Design a Hybrid Experience That Delivers to Both Audiences

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CASSS is taking a slightly different approach for its upcoming hybrid annual meeting. Although planning it as one event, the group also knows the experience won’t be exactly the same for in-person and virtual attendees. Here’s how they are planning a valuable experience, no matter where a person is participating from.

CASSS is in the planning stages for its January 2022 hybrid annual meeting, but the professional scientific society is taking a new look at how to approach it. While recognizing that the conference must have shared components and connected audiences, the group also is fine with the event having two different feels, depending on if a person attends in person or online.

“We’re planning it as one meeting, but we are looking at how to have two different experiences,” said Anne Ornelas, senior operations manager at CASSS. “We’re really focused on what will happen in person and then making sure we connect the dots with our virtual audience.”

Right now, the plan is to provide valuable experiences for both attendees, be as inclusive as possible, and recognize that both attendee experiences won’t be exactly the same.

Because parameters related to the event’s physical space may change, depending on safety standards or social-distancing requirements, CASSS plans to continue its roundtables—where teams of 10 to 12 attendees participate in a facilitated deep-dive discussion—as virtual, even for in-person attendees.

“The roundtables worked really well for us virtually this last year, so we are continuing with that,” Ornelas said. “In person, we would have had to have that spacing at the hotel.”

To keep the in-person and virtual attendees connected at live sessions, questions will be asked the same way for both audiences: via an online system.

“If they are onsite and want to ask their question, they will go onto the website,” Ornelas said. “All the questions will be funneled into one channel, so the moderators will be able to ask the question no matter who it is. They won’t know whether it’s from the virtual or onsite, which is great because it eliminates the virtual people getting left out.”

While the goal is to be inclusive when the audiences are experiencing the same content, there is also the recognition that not all content will be the same.

“Our reception, the exhibit hall—to be able to connect with people that way will be only available to the in-person audience,” Ornelas said. “We are working to have some virtual engagement activity, [maybe] something like a cocktail mixer to buy the ingredients at home and make in conjunction with the group online, so that they have something to do together.”

To ensure there’s enough time to clean and sanitize according to protocols that may be in place, CASSS plans to have longer breaks in between live sessions. “We are creating a longer day and reducing some of the content,” Ornelas said. “So, the ability to do things in virtual as well will allow us some flexibility.”

For example, the virtual roundtables will take place during one of those extended breaks in the live action. While the roundtables allow live attendees to participate virtually, the event will also have technical seminars, which are created by sponsors and only available to the live audience. Most content that is streamed—depending on contracts—will be available for on-demand viewing after the event to both sets of attendees.

For CASSS, the hybrid event provides the opportunity to serve all its members and stakeholders, because many just aren’t able to be onsite. “It’s not even up to the person if they want to come,” Ornelas said. “It’s whether their company will allow them to travel. In some cases, if they work for a health authority in Europe, they may not be able to come to the United States.”

Ornelas said other organizations looking to hybrid events should focus on your attendees and ways to connect them. “Be thoughtful,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be complicated. Don’t ignore either audience in one way or another. Make sure you’re connecting them in some way.”

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Four Ways to Better Measure Your Professional Development Offerings

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Asking the right survey questions—and adapting your strategies as needed—can help associations learn a thing or two about their professional development tools.

Professional development may be a key reason that many people join associations—so when it’s not working, membership itself can be threatened.

That’s why measurement is important. But what’s the best way to track success?

Jack Coursen, director of professional development at the American Speech-​Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), says his organization has focused on survey questions to guide its strategy. The results have helped the organization improve its offerings—and how it surveys learners—over time.

“Our being intentional about how we’re using surveys has been really, really important,” he says.

Here are just some of the strategies Coursen and his team have learned from analyzing feedback from ASHA’s professional development offerings:

Use an open-ended format to ask attendees what they learned. As a part of understanding what people have learned, ASHA uses a single open-ended reflection question at the end of the course, as opposed to a quiz-style multiple-choice approach. It’s not a survey question meant to determine the success of the course, but it helps put users in the mindset of critical thinking—and it effectively offers a way to help learners reinforce their own development, Coursen says. “The open-ended reflection requires people to actually think about what they experienced and identify the most salient takeaways that they had, thinking about how they could actually apply it in work,” he says. “Maybe they can’t read it again, but they’re thinking about it. And then the act of them writing the material down, too, will reinforce whatever they thought.”

