Relief in Crunch Time: Consolidate Formatting, Design, & Printing Services

As you’re preparing your conference materials for print, you are also juggling countless other tasks. Conference printing is one of the last tasks you have to tackle before your annual meeting begins. And who can blame you? It’s not like the speakers submit their final presentations more than a day or two before the deadline. That leaves you scrambling to get the pages set up and ready for print, or pushing an expensive freelance graphic designer to get the job done at the 11th hour. Every single time!

What’s a busy meeting planner to do? See if you can cut out the middleman. Ask your conference printer if they have in-house graphic designers. This can be especially useful if you’re working with a printer that specifically works with associations, because their design team has probably handled projects just like yours in the past.

Whether you need full design services or just a little formatting assistance to prepare your conference materials, it makes sense to talk to your printer to see if they can help. Using one provider for design, formatting, and conference printing means you have fewer calls to make to keep the project on track, less hassle when the deadline is looming, and a provider you can trust to get the job done right.

To learn how Omnipress can help, visit our formatting and design page. Leave us a comment to let us know what you think!

Conference Printing As a Team Sport

With fall conferences right around the corner, you may be thinking about your printed conference materials and wondering what—and who—goes into bringing your association’s program from PDFs to beautiful books, delivered to your conference site. Or you might be thinking about NFL and college football games in your future. Let’s tie them together and consider the Omnipress team as positions on the field.

The Omnipress team is committed to getting the job done right (the win, in other words), which involves many individuals and moving parts. As Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Account manager: The Omnipress sales team is responsible for introducing you to the services we provide and helping you get started. They will also walk you through the proposal so you feel comfortable with the plan and pricing before we get to work on your project. These are the front line players—tackles, guards, and center.

Project manager: Your dedicated project manager is your point of contact, or quarterback, throughout the process. Keeping everything on track is the name of their game, and they play it very well. You’ll feel better knowing there’s just one person to contact if I problem arises, or if you just need to check in.

Project technician: If you need someone to take care of page layout, formatting, or design, these are the people who can help you get it done. Consider them the “special teams” layers on your Omnipress roster. . Let us know what you want the program book or proceedings to look like and we’ll get right to it. This works particularly well if you also count on Omnipress for your abstract management. That makes for a seamless hand0ff. Great play!

Production team: If getting your files print-ready was the last step, we’d stop there, but for conference printing, you’ll actually want your materials, well, printed. That’s where the production team—your running backs, say, and wide receivers—comes in. They take care of the actual printing and all that entails (color, binding, etc.), expertly packing your books for transport, and shipping your materials to your conference site.

Members of the Omnipress team come together to make your conference printing project happen. It’s one of the unsung benefits of working with us: every single one of us works for the best outcome for you. When your printed conference materials succeed, we’re happy to have played a part in the process.

You can experience the same level of we’re-in-this-together commitment and dedication on other content outputs for your annual meeting—online conference materials, USBs, and conference apps. We can also help you collect and manage your content with our abstract management system. Any game you play, we’re in it to win it.

I encourage you to get to know the Omnipress team. Read the short bios on the Meet Our Team section of our website, call in to 800-828-0305 to get a conversation started with an account manager, or check us out on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook). We look forward to serving you and helping your team bring home a W.

Conference Content: The Engine That Drives Your Association’s Annual Meeting

When it comes to your association’s conference, it can be helpful to think of content as the engine of your annual meeting.

It’s true that all other aspects of your conference are also important—ordering tasty and healthy food and beverage, brokering agreements with sponsors, working with exhibitors, booking hotel blocks, handling speaker requests, and so much more.

But without content? Your annual meeting just doesn’t run without it. Much like the engine of car, your association’s conference content is the critical component that brings it all together and, simply put, makes it go.

Your content engine is far too important to leave untended, therefore, and it needs a good tune-up every so often. When was the last time you gave more thought (much less budget!) to your conference content than you did to food and beverage?

Yet the quality of the content—and the method(s) of delivery you used to get it in the hands of your attendees—is what will really determine whether members will attend next year.

When professionals return to the office after a conference, what do their colleagues ask? What did you learn? Did you catch Dr. Smith’s session? How was it? Can I take a look at your notes? Do you think our boss will let me go next year? The conversation is centered on content. Eventually networking events, venue, and that great breakfast spread will come up, but first and foremost is content.

