To Those Planning Spring Conferences: We’re Here to Help!

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s already time for the March edition of Omnipresence! As the weather outside gets warmer and the days get longer, for those planning spring conferences, the deadlines are getting noticeably shorter.

Every one of us here at Omnipress knows this can be a hectic time of year for meeting planners. If you need materials printed for your spring conference, it’s not too late for us to get it printed, packed and shipped to your event. How can I be so confident we can meet your conference printing deadline? Watch the video to find out!

 


VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

If you’re a conference planner getting ready for your spring meeting, we’re here for you.

What we provide at Omnipress is we provide that 40 years of experience and over 30,000 meetings that we have produced materials for. And we know that it’s more than just taking a print-ready file, putting ink on paper and binding it and getting it to the conference.

We work on tight deadlines, because we know everything is a tight deadline. So we structured our whole business around that. From our project managers working with you on a schedule that fits your needs, to our project techs being able to turn a proof quickly, to our production team being able to take those print-ready materials and move them through our shop and get them to your meeting on time.

Everyone here is passionate about what we do. We work with over 500 associations per year and we understand meetings and how they work and our project managers don’t just take your materials and produce them for you, we’re here to help. So if you have questions for us, we will give you suggestions on how you can do things differently, how you can do things a little bit better, based on the experiences that we’ve had with our other customers.

 

Create Conference Sponsorship Opportunities That Benefit Everyone

 

Associations often rely on their annual conference to be a source of non-dues revenue for the year. So it’s no surprise they are determined to make smart budgeting decisions for the event. As we talk with customers about their fall conferences (or in some cases, their early 2018 conferences!) we’ve been helping them think of their conference materials in a new way. For some, an event app or online content library is one more item on the list of necessary conference expenses. But as we’ve been pointing out in these conversations, these necessities are different than A/V equipment and Per Diems. The cost of conference materials can be offset—or even become revenue generators—thanks to sponsorship opportunities.

When done well, conference sponsorship opportunities can be a win-win-win solution to reduce the expense of your conference materials.

Win #1: Attendees benefit from learning about relevant products and services

Sponsorships can be a great way for attendees to learn about companies that provide solutions to their problems. To be truly effective, however, the sponsorship needs to focus on education rather than promotion. A modern example of this kind of attendee benefit comes from conference app sponsorships.

For most attendees, downloading the official event app has become a pre-show ritual. The app is full of useful information about the speakers, the schedule and the sponsors for the days ahead. Having this information before the event lets your attendees research companies they aren’t familiar with. That makes their time in the exhibit area more efficient and their conversations more productive.

Win #2: Sponsors benefit from continuing conversations after the show

Building relationships with your attendees that continue after the event is your sponsors’ main goal. Adding a sponsorship opportunity to your online conference library is one way to help your sponsors meet this goal.

The online conference library is a great choice for these sponsors because attendees typically visit the online conference library after the event is finished. As attendees review the information they learned at the event or browse through your conference’s other materials, they offer sponsors their prime target: highly engaged members of your industry.

Win #3: Your association benefits from the income that a sponsorship provides

No surprise, this is the “win” that affects our customers most directly. If a customer doesn’t have experience with finding a sponsor for their event, it isn’t always obvious how impactful these opportunities can be. One of the biggest “game changers” can be when a customer finds a partner that is interested in sponsoring their conference’s flash drive.

Flash drives are enticing to sponsors because they offer great brand awareness along with the ability for an attendee to learn more about the company. These two qualities provide value that a sponsor is willing to pay for. And since flash drives typically have a low price per unit, a sponsor can end up paying for most, if not all, of the cost of the drives.

When done right, we’ve found that sponsorships can be beneficial to your attendees, your sponsors and your association. The important thing is to ensure the sponsored messages focus on education instead of promotion and offer real value to both your attendees and sponsors. When your conference sponsorship opportunities match both of those criteria, you have an effective way to reduce the cost of your conference materials.

Explaining the Stigma Surrounding Printed Conference Materials

I find it intriguing that when I have conversations with people about how they offer their educational conference materials to attendees, they always assume that I’m there to push printed materials. This makes complete sense since I work for a company with the word “press” in the name and most assume I’m an advocate for printed materials for personal and professional benefit. They often forget thatOmnipress isn’t just a printer, and that we’ve evolved with the market and offer online conference materials and mobile apps as well; but, I digress.

The real and singular reason that I’m truly an advocate for organizations to continue offering printed materials at their events is quite simple. Attendees want options! The bottom line is that the annual event is the number one source of non-dues revenue for a lot of associations nationwide, and that’s because they attract large numbers of attendees. So if attendees (a.k.a. your second largest source of revenue) want options of how and where they can access educational conference materials, why wouldn’t more associations continue to offer some sort of printed materials?

Here are three statements I hear all too often, and why the stigma surrounding them is just not true.

“The cost of printing materials is too high.”

Printing conference materials can be something that needs to be carefully planned out in the budget. That is absolutely true! However, one thing I think meeting planners don’t consider is the value they will lose without providing their educational materials in print. Is the cost of printing your conference materials a larger detriment to your conference than the potential drop in attendance would be in years to come, because attendees were unable to truly grasp the value your conference brings?

Is the cost of printing your conference materials a larger detriment to your conference than the potential drop in attendance in years to come because attendees were unable to truly grasp the value your conference brings?

“Everyone is Going Digital.”

In our Millennials & Print study, we showed that, even in terms of younger membership, an overwhelming 86% agreed with the statement, “The world is more connected than ever, but I think there’s still a place for printed materials.” This truly demonstrates the point that even though we are of course becoming more digital and sophisticated in ways we present material, your cash cow (attendees) still see an importance of having materials in a printed version.

“Printed materials are too cumbersome to carry around at conferences.”

Carrying conference programs or proceedings around at a conference may be cumbersome. However, there are a few applications most meeting planners might not think of. First, there are printing best practices and design best practices that can cut down on page count and overall size of these materials. Second, have you ever considered sending a printed conference preview or maybe a conference follow-up? The preview can include speaker outlines so attendees can come prepared to listen and learn, instead of hearing the information for the first time and reacting then. Or, send a printed conference follow-up recapping the sessions and some of the most memorable occurrences. What a way to help your attendees remember your annual conference! Enable them to learn before and after the conference and you’ll be amazed of how much your conference’s perceived value skyrockets!

Bottom Line: Attendees do NOT only want materials offered in new, shiny digital formats. Attendees want options. They want the option to consume their conference materials however, and whenever they’d like. I can sit here and talk until I’m blue in the face about how studies have shown that learners absorb educational materials better when it’s presented in printed format, but the essence of the argument is that attendees keep your association’s reserves up, so why not keep them happy?

Idea for Association Executives to Take Away from This Article:

It’s simple! Reach out to your attendees and membership and ask them via a quick survey of how they prefer to receive educational materials. You’ll quickly find that offering options is best for your entire membership, rather than deciding for them, and in turn alienating a certain segment who may decide not to attend because of it.

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