Tie your optional survey questions to a required response. Another benefit of asking a required, open-ended question at the end of the course is that it tees up attendees to answer optional survey questions placed next to required questions—which significantly improves the response rate to the optional questions. “It was actually kind of a revolutionary experiment,” Coursen says. “Many years ago, we actually started doing this, because the response rate for those questions is astronomically high.”

Don’t be afraid to change up the questions. Coursen says that ASHA learned its tactics around open-ended questions through a willingness to experiment. “Sometimes we won’t change them at all; sometimes we only change them once a year,” Coursen says. “But we try to reassess periodically whether or not we feel like we’re getting the data that is really useful to us—and also challenging ourselves to say, ‘Are we acting upon the data?’” Periodically testing new strategies creates opportunities to build stronger approaches over time.

Dig into the data. While ASHA doesn’t pull from more granular activity data, the organization does rely on purchase and completion data, which tie back into its association management system (AMS) and analytics tools. “It is not in service of learning, but because we’re a learning business, it’s very much in service of business—which for us is like an overall satisfaction score,” Coursen says. For data points that don’t tie into automated systems such as an AMS, the results are pulled often and analyzed to try to gather broader lessons. He also notes that large online courses—such as one the association recently held on gender diversity—often provide opportunities to get more granular with feedback. “Looking at the specific feedback for that particular course among the live attendees was really powerful in terms of getting a sense of its effectiveness at exposing people to new ways of thinking,” he says.

While this approach may not work for everyone, Coursen notes that the spirit of gathering data and responding to it for both your educational and business needs could benefit associations far and wide.

“I think it is going to depend on your overarching business strategy,” he says. “You may have measures that are really in service of—and whether or not it’s supporting achievement of—those larger business strategies.”

 

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Looking To Drive Innovation? Prioritize Relationship Building Among Attendees.

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Lydia Janow of Aviation Week embraces everything from quirky floor plans to topical content to facilitate long-lasting relationships with attendees—and spur innovation in the aviation industry.

To create innovative and interactive meetings post-pandemic, planners around the nation are raising the bar on productivity and capitalizing on the attendee experience. In Orlando, eight planners have exceeded in this area, setting the bar high for both their peers and the industry. We talked to them about how they combine lessons learned during the pandemic with tried-and-true best practices to create meaningful in-person experiences to re-engage attendees—and keep them coming back for more.

Our first “Planner of Productivity” is Lydia Janow, managing director of events and trade shows for Aviation Week, a global network that provides news, data, tools, and events for aviation industry insiders. Janow began her journey at Aviation Week as an administrative assistant. Thirty years later, she oversees a large international team and a contracted sales force. Together, they produce legacy events in domestic destinations, including Orlando, as well as far-flung locales such as Dubai and Singapore. Like many of their events, this year’s conference will help attendees build long-lasting relationships with one another—and will focus on helping the aviation industry rebuild capacity and sustainability for years to come.

Visit Orlando: Some of your events have been running for more than 20 years. Can you give us a few examples of how you keep these legacy events fresh and make sure they still add value for attendees?

Lydia Janow: It’s a great question. On the conference side, we focus on innovative content to keep things feeling fresh and new. Conferences are always jam-packed with topics; you want to have a diverse selection to meet attendees’ needs. But what will people actually attend, listen to and stay engaged with? This is what I ask myself.

We also spend significant time thinking about the floor plan. It seems insignificant, but the environment we create can drastically change the atmosphere and energy for attendees. Sometimes, we switch up where registration is held. Maybe we add lounges along the perimeter of the floor plan. We also create wide aisles to encourage mingling, and always tap into our creative brains to name them something fun. When we were in Orlando, we named the “streets” after Disney characters the first time, and the second time, we brought in themes from Universal. It’s fun to plan and always gives attendees something to talk about.

Visit Orlando: How do you define innovation, and what are you doing to infuse it into the live meetings you plan?

LJ: Innovation is strewn throughout everything we talk about. It can mean many things to many different people: Products and suppliers exhibiting on the show floor, or people at all levels of the aviation supply chain. And then the visitors, the airlines, and the leasing companies. They’re all learning from each other. No matter the topic, there is always a need for this type of networking, conversation and education around new products and services. It’s all about relationship building and what they’re doing together.

VO: What advice would you give to peers about keeping up with consumer expectations? How should they not only manage this, but continuously surprise and delight attendees?