How are you planning to deliver content for your next annual meeting? Printed programs and/or proceedings? Online? Through a conference app? On a USB or CD? A combination of the above, or all of these methods? How will your session speakers be selected? Have you chosen an abstract management system to keep that process streamlined and under control?

If your answer to any of those questions is I haven’t figured that out yet, but you can describe the opening reception hors d’oeuvres in detail, you may want to think about getting your content engine in for a check-up, ASAP.

Stop by booth 515 at ASAE Annual to consult the Omnipress “pit crew” on your content engine. We’d love to help you look into ways you can get your conference content in good shape and keep it that way for years to come. See you in Motor City!

Printed Programs: Preferred by Young Professionals

Fact: Printed conference materials are important to attendees. This includes—and may apply especially to—millennials, young professionals who came of age around the year 2000. Also referred to as Generation Y, 18-33-year-olds, have, as of this year, surpassed members of Generation X in their numbers in the American workforce. More than one in three workers is a millennial. In sheer numbers (working or not), millennials will soon surpass baby boomers!

Clearly, young professionals are important to the future of your association, and their preferences matter. In a survey we conducted last fall, we asked nearly 550 millennials (age 22-33) about their reading and learning preferences. (The respondents are not connected to Omnipress; the survey was administered by a third party.)

Their answers may inform your conference content strategy in 2015 and beyond. Let’s take a closer look:

When I attend a professional conference, I want a printed program book.

  • 53% agree
  • 17% disagree
  • 30% had no opinion

Over half of survey-takers actively want a printed program book. When it’s time to consider how to deliver conference content to attendees, keep this in mind. Young professionals crave print, which provides ample reason for your association to provide it.

When I attend a professional conference, I prefer to look at a website or an app for information.

  • 32% agreed
  • 38% disagreed
  • 30% had no opinion

Compare this result to the previous question. Not even one-third of respondents prefers a website or an app. If both are available, it stands to reason that millennials will use different tools for different purposes. As far as preference goes, however, it’s clear that print wins. Also note that more survey-takers disagreed with this statement, compared to those who agreed, showing an active turn away from technology as the answer for conference content.

I will never stop reading printed educational materials

  • 64% agreed
  • 13% disagreed
  • 23% had no opinion

Nearly 2/3 of respondents agree that printed educational materials will continue to hold a place in their lives in the foreseeable future. Think about your own answers to these questions. Do the responses of millennials surprise you? Do these results give you pause with the assumptions you may have made about young professionals?

Think about this as you plan your 2015 annual meeting, and in 2016, and every year after that. Most of the largest generation—in the workforce and in the country—reads print. They prefer it; they will continue to use it in the future. Technology is not the answer for all young professionals. In fact, most disagree that a website or app is better than a printed program.

These three questions are just a small sample of our full survey results, found in Millennials & Print. Download the white paper to deepen your understanding of the impact print is having on young professionals, who represent the future of your association and the American workforce. Give it a read and let us know what you think.

Preserve the Print! How to Expand Your Conference Content Delivery

Every once in a while, we all need a reminder that just because something isn’t new and “shiny” anymore doesn’t mean it’s old-fashioned and obsolete. In fact, in some cases, the tried-and-true solution is the better choice.

Take, for example, the Mason jars seen in this picture. You probably know some people who have started using glass containers instead of plastic, especially if the food will be reheated, to prevent chemicals from leaching into the food. Glass and ceramic containers are much safer containers for reheating food than plastic. The classic solution is the best.

The same can be said of printed conference materials. Does every attendee want a printed program book? Probably not. But if you stopped printing conference programs altogether, you would find that many people would be disappointed.

The permanence of print is attractive to some attendees; other learn better from print than online resources or mobile apps. Some may not even be able to put a finger on exactly why it would be upsetting to have to access conference content online. Surely spotty or expensive WiFi at the venue and/or hotel doesn’t help matters any. Maybe it’s something as simple as missing the next volume of association proceedings to join the volumes from the last 15 years on the office bookshelf.

Whatever the reason, printed conference materials are important to attendees, and not just the baby boomers!

In a survey of over 550 millennials, conducted in December 2014, we found that 53% of young professionals (22-33 years old) agreed that “When I attend a professional conference, I want a printed program.” (Only 17% disagreed with the statement; the rest had no opinion.)

Answers were much more split, however, on this statement: “When I attend a professional conference, I prefer to look at a website or app for information.” Only 30% agreed, while nearly a third (32%) disagreed and the most frequently given answer was “disagree” at 38%. (To read more about the millennials and print survey, download the white paper.)

