Last month, one of the most exciting and inspiring gatherings in the cultural sector took place in Leeds, United Kingdom. The Spektrix Conference 2018 is (obviously) organized by Spektrix, a leading ticketing and CRM provider in the United Kingdom and North America.
Unlike other conferences run by system providers, this conference focuses on the challenges and solutions people have found in our sector – and not their tools.
With over 400 attendees, the networking opportunities were huge and the content incredibly rich. If you’re not able to decide which session to go to, you can tell it’s a successful conference – and this was certainly the case in Leeds!
The opening keynote from Claire Connor, CEO of The Place (the leading dancing academy in London), was exceptionally moving and insightful. She talked about change, both in her private and professional life. Being a mother as well as a cultural industry leader can be very challenging! She somehow found a way to keep both lives in balance and shared her secret with us: bring your whole self to work! Your experiences outside of work can actually make you a more effective leader. Just think about it …
The first seminar was presented by Chris McGuigan, Head of Sales & Marketing at HQ Theatres & Hospitality, and Tom Shallaker, Head of Development (Fundraising) at Cambridge Live. They spoke about their experiences in negotiating deals. Chris, with his commercial acumen, described the successes and failures they had when trying to align their productions with commercial businesses (and their brands). To make his point, he simply dissected the meaning of a ‘deal’: the agreement must be interesting for both parties. That’s the key to negotiating!
The least popular session of the day is the one right after lunch, right? Well, we were surprised by a revealing workshop in consumer psychology, run by the much-admired Debbie Richards of Baker-Richards (the leading consultancy on pricing in the United Kingdom).
Being split up in five teams, we were given ten different experiences and ten different prices. Our job was to match the prices to the experiences. Sounds simple, right? Well, I can tell you it was very interesting! One team member was convinced a ballet performance would be £ 300 and a football game £ 75, others the other way around. In the end, not one team got all ten (or in fact even more than five) combinations right. Debbie’s key lesson was that we should remember that our target audience has different motivations and places different values on events, so we should ensure having different prices to match to an experience.
We would recommend all managers in the cultural sector to head to this (free!) conference. It was superbly organized and so refreshing to have insights in our sector (instead of discussing software).