LJ: Take a step back and watch. Watch the audience behavior, whether on the show floor, in a booth, at registration. During the event, my office is the registration area and the exhibition floor because I love to observe and learn attendee behavior in real time. It’s the most useful way I’ve found to collect this type of information.

VO: Describe a few of the initiatives you’ve spearheaded—no matter how large or small—to improve the live attendee experience.

LJ: We recently introduced what we call a “Go Live Theater,” where suppliers have the opportunity to talk about their product. It’s been a hit—attendees are engaged and suppliers love the 15 minutes of fame.

We also have plans to debut an “Aerospace Incubator.” Just think about “The Jetsons” and you’ll know what they’re working towards: flying cars. It’s a very hot subject right now, but what does this actually look like in the future? We’re planning to launch this new series to bring together the financial side of the industry, new startups, the new technologies, and the innovators who are bringing it all together.

VO: You have held conferences in numerous domestic and international locations. What keeps you coming back to Orlando?

In 2020, I told the team that come hell or high water, we would be holding this event in person in 2021. A lot of them shook their heads and didn’t believe me. Orlando came to mind immediately. After visiting the site and meeting the team, I was extremely confident that, at the end of April, we could host MRO Americas there. And we did. It was seamless and Orlando blew it out of the water.


This article has been provided by Visit Orlando.

When it comes to productivity, innovation and unique attendee experience, Orlando tops the list. With fantastical backdrops you won’t find anywhere else, only Orlando can offer incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences that your attendees will be talking about for years to come. Tapping into the heritage of creative thinking from its first-rate theme parks, Orlando offers a wide range of creative resources to help transform your meeting or event. From unique team building activities, exclusive dine-around options to immersive private events inside its world-renowned theme parks complete with a fire-breathing dragon, you are sure to wow your group in Orlando. Discover the many resources available to you to help make your next meeting or event unforgettable at Orlandomeeting.com.

 

 

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Seven Social Media Platforms to Keep an Eye On

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Now is a great time to expand your knowledge of social media beyond Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, thanks to a new crop of social venues.

If your association is still trying to get a grasp on Snapchat, you may be behind the times when it comes to social media trends.

Despite the fact that the dominant social networks—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube—get the most attention, social media is continuing to evolve, and there are some interesting social networks worth watching even if you don’t have a use for them yet.

Among them:

Clubhouse. The most high-profile of recent social media apps, this tool features breezy audio conversation, creating a level of intimacy missing from large social networks. (Other factors creating heat: The network is invite-only, iOS-only, and loaded with celebrities.) The concept is hot enough that both Twitter and Facebook have started working on competitors of their own.

Discord. Akin to a more mainstream version of Slack, Discord first gained popularity in the gaming community because it allows conversations over voice, video, and traditional text chat. (Signifying its gaming roots: Its logo looks like a controller.) Despite initially being seen as niche, Discord has broadened its appeal, doubling in size during the pandemic to more than 120 million monthly active users. That surge puts it on pace for growth similar to Snapchat (265 million daily active users), Pinterest (459 million monthly active users), and Twitter (192 million daily active users).

Signal. A desire for more privacy mixed with a growing concern about larger social networks has helped draw attention to this secure chat application, which broke through to mainstream audiences last fall. According to Fast Company, its success is partly due to a privacy policy update by one of its primary competitors, the Facebook-owned WhatsApp, that was unpopular with users because it allowed more data to be shared with third parties.

Caffeine. Twitch is clearly the biggest player among live video-streaming networks, and YouTube’s live offerings are also popular, but the pandemic has helped raise up other players as well. One new entry to the field is Caffeine, formed by a team of former Apple executives in 2018, which serves as a platform for what founder Ben Keighran calls “social broadcasting.” Caffeine has attracted a slate of celebrities by offering a way for them to stream content directly to their audiences.

Planetary. A big concern among social media fans is centralization, in part because of factors such as openness, privacy, and moderation. This concern has been driving the creation of alternative social network experiences, such as Mastodon. The brand-new Planetary, which launched to the public just last month, is an attempt to create a mainstream version of a social network built on distributed principles. Its founder, Evan Henshaw-Plath, was Twitter’s first employee. (Henshaw-Plath is also helping with a formative effort to decentralize Twitter.)

EarBuds. An audio platform like Clubhouse, EarBuds encourages curators to share what they’re listening to with a broader audience. Founded by a former football player and directly inspired by his experiences on the field, EarBuds and other similar tools could help bring back an intimacy lost in the digital era.