Printed conference programs are no longer the only game in town, and there are many reasons to consider adding a conference app or event content website to the mix. But be sure to note the phrasing: adding is the operative word.

Preserve the print—your attendees want it, so you should provide it. But make way for new ways to access conference content, too. After all, online conference materials are helpful for building a personalized itinerary before the conference, and poring over abstracts once you’re back in the office. Conference apps foster attendee engagement, especially when you make use of features like person-to-person messaging, live polling, and a social timeline.

To make it easier for you to try a new technology in addition to print without breaking your content budget, Omnipress is offering a special promotion! If you work with Omnipress for your printed conference materials, you can get up to 75% off a conference app or online conference materials. To learn more and register for the promotion, visit omnipress.com.

Hurry—an offer this good won’t last long! A signed proposal is due back to Omnipress by June 30th. Register today!

Bundling is Better!

Omnipress is all about making your life easier, and the best way to do that is to help you with multiple, related conference services.

Take your standard conference program, for example. If you also work with Omnipress for abstract management and formatting services, the process becomes a whole lot easier, from your call to papers through the final printed product.

When you work with the end in mind, you and your project manager can set up your abstract management system to collect all the information from a submitter that you’ll need to create a complete printed program. A bio and photo are common items to include; other associations may choose to ask for other information up front as well, like handouts, to make it easier to move forward toward the final printed piece.

Within the abstract management system is a scheduling tool that conference planners can use to structure the meeting. Sessions can be moved in to time slots, using drag-and-drop. Our abstract management customers love the scheduling tool, citing its superiority over the spreadsheet they used to rely on for setting up the meeting’s agenda.

When it’s time to move from abstract management to a printed program, Omnipress’ formatting team can bridge the gap. Using the information you collected in the abstract management system and the schedule you built there, we can build your conference program.

The process is streamlined when you use Omnipress for both steps. We help you set up the abstract management system to capture the information we know we will need to format and produce the printed program.

This doesn’t just make the process simpler for us, though. Remember, we’re all about making your life easier. If you are working on putting together a printed program, and you work with another provider for abstract management (or collect materials yourself via email), you have to gather all of that information and make sure you have everything before sending it in. Wouldn’t you rather skip that step?

Once all the information is in, formatting your printed program (to be modeled after a sample you provide, or the program we did for your association last year) falls into place. The abstracts, papers, schedule, and handouts stay right here at Omnipress, under one roof, moving through teams that work together regularly. There’s no question of whether your abstract management vendor and your print vendor communicate, if that’s the same vendor and the team members are used to supporting each other.

Now your printed program is formatted and ready to go on press. The delay you sometimes see between vendors vanishes. Once you give the okay, we can get your program printed, assembled, and out the door to the venue.

Are you ready to experience the peace of mind that comes with bundling services that work even better together than they do apart? Then get the process started by reaching out to Omnipress today.

And don’t forget—you could get something back for all that you put in to managing your conference content! If your association returns a signed proposal for Omnipress products with a total value of $15,000 or more, you qualify for one of four incentives, each worth $1,000! Visit omnipress.com for details.

Every Good Attendee Deserves Print

Though many millennials seem to have a smartphone permanently attached to a hand, the fact is that young professionals are actually quite devoted to reading print. The two practices, after all, are not mutually exclusive. Millennials are adept at deciding when and how to use different sources, depending on their goals.

Mobile event apps appropriate for many activities at an association’s annual meeting, like finding session descriptions and locations easily. The Omnipress Attendify App adds an additional layer of fun and functionality with social features that make it easier for attendees to network.

When it comes to deep reading of your association’s event content, however, young professionals are quick to realize that using a smartphone or tablet is not necessarily the best option. Consider these statistics about millennials and their reading choices:

  • 89% of survey respondents (age 16-26) say that even with the prevalence of advanced technology, it’s doubtful that they will ever completely stop using paper.1
  • 65% of the same group finds it easier to read content on paper than to read it on a screen. 1
  • 93% of those surveyed (age 18-34) have read a magazine in the past 60 days; of those, 56% read print.2
  • 43% of younger Americans (under age 30) read a book almost every day. When the frequency is expanded to once a week, the number rises to 70%.3
  • 75% of 16-29-year-olds have read a book in the past year, compares to just 64% of those over 30.4
  • The older teens surveyed (16-17) were more likely than any other age group to have read a print book in the past year. 4
  • 86% of participants (age 22-33) agree with this statement: “The world is more connected than ever, but I think there’s still a place for printed materials.”5

The last stat on the list was taken from an independent survey Omnipress conducted. Over 500 people answered questions about the reading habits and preferences for professional and educational materials. To read more, download the whitepaper titled Millennials and Print.

