This is my 3rd year attending the AMA Conference as a delegate, and the 2nd consecutive year that Spektrix has sponsored the Conference. For those seasoned AMAConf-ers, you know what’s in store for the next few days!
However, if you’re new to it all, or attending on your own - don’t worry. You’ll find that arts marketers are among the most sociable creatures on this planet. The meerkats of the arts sector, if you will.
But to give you a head start, I've compiled all my hard-won AMA Conference wisdom into 5 tips to help you survive the next 3 days.
1) Learn the lingo
Don’t forget to bring your copy of the Collins English Dictionary and then ceremoniously BURN IT as you adopt all manner of NewMarketingSpeak whilst desperately trying to wow your peers with awe-inspiring anecgloats.
The true heroes amongst you will even invent your own new marketing terms and we salute you, riding around on your marketing segway like some sort of Shakespeare of the digital age. For the rest of us, study this article thoroughly and drop selected phrases into conversation, like tasty morsels of buzzworthy linkbait. With a little immersive advertainment, and a dash of macro-campaigning alongside your megamarketing, you’ll garner some top-of-mind awareness for your own personal brand.
Don’t worry, there will be no appropriate moment for any of these words and no-one really understands them anyway, so use with wild abandon. Only then can you ride off into the sunset, smug as you like... YOLO SoLoMo
2) Adopt breakout session etiquette
We know how it is. You signed up for a breakout session a couple of months ago and, come the day, you have no idea where you’re supposed to go and so have to join the mad scramble at The Board of All Knowledge to discover your rightful place in the world.
You’ll notice some hastily scribbled names at the bottom of the list. These represent a mixture of people who either forgot to choose their breakout sessions (tut tut) or are the anti-establishment session switchers. These are folk who didn’t get a place in their preferred session (book early to avoid disappointment people!), like the look of another session, or just want to sit with the new BFF they met at Coffee Break No. 3 the day before. They are sneaky, they are cunning, and if you don’t watch out, they will steal your seat. Be vigilant. (And if you are a Session Switcher – keep sticking it to the man!)
3) Food = Fuel
At any conference, the food is always a subject of many tweets and Instagram moments. Rightly so, as re-fueling is important! However, lunchtime is fraught with potential perils. You will need to master the art not only of networking whilst keeping your place in the queue, but also of juggling your glass and plate whilst using a knife and fork, without spilling anything down your front. All whilst tweeting.
Dieters take note. Never have I eaten as many biscuits as I have at the AMAConf. Normally, I survive quite well without daily portions of biscuits. At the AMAConf however, I seem to channel @PigeonJon. I don’t need them, I’m not even hungry, but there they are and before I know it I am back in my seat with a 2 portion pack of biscuits in my bag. Usually the oaty ones – they are delish.
It’s also essential to be on the lookout for rogue grannies helping themselves to the “free buffet” (AmaConf Glasgow 2011)
4) Get Social
I don’t mean social media. In the words of Daft Punk (nearly), we’re up all night to Get Social. If you haven’t been before then don’t panic, there are plenty of opportunities to get social at the AMAConf. Don’t miss the Spektrix Social on Wednesday, a chance to warm up those dancing feet before the main AMA Social. It’s open to Spektrixers and non-Spektrixers alike, so come along and have a drink with us - I promise it’s not all nerdy tickety stuff!
Take care on the dancefloor. Should you inadvertently end up wandering aimlessly through the mêlée, you may well find yourself in the middle of a dance off between two ticketing software providers, I can’t imagine who this involved... but I blame the aforementioned Spektrix Social.... (AMAConf Brighton 2012)
5) Tweet wisely
Public Service Announcement: Beware the drunken tweet!
The AMA Conference inspires some excellent tweets. There are those who can listen, tweet and come up with witty retort all at the same time – some of them even illustrate their thoughts…. They are the Super Tweeters. Look out for them, for they have often got me through PLST (Post Lunch Sleepy Time). I however have not mastered this skill, so if you follow me, I can only apologise as I descend into a spiral of retweeting… for shame.
So, Twitter is your friend during the various keynotes and breakout sessions. However, when it comes to conference socialising, Twitter + drinking = potential disaster. My advice in this situation is to disable your Twitter account by 6pm each day. This is especially important if you also control your organisation’s Twitter account, as well as your personal one….
Learn from the case of the “social media strategist” who thought he was tweeting from his personal account, but was in fact logged into one of his clients’ accounts, @ChryslerAutos and tweeted, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f*cking drive.” It didn’t go down too well. What a strategist...
If you’ve made it thus far, well done. You are now ready for the AMAConf - one of the highlights on every arts marketer’s calendar. Go forth and Conference.