Text messaging. Bet you didn’t expect to see this here, did you? Well, texting is having a bit of a renaissance because of new tactics that could help organizations reach broader audiences. Recent tools such as Subtext, which works sort of as a Substack for texting, have emerged to take advantage of the broadcast capabilities and high response rates of text-based social media.

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Membership Pro Tip: An Easy Way to Spur Innovation

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Need some help coming up with different ways to engage members? Create a swipe file for inspiration to help you think outside the box.

Generating new ideas quickly became a necessity last spring. It was not enough to rely on standard methods of engaging members, like creating a better marketing strategy, to manage tough times. “Marketing’s not a fix if you don’t have value,” said Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE, president and CEO of Avenue M Group.

To go beyond marketing, organizations need to analyze the channels they use to engage members. “You have to think about it and brainstorm,” she said. Jacobs recommends a “swipe file” exercise to encourage finding solutions beyond the usual strategies.

How Does It Work?

A swipe file is a place to store great ideas that catch your eye, inspire you, and motivate you to think about things differently. If you see something that grabs your attention, like an exciting ad campaign for a new product, then add it to the swipe file.

She suggests choosing “awesome products” you would actually buy and that you need. “The same as members coming to your association,” she said. After creating a swipe file, then meet and talk with your team about why those items stood out.

Why Is It Effective?

Discussing great ideas from the swipe file motivates staff to look at different ways to engage with members. Even if you don’t have the resources to implement the great ideas, talking about them and thinking about them spurs more ways to expand beyond existing markets. “Put away all resource constraints, and once you come up with the big ideas, then come back and assess what’s realistic to implement,” she said.

What’s the Benefit?

 A swipe file spurs more innovation and encourages people to look for new solutions and ways to do things that will provide more value to members. “That’s how organizations need to expand,” Jacobs said. “You have to step away from what you’ve done traditionally.”

Do you have a membership pro tip? Please share in the comments or send me an email.

 

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Let Content Be the Bridge That Builds Your Hybrid Events

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Hybrid events—parallel events that differ in scope, style, and interactivity—present a tough road for associations. Well-designed content could make the road a little less rocky.

By Melissa Bouma

With the shifts in our culture that have taken place since the pandemic began, many associations have simply been trying to keep their heads above water in hopes that in-person events—and the comfortable business model they support—make their return.

The struggle is real, as they say. Even as people begin to emerge from their home offices and conduct business in person, the reality is that there’s going to be a lengthy “mushy period” in which events will live in both the digital and physical worlds. This may pose challenges for a number of reasons—not least of which is needing to plan two events that are related but have to be organized separately, with different target audiences and different distribution methods.

This, in turn, will lead to other hurdles. For example, what if your event has in-person attendees but virtual speakers? Or live speakers for virtual attendees? Recording all of these sessions could get expensive fast. Given that events make up as much as 40 percent of an organization’s revenue, according to a Personify study, juggling all of these considerations can be complicated. Equally important is that attendees continue to derive real value from events, regardless of whether they’re in person or virtual. So how do you make sure that all attendees, virtual and live, come away with, if not the same, then a similar experience? Ultimately, the goal is to make all the elements of an event available to everyone, regardless of location—and content can be a great way to do this.

Here are a few ideas for using content to conquer all your obstacles:

Find new ways to leverage the content later. People are wary of traveling right now, and many will not be in a position to go anywhere anytime soon. And as we know, while people may register for an event at a set time, they may not get to it until later. This makes it all the more important to create content recaps of key event takeaways, in either digital or print form, so virtual attendees can still engage with the event in some way. Plus, content recaps can become an opportunity to repackage and re-form information differently down the line—a concept called content atomization. Reusing content in this manner not only builds member engagement but can also help your organization find ways to experiment, single out successful strategies, and scale up what works.

Build a digital microsite. Sure, you can have a digital event, but simply trying to re-create an in-person conference in a virtual format may not be enough to keep the attention of a digital audience. Building an experience that’s tailored to what a digital audience needs—whether that’s in a live setting or after the fact—could have a strong effect on people participating at home. (Especially if it’s personalized.) There’s a good chance that people may still be working while trying to attend a virtual event, meaning that they’ll be distracted. By leading with strong content and a creative design—think Apple’s use of virtual “Memoji” heads during its Worldwide Developers Conference this year—you might be able to change the conversation. (It might also prove attractive to sponsors, too.)

