I’ve always been an admirer of International Festivals and Events Association. Many good friends I know have been a part of the organization for years and have very powerful and emotional ties to the group of events professionals. Colleagues of mine have attended, but the 2013 Conference in Pittsburgh was my first opportunity to join in the fun.
Thanks to an invitation from Executive Director Steve Schmader, I was able to do a presentation entitled “#Whippersnappers – Effective Marketing of Community Events in Today’s Multi-generational World.” Long title, lots of syllables – but an issue that Steve felt should be addressed. I was happy to contribute an article on the same theme and then construct a presentation around it. Here’s the link: http://artsmarketingblog.org/?p=196
Good news is the session was well received. And although I could’ve been a little sharper at the beginning, comments after the session were generally positive. (I think I graded out at an A-. 😉 Hopefully, there are a few folks that will start sharing here at artsmarketingblog so we can carry on a conversation that moves everyone ahead.
An interesting thought I had after the two sessions following mine, was how locked-on the three different sessions were even though I had never met the other presenters. Bruce Early from Creative Strategies Group did a great session about about social media activation inside sponsorships and the keynote was a classic presentation from Ted Baroody from Norfolk Festevents.
All three sessions contained similar themes and for those individuals who sat in on all three surely felt there was a bit of continuation of the message throughout all. I think this provided a real cohesiveness that many conferences lack… even if it was a certain serendipity to the outcome.
The main message was that content is what differentiates events and festivals and parades from other potential marketing avenues. As Ted spoke “We are the content.” I can’t agree more. We need to create as much content as possible around our events and the features that make us so different. Our fans will appreciate it. Our sponsors will benefit from it. And our events will continue to grow.
The next time an ad agency or sponsor wants to do something that really affects people and serves the community, they need not look any farther that the special events in the areas they serve for an outlet that not only brings unique opportunities, but also creates special memories for everyone involved.
I’d like to thank Steve Schrader for welcoming me to the IFEA family, Bruce Early for his energetic presentation, Ted Baroody for his inspiring words, Gail Lowney Alofsin and her Newport Harbor team for their passion, the Parade Company team for the sparkles and magic, Ed Bautista and Ashley Sider for “Hairspray” at 8AM, Eric Martin for his moral support and Kevin Grothe and Valerie Grudzien for their instant friendship! All good stuff that led me to learn, think and wonder about new ideas and solutions for old problems.
Until you step away for a little bit, you really don’t understand how great it can be to be a part of others in your field that care so passionately for our fans, our friends and our future!