatre with someone who works in Edinburgh. In fact throughout the entire conference, whoever I sat next to in a seminar or stood next to in the queue for lunch was incredibly friendly. Networking always seems a bit intimidating but in this environment I actively looked forward to more opportunities to meet the fascinating people surrounding me. The keynote speeches were inspirational, whether filling me with ideas on how my own organisation could be more welcoming to diverse audiences or sparking excitement around the possibilities of social media! The seminars filled my notebook with ideas to take back to the office and the brilliant digital hub gave me practical advice I’m already using in the office. The most reassuring aspect of the whole conference was that whether you work for a large arts organisation or a tiny one, all the challenges, and of course the rewards, are very similar!”

Many thanks go to PatronBase for providing this support for two delegates at the 2015 AMA Conference.

Duplicates in your data

Image for CCR Data blog post

Here Nikki Fox from CCR Data (the AMA Conference 2015 Supporter) explains the benefits of deduplication.

Customer Data is the lifeblood of any arts venue – without it where would the marketing, customer service and finance departments be? And yet, there is a big data problem amongst many arts organisations in the UK. The issue is duplication. In other words, many of their customers appear more than once on a customer database.

It might not sound like a huge challenge but, at a time when most marketers are striving to improve the performance and efficiency of their campaigns, duplicate records have the potential to create real business issues. When we’re asked to look into it for them we have found some databases have up to 30% duplicate records. So what impact can duplicate records have?

The problem with duplicates
Well, the first and most obvious issue is wastage of your marketing budget. If you send five of the same brochure or what’s on guide to one person, that’s like pouring money down the drain as you have to pay for duplicate print and postage costs, and you may also end up paying more for unnecessary data storage. In addition, it has a negative effect on response rates and so the overall ROI of your campaign.

Secondly, you can harm your brand’s reputation as a result of bombarding one customer with a multiplicity of mailings – it looks unprofessional and any green credentials of a brand fly straight out the window. Indeed, in analysis it released last year, Gartner quantified the impact of bad data management, identifying that annoying customers in this way can result in a 25% reduction in potential revenue gains.

Our deduplication technology uses a phonetic matching engine. This ties together records which appear similar and can be defined as the same. Take the example of Stephen Jones and Steven Jones both listed as living at 1 The Road, London. Phonetics will identify these similar records.

The benefits of accurate deduplication
The core benefit of deduplication is the direct cost saving. Imagine knowing that you were mailing 1,000 individuals twice and then think of the associated cost and potential brand damage. Deduplication vastly improves data quality and campaign success.

Deduplication also:

  • Identifies and groups customers that exist in the same dwelling
  • Creates a single customer view by merging data
  • Identifies returning customers
  • Increases return on investment
  • Improves environmental credentials

Managing Duplicates
Once duplicates have been identified at the required level and master records selected, duplicates need to be managed. This can be done in many ways and again will vary dependant on a client’s requirements.

Do you…

  • Flag & exclude duplicates from future campaigns?
  • Delete all duplicated from the system?
  • Merge duplicate records?

The most effective method is to merge duplicates. This not only reduces wasted direct marketing spend but enables the following:

  • Accurate, cost effective data cleaning
  • Create and maintain a single customer view
  • Retain valuable contact history
  • Keep field variables i.e. email

Managing duplicates is an on-going process and should be assessed at every juncture to ensure that the knock on effects caused by duplicate records can be limited.

Keep it clean
Once you have a clean database, it’s important to keep it that way and there are several things you can do. For a start, you should create more rigorous processes up front, such as stricter quality control on data capture or restrictions on who can create new data records. You also need to build duplicate management into your ongoing database strategy, assessing it regularly (and particularly prior to campaigns).

Obviously it costs money to deduplicate your database, but it’s worth the investment as the costs are likely to be significantly lower than the money (and brand reputation) that you will lose otherwise. For example, assuming a mailpack cost of 45p, if you are doing a mailing to 100,000 customers of which 20% are duplicates, deduplication will save you £9,000.