Lean on a “flipped learning” model. Getting people to return to an in-person venue will take time, but you can use your hybrid events to start to encourage them. One type of nudge: What if you built your event around a flipped model, where the learning was done online, but the post-learning discussion happened in person? That way, before people even stepped into a room, you’d know that everyone was on the same page—and the in-person interactions would gain new power. Such an approach could encourage people to get back to the expo hall, as they are reminded of the real synergy and value of “live” interactions. It would also maximize the best aspects of each setting: focused learning at home, social interaction in person.

In summary, high-quality content can provide a bridge between audiences that might not be in the same room. And when trying to prove that your organization is vital to its members, that bridge may be just what’s needed to ensure that everyone ends up on the same side.


Melissa Bouma, president of Manifest, has more than 15 years of experience building insight-driven branding and content strategy, with a client base representing large companies, major universities, and prominent associations.

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Five Meeting Features to Reevaluate Post-Pandemic

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Time away from the expo hall might offer an opportunity to try things in a new way. Read on for ways to tweak your offerings in response to COVID-19—or just because it’s time for a rethink.

In-person events are slowly coming back—but the time away from them offers an opportunity to rethink some of their common features.

And it’s not just health and safety protocols that are getting a fresh look in the wake of COVID-19. The pandemic’s forced pause has given meeting planners a chance to see their events in a new light.

With that in mind, here are a few areas you may want to consider refreshing before your next in-person event:

1. Swag Bags

During the pandemic, branded items, or swag, took a bit of a back seat to other priorities, giving event planners an opportunity to rethink the whole swag concept while in-person events were on break.

One notable way this played out was the rise of tangible items mailed to virtual attendees’ doors, and there’s evidence that mailed swag may find useful life beyond the pandemic. How so? Well, The Wall Street Journal reports that the somewhat wasteful nature of swag has given way to a concept called “gifting as a service,” essentially giving swag recipients the option to get items that they are more likely to want mailed to their doors.

2. Exhibit Halls

Even as Americans continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it’s still important to come up with ways to manage exhibit halls so that they are more spread out and don’t cause crowding. The blog for Kalahari Resorts & Conventions has a few ideas for building exhibits with physical distancing in mind, including creating wider aisles, organizing booths in quads to allow extra aisle space, using dividers, and carving out additional space between exhibits.

“Whatever modifications you make, be sure to communicate these with your exhibitors and attendees so they know your exhibit hall is designed with everyone’s health in mind,” the blog explains.

As time goes on, there may be room to loosen these standards, but for now this could be an effective way to make room for social distancing while keeping the energy of the in-person exhibit hall.

3. Codes of Conduct

Codes of conduct were seeing big changes even before the pandemic, but in light of recent discussions about diversity, they have become increasingly important as a tool to ensure that members are following standards of professionalism that make strides toward inclusivity.

One other type of document that could come in handy in an in-person environment is the meeting agreement, which gained attention during the pandemic as a way to help set a standard of comfort and engagement during virtual events. Given the discussions around giving attendees room for social distancing, it could prove an important addition to your in-person event repertoire, too.

4. Planning Documents

If associations hope to get people back at events again, they need to emphasize that the organization is taking safety seriously—a job that is likely to fall on an association’s planning team.

With that in mind, creating a COVID-19 protocol document to keep attendees safe could be the way to go. Julie Ann Schmidt, CMM, CMP, the CEO of Lithium Logistics Group and a certified COVID compliance officer, told Associations Now about the importance of building a document like this back in February.

“Your protocol document is your standalone document that states everything your association is doing to keep everyone safe,” Schmidt explained. “It encompasses several elements—from cleaning, to screening and testing, to transportation, and everything in between.”

5. Food & Beverage

During the pandemic, concerns about going to restaurants were common, with the buffet facing particular challenges. While the business is slowly coming back, most notably to Las Vegas, consumers may be more wary of buffet-style dining than they used to be.

Given that many in-person events traditionally have offered buffet options for attendees in the expo hall, a rethink is likely. Some observers, such as Sean Willcoxon of Mazzone Hospitality, see the buffet sticking around—but not in the form most people expect.

“To minimize shared tools, buffets are no longer self-serve. Instead, attendants serve each guest,” he wrote for TSNN last fall. “While this may slow line speed and efficiency, health and safety must be the priorities.”