Next time you are discussing which content delivery options to offer your attendees, remember that preferences don’t always follow generational lines. The best solution is to offer different options for all so you could meet the needs of every professional in attendance.

Remember that above all else, the content is the most important commodity you provide at your association’s annual meeting. Attendees want to come away from your event knowing more than they did when they arrived.

That means that content trumps all, including food, beverage, or venue. If that means that another category needs to be cut in order to provide additional content options, it should be an easy choice to make. What do you think? Leave a comment below!

Sources

  1. http://printinthemix.com/research/show/88
  2. http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2014/09/pew_survey_millennials_read_more_books_than_any_other_generation.html
  3. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/millennials-still-like-print-books-2737001/?no-ist
  4. https://omnipress.com/resources/whitepapers#millennials

Should the Call for Papers Sound No More?

How does your association decide on presenters for its annual meeting? Is there a traditional call for papers, followed by rounds of submission and review? Or do you invite speakers, forgoing the call for proposals altogether? Does your process incorporate elements of each approach?

In an article last fall, Associations Now deputy editor Samantha Whitehorne mused on the pros and cons of the practice so familiar—or, some might argue, so tired—to association professionals. One group mentioned in the article (A Call to End the Call for Proposals?) divorced itself from the call for papers altogether, opting instead to invite speakers with experience in subjects that their membership wanted to learn more about.

The world didn’t end. The conference happened and people enjoyed the experience.

Many associations continue to sound the call, and there are many good reasons to do so. For example, submitting a proposal is one way to engage current members and spark interest in potential ones as well. Even if their proposal is not accepted, simply the act of preparing one is a step forward in one’s career. The belief that you, as a professional in your field, has something to offer others like you represents a changing paradigm and a shift toward self-assurance that can open new doors.

Yet there are dangers to relying only on an open call to choose the content that defines your industry and your association. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of relying on the same topics, perhaps even featuring the same speakers, for many years. Some potential speakers might be dissuaded by a complicated submission process and decide not to put their hat in the ring. Another potential downside to the traditional method comes into play: What’s the best way to advertise your call for papers beyond your membership?

According to the article, which cites a report released by Tagoras and Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, most organizations (62%) accept 40% or more of the submissions they receive. One has to wonder: Are all of these proposals worthy of the audience that comes to your annual meeting? Or were they simply what was easily available, and not bad?

Of course, the best course of action will depend on many factors and probably lies somewhere between the traditional approach (call for papers, come what may) and the novel one (by invitation only). There should be flexibility in your collection process, and that means your abstract collection and speaker management system shouldn’t be carved in stone, either. The fluidity of a new process or a modified one means that in order to keep things simple, your system should be ready to evolve as your collection needs do.

No matter how you choose to find your presenters for your annual meeting, Omnipress’ abstract collection and speaker management system can help simplify the process. Papers can be submitted by professionals who want to speak at your event as well as those who have been invited to do so. Using the system for final collection helps to keep the materials organized; the scheduling feature makes it easy to move forward to the planning stages and set up schedules and content for use in a printed program, event content website, or mobile event app.

To see the abstract collection and speaker management system in action, try the demo!

Flip That Book

Do you remember when you were just five years old? It was a time you could just be creative and everyone thought it was “cute.” There were no lines to color inside of. The people you drew had an odd shaped head, big ears, stick legs and no body. There were no rules to being creative. Then we hit the educational system that washed that creativity down the drain.

Well the folks at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology brought out their inner child creativity when they combined their printed abstract book with their printed program book into a single book for their annual conference. How did they get creative? They flipped the contents of one book so that their book had no back cover. No matter which end of the book you opened, attendees were in the the front section. No back covers!

Being Creative Has It Advantages

  • They saved 35% in printing costs (over $6,000): By combining two books, they only needed one cover and one bind.
  • Less hassle for on-site staff: Instead of having extra boxes and two books to hand to each delegate, they dealt with less boxes and just one book.
  • Easier for attendees: Attendees just “flipped their book” to get to the table of contents for each book.

Flip That Book Video Overview (by Paul Wehking)


Are there ways for you to be creative, save money while keeping the attendees in mind?

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