Inspiration and Integration: ASAE Annual Meeting 2017 Video Recap

 

A number of Omnipress employees made the trek across the border to participate in this year’s ASAE Annual Meeting in Toronto. As usual, it was an event full of informative sessions and great conversations.

Two members from the Omnipress Print and Fulfillment team that attended the meeting, Tracy Gundert and Janel Savich, talked with Dan Loomis about their takeaways from the week and about two themes that came up repeatedly in their conversations: Inspiration and Integration.

Watch the video below to learn a common challenge that all associations face, and how association staff can use “integrations” to make their jobs easier.

 

ASAE Annual Meeting 2017 Event Recap Video Transcript

Dan: So what was the number one thing that you heard from people stopping by, visiting the booth, or just networking and general sessions. What was everybody concerned about or inspired by?

Tracy: I think they all want to provide, all the different associations, no matter if it’s a trade association, a professional association, they all want to continue to improve the benefits for their members. What more can they give their members? How can they really become part of the value that their members receive from being a part of the association? They want to be sure that they are providing that.

Janel: I think that collaboration, getting together with our clients, hearing how our service fits in to meet the educational goals of their members and the people they serve. It’s inspiring!

Dan: ASAE Annual Meeting always brings people together to talk about innovation, and technology, they always do a good job with that. What types of things did they talk about with integration this year, anything in particular?

Janel: They want that ease to have their systems integrated together so they can talk to one another. Make their jobs easier. Pull the information together; get the reports in one central location.

Tracy: Along with talking about multiple partners, that is certainly one thing we heard, even with print and fulfillment vendors is that they want to have one source. Right now, a lot of them have multiple sources where they are printing at one facility and fulfilling out of another facility and it’s just, you know, its not very integrated in terms of the data. And it also creates a lot more time that they have to spend coordinating it, so they are really looking for that all-in-one type of solution.

 

Is Your Annual Conference Fulfilling Your Attendees’ Needs?

Conference attendees expect a lot out of your association’s annual event, don’t they? So, how do you make sure you are not only meeting your attendees’ expectations, but exceeding them?

If you took a Psych 101 class back in college, I’m sure you learned about Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” theory states that human motivation is based on individuals seeking fulfillment and change through personal growth. Further, Maslow explained that an individual could not achieve needs at the top of the hierarchy before meeting the basic needs at the bottom of the hierarchy.

As a meeting professional, you understand planning an annual conference is about more than booking a venue and choosing a caterer. It’s about creating an experience where industry professionals can take away vast knowledge from experts to share with and improve their organizations.

Conference Attendees’ Hierarchy of Needs

Here’s how Maslow would explain how to create the full attendee experience at your annual meeting:

Hierarchy of conference attendee needs

5 Steps to Fulfilling Your Attendees’ Hierarchy of Needs

Step 1: Physiological

This is the no-brainer. In order to meet your attendees’ most basic needs, you need to provide food, beverage and rest. Food and beverage can be taken care of by booking a caterer, but are your conference sessions scheduled back-to-back? Make sure you add 15-minute breaks throughout the day to allow conference attendees to get a drink of water, recharge their brains or use the restroom without having to miss out on speaker presentations!

Step 2: Safety

Again, this is a meeting planning basic. You need to provide a shelter for your annual conference to give your attendees a sense of safety and well-being. Choosing a safe venue with nearby lodging for overnight stays in critical. And, as you know, holding your actual conference at a hotel where attendees can stay ensures their ultimate comfort and safety.

Step 3: Belonging

Once the basic needs are met, it’s important to fulfill your attendees’ social needs. One of the main reasons attendees go to your annual meeting is to network with other industry professionals, so make sure you are scheduling plenty of networking time!

Step 4: Esteem

Next, you need to make sure attendees feel confident, accomplished and respected. You should always be looking for opportunities to allow attendees to contribute to your conference. Sessions should consist of two-way conversations between the speakers and attendees. They should engage with games, surveys and break-out sessions. Your conference should also have an active Twitter hashtag for the event along with an event mobile app to get attendees to participate and contribute virtually.

