Broadway and This Way Up
Posted: Mon, 07 Dec 2015 12:30
Knowing what the latest breakthroughs in best practice surrounding your industry is key to ensuring you stay ahead of the curve and provide better overall experience for your audiences, as part of my role as Audience Development Co-ordinator at Broadway this is one of many fundamental principles that we look to build upon .
Conferences and seminars usually introduce new ways of working that have been tried and tested to a degree of success, so the overall objectives for attending This Way Up was to evaluate at how my organisation was approaching the set themes being explored and also to try and vindicate or question decisions made within my role over the past few years, as well as discussing related topics arising from these objectives with my peers.
Establishing top of mind awareness is critical in any strategy, but make no mistake about it, attending seminars ,networking events or conferences can be key to informing strategy if done properly. One of the most important elements—and one of the most overlooked to getting the most out of such events is to make sure your face and your message get in front of the same -and the right people .
A certain motivation for attending This Way Up was how I could learn a whole lot more from watching and interacting with industry leaders face to face. Attending a conference where these figures are speaking allows you to ask them all the burning questions you have. You can ask or impart some advice and possibly make a connection you can take advantage of in the future. And as I found out, attending a conference can help you on your way to becoming an expert yourself.
One of the most insightful and inspiring keynotes I have attended for a long while was Cross the Streams: Risk and Reward in Audience-centred Approaches by Anna Higgs, which was absolutely on the mark for me. Anna really found a way to engage with the delegates in the screen with her use of well-known 80's blockbusters, but she demonstrated a wealth of knowledge of film audiences, new practices and what insights can be gained from the work she has been undertaking, actually sharing the data gained from practice, which is rare in this instance and certainly set the bar for the other speakers at the event. She also highlighted those not just exhibitors, but what film makers and even distributors can learn from audience data and informed decisions when marketing and creating product.
I love data, it has had such positive impact for our organisation and has enabled us to do wonderful things, so I was really looking forward to Data is Beautiful, Honest. The room was asked about the use of data and it became increasingly apparent that everyone had access to data sets, but no one really had the understanding or time to analyse their data.
Instead of tackling this valuable insight head on, the conversation drifted from pricing structures to how organisations should be sharing data, which was the common theme throughout the event. The disappointing aspects of this seminar was the complete failure to address the common need for training in data collection and analysis, as well as the lack of example in how data is used in practice, successfully, in an exhibitor. I may also add that leading industry figures failed to share any sorts of credible data with the delegates, something which I think completely contradicts their rhetoric when it comes to openly sharing data.
As well as valuable insights gained talks giving by industry leading figures / organisations, a real benefit was felt from open discussions and networking after events, this was supported by the grand scale of employees from different areas of the attending exhibitor, meaning the conversation was ever changing, informative and provided a great platform for future collaborative work.