To assess your data and gain an accurate picture of your duplicates contact CCR for a free data audit.

Nikki Fox is Business Development Executive at CCR Data.
@Nicolinefox
nfox@ccrdata.co.uk 

5. What did you think? #amaconf

Annabel Clarke
Our fifth conference post from a delegate comes from Annabel Clarke, a freelance arts marketer based in the West Midlands

What did you find most useful or interesting?
This was my first AMA conference. Although quite an outlay as a freelancer, how could I refuse the chance to attend the conference when it was on my doorstep?

Networking was the most useful part of the conference for me. As well as meeting marketers from across the globe – I met a few who had travelled from as far as Australia, Hong Kong and Malta – it was also a great chance to finally meet people I had sometimes only had email contact with. There were lots of chances to do this within the socials or just sitting next to someone new in a seminar. The AMA team were also really friendly and very approachable.

What did you enjoy most about the conference?
I found the most inspiring talk was from Esme Ward, Head of Learning and Engagement at Manchester Museum & Whitworth Art Gallery talking about Developing marketing campaigns to engage family audiences. The work the team undertook to keep audiences curious and continue awareness of the Whitworth whilst it was closed for redevelopment was wonderfully creative and fun. Projects included pop-up activities in supermarkets, handwritten letters to local people and, for big kids – pub crawls. The whole audience came out of the seminar buzzing. I will be visiting the gallery very soon.

I do have a soft spot for the second city, so it was great to be able to show off Birmingham. I hope a few people took up my tip of going to the very top of the Library of Birmingham for a view across the city and on a good day, the Malvern Hills.

What’s the one thing you will take away from this year’s conference?
Just like the theme of this year’s conference, that it’s importance to stay curious! I took so many nuggets of tips, ideas and information that I hope to use and adapt in future projects. Would I recommend the conference to fellow freelancers? Absolutely.

Annabel Clarke is a freelance arts marketer based in the West Midlands.
More information is on her website. Follow Annabel @PixieSixer

4. What did you think? #amaconf

Rosie Hamilton
Continuing our series of post-conference delegate blog posts Rosie Hamilton, Marketing and Fundraising Officer at Artrix, gives us a run down of her highlights

Very kind of the AMA to hold their conference in Birmingham which is only 20 minutes away by train! As I’m here with two hats on I’ve picked a mixture of marketing and fundraising sessions and the next two days flash by.

On Day 1 the breakfast briefing from AudienceViewThe World’s Best Fundraising Strategies, reveals that in the USA philanthropy is a social institution and there’s loads of helpful case studies. Then, after the keynote, there’s a session on Adapting your message to reach different target groups with Laraine Pearson at Northern Ballet. I particularly like the way they shifted their brand towards emotional engagement in response to their research findings and their photos are amazing.

Over lunch I realise how incredibly chatty and friendly everyone is and I catch up with the lovely team from Wolverhampton Grand before speed-dating with the social media experts in the Digital Hub a fast and fascinating hour. Sadly, thanks to my last train leaving at 10pm, I miss out on most of the social sessions (boo-hoo!) but I have time to catch up with the PatronBase gang at the Island Bar before heading home.

Day 2 and the stand-out session for me is Lisa Baxter’s How to Have Productive Conversations with Your Audience. I’m partnered with Georgina from the National Centre for Circus Arts and we probe each other for more details during a fun conversation on beaches, prescription sunglasses and circuses! Top takeaways are to never take an adjective at face value and don’t ask leading questions. In Innovative Storytelling to inspire Potential Donors with the Ministry of Stories, an inspirational organisation which encourages children to write stories, we hear about the difference they make to children’s lives and how good they are at engaging donors. We end up co-writing a story about a pineapple-eating time-travelling bear and giggling!

Two weeks on and I’m staying curious. Looking forward to seeing everyone in Edinburgh next year. What a great couple of days, thank you AMA!

Rosie Hamilton is Marketing and Fundraising Officer at Artrix. Follow them @ArtrixArts