AMA Conference 2017 Roundup

This summer, members from the London Calling team headed to sunny Belfast for the AMA conference 2017. Our New Business Executive Carolina provides a roundup of some of the highlights and key take away points from this year’s two-day event.


Straight off the plane, we headed to our drinks reception where we met with some of the teams from Sadler’s Wells, the National Gallery, Jackson’s Lane, The Royal Court and Shakespeare’s Globe. It was a really great opportunity to meet with clients!

Following these drinks, we headed to the incredible Titanic Belfast for a very welcoming welcome dinner and speed networking session hosted by the AMA before it was back to the hotel in preparation for the conference to get into full swing the next day.


The seminars and talks kicked off first thing on Wednesday morning. Topics ranged from data security to inspiring change within your organisation.

Our Digital Manager Helen attended a session on Data Protection. If you’re not already excited (and who isn’t?!) for the new GDPR regulations coming into effect next year, these new rules will affect most arts organisations and will mean we all need to review and adapt our strategies towards data. This session was a clear and insightful introduction which made the upcoming changes seem much less intimidating!

Account Manager Katie attended the ‘Thinking Bigger: Adding Value to your Communications in a Fast-Changing Landscape’ seminar, presented by Phil Woodford. The talk focused on adding value to communications in a fast changing landscape and how we can adapt to this to. The session provided a valuable insight into how we can create personable and effective communication strategies, particularly when working on a tight budget.

Helen, Willow and Carolina also attended ‘The Audience Manifesto’. Here, they gained an insight in to how Manchester’s Royal Exchange has changed its marketing plans after providing theatre-goers with innovative questionnaires. It was fascinating to learn how the Royal Exchange have really listened to their audience’s opinion and how this has influenced the way they run their brand.

On Wednesday evening, the AMA hosted their summer party at The MAC – a theatre and performance space close to the Waterfront, providing a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with leading figures in the industry. The night continued with the other AMA delegates at a nearby bar – we even found ourselves swept up in a karaoke competition!


The Thursday sessions had a strong focus on why arts venues should be focusing on younger audiences – aka ‘Generation Z’ – providing crucial insights on audiences that our clients will need to be engaging with in the future.

Willow, from our Client Services team, was particularly inspired by a seminar co-presented by Jo Gordon from Royal & Derngate and Jim Beirne MBE,Chief Executive of Live Theatre, about the future of the arts and cultural sectors and what Senior Marketing Managers/Directors are thinking about. The two leaders shared their experiences of changing their organisations’ business models and how they radically re-envisioned their companies’ purpose. We gained a unique insight into both organisations’ audience priorities, including the marketing team’s changing objectives to deliver on these.

Another highlight from Thursday that we all particularly enjoyed was ‘Finding Your Carpool Karaoke: the way to Generation Z’s heart’. The talk, led by Livity’s Publishing Director Callum McGeoch, was a crash course in how cultural venues can create innovative marketing campaigns to access a 16-25 audience. As Livity is a youth-led creative network, Callum was able to provide great insight into how best we can reach a younger demographic – especially useful for our B2C websites.

This year’s AMA conference provided us an invaluable insight into emerging trends and how we can deliver a top-notch service, as well as giving us an opportunity to meet with many of our lovely clients face to face.

Thanks for having us, Belfast!