Step 5: Self-Actualization

Are you providing your attendees with innovative ideas and knowledge that they can bring back and implement in their organizations? The knowledge doesn’t end when the conference does, which is exactly why your session handouts, recorded sessions and conference proceedings need to be made available in a digital publishing platform. If attendees can access conference materials online year-round, they are more likely to implement what they learned. By providing innovative ideas that advance their organizations, attendees will reach the ultimate self-actualization.

 

How is your association making sure you are fulfilling all the needs of your conference attendees? Let us know in the comments section below!

Is Your Association Attracting Generation Y Membership?

In the words of Bob Dylan, “The times they are a changin’.”

I’m not sure if Bob Dylan was intending for his 1964 hit to reference associations, but it’s fitting, isn’t it?

Recently, Steve Manicor and Tracy Gundert sat amongst other association professionals at the Wisconsin Society of Association Executives (WSAE) meeting where a hot topic was the changing demographic in associations. Networking and educational content were big talking points, and here I’ve mixed in my Generation Y perspective.

Associations are Facing a Shift in Demographics

If we look at associations today, it’s becoming clearer that the median age of members is continuing to rise. In order for associations to continue to grow, it’s important to start looking at ways to attract the next generation.

The problem with attracting Generation Y is that we are of a different breed. As a “Gen Y-er,” I can attest I need more than a face-to-face annual meeting with keynote speakers and a printed manual to join your association.

As you know, networking and educational content remain critical to attracting new members, but technology and the generation gap have complicated things.

Networking Isn’t Just Face-to-Face Anymore

Are you providing your members with a place to network year-round? Are you leveraging your association on Twitter and other social media sites?

Networking remains an important factor in gaining new members, but the way we network has evolved greatly. Networking isn’t just face-to-face anymore, and Generation Y loves to “Facebook stalk.” Before we meet new people face-to-face, we like to check them out on social media and learn about their interests. Whether it’s through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or a conference website, it’s important for associations to provide a place for their members to engage, network and, of course, “Facebook stalk.”

Face-to-Face Meetings Have Evolved, Too

Are your annual meetings educational and fun?

If you’re still holding your annual meeting in outdated session rooms of older convention halls with the buzzing fluorescent lights, metal chairs and one-way speaker communication, you’re risking your members being uncomfortable, bored and not engaged. The associations attracting Generation Y members are leveraging breakout sessions, themed events, social gaming and different presentation formats such as pecha kucha, fish bowls and so forth. It’s about the attendee experience.

How Findable is Your Educational Content?

How are you leveraging your association content to attract new members? How are you making sure they are finding your content on the internet? How are you making your content more usable and shareable?

Access is critical! A printed conference program is no longer sufficient. To keep Generation X and Y happy, you now need a printed program, a conference flash drive chock full of speaker presentations, session handouts available online before, during and after the meeting (don’t forget about Wi-Fi and mobile-friendly access!) AND an eBook. (Ok, so you may not need ALL of these, but member expectations are rising in regards to what they are getting for their money.)

Consulting your crystal ball won’t help. Understanding how members and attendees want to receive your association’s educational content is not a guessing game. The key is to ask members what they want, provide options and be multifaceted.

Generation Y Learned Differently

We aren’t trying to be a pain in your association – This is how Generation Y learned!

In college, we learned through two-way discussion sessions and watched streaming presentations. We bought printed course books and study guides, but we also were required to read scholarly journals online (that we didn’t have to search for far and wide on the internet).

We network online. We spend more time on social media websites networking than we’d like to admit. We use Facebook and LinkedIn to build relationships and share information just to stay connected. If we know we’re going to meet someone new, we like to connect with them ahead of time online.

And guess what – My Generation X boss feels the same way.

So while you listen to some Bob Dylan, talk to us on Twitter!
How is your association attracting new Generation Y membership? #omnipress