As the Cvent blog notes, others see a move toward single-serving grab-and-go dining options, as well as meals pre-placed at seats during the event.

 

 

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How to Build a Competency-Based Board

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The authors of an updated edition of Race for Relevance argue not just for smaller boards, but boards that also are more alert to the challenges an association will face in the near future.

Radically controversial opinions are rare in the association world, so the ones that emerge tend to be memorable. Ten years ago, consultants Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers, CAE, kicked off a heated discussion among association leaders when they published their book, Race for Relevance, which argued that the optimal size of a board is five members.

Five-member boards are still hard to come by, but in years since the book’s publication more associations are recognizing the need to be efficient and nimble—adjectives that don’t mesh well with a 20-person board or 100-member house of delegates. “Associations board are composed for consensus, not speed or competitive advantage,” says Byers. “And the latter two things have increased in importance over the past decade.”

So for the new revised edition of Race for Relevance, Coerver and Byers are sticking with their advice. But they note that a smarter, speedier board also requires board members who are smarter about governance in general and the needs of their association in particular. As they write in the book, selection of board members “should be guided by an understanding of what competencies will be needed to govern the association and direct it effectively into the future.”

If that seems obvious, Coerver points out that there are plenty of associations that still neglect basic vetting of their volunteer leaders. “Only a third of boards interview their board members before they come on,” he says. “Two thirds of board members don’t even get an interview to find out, What are you interested in? Why do you want to be on this board?”

Race for Relevance includes case studies of organizations that have conducted environmental scans regarding their needs for the next five years, and then vetted and recruited potential board members who can help with those needs. That could mean marketing talent, or tech savvy, or representation from previously underserved member groups. Regardless, it’s better, they argue, if that expertise resides within the board, rather than be passed on to an ad hoc committee or task force. For critical issues, having a peer speak on the topic carries more weight than if it comes from staff or a volunteer group.

Doing this involves some tricky balancing work, at least at first, they say. Associations should do more to scout for future board talent, but avoid creating a formal leadership pipeline that generates an it’s-my-turn-mentality that turns board service into a coronation, not a duty. “You don’t want that circle to be so small that there’s an idea that anybody’s being knighted,” Byers says.

Similarly, looking for particular skill sets among board members doesn’t mean they should be supplanting the role of staff members. As they write in the book, “directors’ knowledge or understanding in their area should be at a high, conceptual level—not a tactical or implementation level.”

When it comes to technology, for instance, “I don’t need somebody who knows how to write code [on the board],” Coerver says. “I need somebody who understands the potential of digital delivery, who understands the potential of technology, and can advocate for resource allocations that are necessary and investments that are necessary.”

The pandemic has borne out the need to do this work, however challenging, they say. The associations that did well in the last 18 months acted efficiently and decisively, often in small groups, and learned to double down on the competencies that were essential for progress. As the pandemic dissipates, there’s still time to take advantage of that urgency.

“I believe the pandemic has been an accelerator for the trends that we have identified in the book,” Byers says. “If there ever was a time to become more innovative, or to double down on digital transformation, or to change your governance, or to become a competency-based board, it’s now. Association professionals have a tailwind that they probably haven’t had for a decade.”

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To Make Smart Marketing Decisions, You Need a Tool That Gives You Reliable Data

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Marketing pro Rachel Daeger breaks down a digital platform that transforms growth potential for associations of all sizes.

When you’re trying to reach a wider audience with a marketing campaign, sure, you can take the old approach of throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks. But as anyone who has ever thrown a bunch of stuff at a wall knows, the results can be a big mess. Not to mention expensive.

What if instead of implementing a strategy that employs haphazard ideas mixed with wishful thinking, you tried a technological approach with a proven record of sticking to the wall and converting purchases?

That’s what Rachel Daeger, CAE, IOM, a director of communications and marketing at Raybourn Group International, was seeking. Her team’s goal was to boost the marketing efforts and increase the revenue of its trade and professional association clients. She needed something powerful that fit within the scope of organizations of any size. And she found it with association marketing platform Feathr.

“We first used Feathr with the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, which has a global membership, but very limited resources for marketing their events,” she explains. “Our first use of Feathr resulted in 49 conversions for in-person registration—an ROI of $11,260.”

