Friday, June 12, 2009

A British Perspective

Mark Pemberton:
Sorry I've been so quiet but a) I've just been so busy and b) I objected to paying for internet access at the Palmer House. Now that I've re-located to the Park Hyatt for a few days of sightseeing, and have access to free wi-fi, I can give you my views on a fascinating few days.

So, highlights for me definitely include the drinks at the Art Institute. What an amazing building. And great views. Slightly embarrassed that it should be the Brits who have to be kicked out at the end of the night.

In terms of the conference, we can't avoid the fact that the state of the economy has drowned out all other topics. Which is a shame, as the conference is the opportunity to look to the future, while also sharing the problems of the present day. For this reason I gravitated towards discussion on new technology. I found today's Social Networking session interesting up to a point. But Russell Jones was spot on in his cry of "what about the dollars?". The speakers kept talking about the "new business model". But Facebook and Twitter have no business model! They have no means of generating income. So while they provide opportunities for communication and audience development, they have, I fear, limited income potential.

I enjoyed the Round Table, though found it hard to hear the speakers. If the League is going to repeat this, then, if it can afford it, booths would work better. And I know times are hard, but could they not have stretched to giving us a cup of coffee this morning?

Benchmarking for Success provided some useful information and will certainly help my organisation.

But the main benefit of attending the conference has to be the range of people you meet. Everyone is so friendly and has a story to tell.

As for Chicago - what a great city. Though all those ribs and deep dish pizzas have done nothing for my waistline.

See you in Atlanta.

1 comment:

Marc van Bree said...

Social networking is not "a business model." Social networking is a tactic or tool in your strategy.

Most managers will want to see dollars coming in from social networking in the short term. But that is exactly the wrong approach. Social media is not a short term solution. To think so is short-sighted.

Going into social media with the objective to sell tickets is, in my opinion, wrong as well.

Although nonprofits need to make money to operate, they are not here for profits. Social networking/media can help you in your core mission: bringing art and music to people. It can extend the life of a performance and engage and build communities. And that's a goal or objective too.

Think long term and build an engaged community. An engaged community, as your development and marketing departments will attest, is much more likely to mean some form of revenue.