The results were so immediate and undeniable that Daeger says Raybourn Group International now offers the platform to all of its clients. “At this point, Feathr is our primary marketing tool to target both members and non-members,” she says, citing its retargeting ability to be anywhere and everywhere potential attendees might be on the internet.

As much as you’d think (and hope) that association members would closely read every email an association sends regarding must-attend events and educational opportunities, the truth is they likely do not. To ensure you reach them about products and services you know they’ll want, you need to put time and resources into retargeting campaigns. And this is where the power of Feathr’s tech and marketing experts really shines. “They have been hand-in-hand with us from the beginning to make sure that we’re able to achieve our objectives—whether it’s how we structure the campaign, how we fund the campaigns or how we design our creative.”

But it’s not just about creating great-looking ads—t’s about making sure those ads are seen by the right audience. In the case of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, Daeger explains that before using Feathr, Raybourn would have invested significant time and resources researching local universities, local food councils, and the like. Then they would have hit them with postcard mailings and emails to gather enough data to create a successful marketing plan. “Feathr essentially eliminated all of that,” Daeger reports. “Using this technology, you can easily target ads to the specific type of person you want to reach, whether it’s based on their online search behavior, where they are located, or another factor you want to hone in on.”

And as any marketing professional knows, once your campaigns are out in the wild, it’s critical to track how they perform to make necessary adjustments. Feathr’s robust reporting tool allows Daeger to track which ads are flopping and which are actually resulting in purchases. “I know how many member versus non-member registrations came back through a campaign and the precise dollar amount associated with that conversion,” she explains. “This has been really important for us because our resources are limited. To make smart marketing decisions, you need reliable data.”


 

Feathr has thought of everything to help get associations up and running with digital advertising. Its dedicated flock of experts advises on unique revenue-generating campaigns and provides graphic design and implementation services to ensure successful marketing campaigns. Partnering with Feathr ensures your association’s success for years to come.

 

The post To Make Smart Marketing Decisions, You Need a Tool That Gives You Reliable Data appeared first on Associations Now.

Two Fast-Growing Ways to Earn More Revenue for Your Association

Written by GSF Editor on . Posted in Federation News, news-feed

Offer more value to your community while earning more revenue for your mission.

In May 2021, Noora Health, a nonprofit that educates families in Southeast Asia about how to care for babies, raised $4.5 million toward that mission through an NFT. While your association might not be ready for cutting-edge fundraising tactics like this, there are other ways to take a fresh approach to earning non-dues revenue.

With millions of Americans looking for jobs post-pandemic, recruitment advertising is one such ripe revenue opportunity for associations. As hubs for industry employers and talent, associations can leverage their online career centers to help companies find the staff they need and earn revenue in the process. If your job board is languishing, now is the time to step up your offerings for employers seeking talent. Revive your paid job posting packages with options that fit your industry’s needs. Consider adding job display advertising to your homepage to give employers greater value for their ads.

To boost the value your job board offers employers, add job retargeting. Retargeting is a form of programmatic advertising that serves display ads for featured job listings to people after they leave your online career center. They’re encouraged to revisit those listings, resulting in more talent-employee connections and more revenue for you.

For job seekers, provide a mix of free and fee-based services that give value at different price points. Pack your career center with free content about industry topics and job-searching tips. Offer fee-based résumé review services, interview coaching and mentorship opportunities that can be purchased directly through your career center.

A second fast-growing area of non-dues revenue for associations is sponsored thought leadership. Help your members share their deep industry knowledge through sponsored content. Publish their blog articles or webinars for a fee. Host them on your podcast to talk about their expertise in exchange for sponsoring the episode. Offer to feature their product or service video on your website, in an exhibitor directory or on an event site as a standalone paid placement or part of a larger package.

Sponsored email is also gaining traction among associations. For a fee, your association can send an email to members on behalf of a sponsor. The content could be promotional or strictly editorial, with a nod to the business that supplied it.

No matter how you approach non-dues revenue, remember that stockpiling money isn’t the goal. It’s how your association will use those funds to enhance membership value and further enrich your industry. Try one of these non-dues revenue wellsprings and grow!


Naylor Association Solutions is devoted to building stronger associations. As trusted partners for more than 50 years, our experienced advisors create relevant association resources, software, events, and management functions that foster member engagement and non-dues revenue. Naylor focuses on your association’s daily success so that you can focus on achieving your mission.

 

The post Two Fast-Growing Ways to Earn More Revenue for Your Association appeared first on Associations Now.