Just Released: The 2019 Training Trends Report

 

Hot off the presses! Our 2019 Training Trends Report is available for download. As a new year kicks into high gear, changes in technology, learner demographics and preferences are creating new challenges and opportunities for training and continuing education professionals.

For the past three years, Omnipress has surveyed over 100 continuing education and training professionals from associations, corporations and other organizations to understand how education is being delivered to learners today, and which trends training professionals are keeping an eye on for the future. This year’s report highlights just how valuable training and education is for organizations, as most have plans to increase the breadth and depth of their programs in 2019. But for training professionals who already manage a significant content portfolio and a wide array of responsibilities, this additional growth may create strategic tradeoffs.

For instance, this year’s report indicates that 51% of respondents currently offer at least 11 different programs or courses, with 60% of respondents expecting to increase that number in 2019. Education professionals are also delivering this educational content in a variety of formats to address the diverse preferences of learners. As a result, respondents are spending more time than they would like on tasks such as managing content changes, and less time on strategic initiatives designed to advance and grow the organization.

What are some other key findings in 2019?
• On-site, instructor-led programs are still the predominant way organizations are delivering courses and workshops, although there has been a noted year-over-year increase in self-guided e-learning opportunities
• While educational programs have the potential to deliver significant value to the organization, there is a self-reported gap between this opportunity and program effectiveness
• Although widely discussed, many of the “hot-button” learning trends are only being put into practice on a limited scale, if at all
• Organizations have not yet fully addressed the needs of younger generations

The purpose of this report is not just to shed light on common trends, but to help spark a strategic conversation on how organizations can leverage their greatest asset—educational content—to strengthen their connection with new and existing learners.

Download the free report to read the full results.

Download Our 2019 Conference Industry Report

 

We are excited to announce that our 2019 State of the Conference Industry Report: Delivering Educational Content has just been released! A new year is here and with it comes new challenges and opportunities for association and conference professionals.

For the fifth year in a row, Omnipress has tracked the evolution of conference content and the role it plays at an association’s annual event. While educational content continues to provide a significant amount of member value, this year’s report highlights some changes on the horizon: emerging themes, new challenges and increased opportunities for organizations.

Delivering Educational Content: Current Challenges and Future Opportunities

For instance, this year’s report indicates that meeting planners they are being asked to deliver conference content in more formats than ever before. On average, associations are providing content in 2.6 formats—up from 2.4 in 2018, and 2.1 in 2017. The most noted increase was in the number of respondents who are providing three and even four different content delivery methods for a single conference. The reason? Attendees have indicated this is what they want.

Conference demographics are more diverse than ever, with four generations now living concurrently in the workplace. Additionally, there are ways than ever for people to consume content, which is creating a diverse set of preferences that don’t always follow generational stereotypes.

While associations look for ways to provide device-agnostic content, budget does come into play—particularly with other internal stakeholders. Few meeting planners have the luxury—nor the bandwidth—to do it all, leading to some tough decisions.

Other conference industry trends from our 2019 report:

  • Association membership trends mirror conference attendance trends, which means membership and conference teams need to work together more closely to achieve organizational goals
  • While organizations are offering more content formats at the conference, there is still uncertainty on what the content mix will look like in the future
  • Emerging learning trends are starting to have an impact at the conference
  • Organizations have not yet fully addressed the needs of younger generations

The report compiles data from an online survey of 150 association and meeting professionals to understand how organizations use educational content to increase visibility, extend their value and reach new attendees.

The purpose of this report is not just to present the data, but to help facilitate a cross-team discussion on how to leverage your greatest asset—education—to advance your mission and achieve strategic goals.

Download the free report to read the full results, and use it to spark a conversation within your own organization.

Conference Planners: Take Our State of the Conference Industry Survey

 

Our annual State of the Conference Industry survey is now open, and we need your input!

Each year for the past five years, Omnipress collects data from conference planners and association professionals to better understand trends surrounding conference content, including how attendees want to receive content, how associations provide it, and what changes lie ahead as demographics and preferences change. We use the survey data collected to publish our annual State of the Conference Industry Report, which will be released in January 2019.

Our goal with this report is to provide peer-to-peer benchmarking, as well as ideas and trends you can use in your planning sessions.

Omnipress Annual State of The Conference Industry Report

For instance, in the 2018 State of the Conference Industry Report, we saw a notable increase in the percentage of associations that are re-using their content beyond the conference. Associations are not only using content to promote their events, but they are also reusing it in order to reinforce learning after the event and to attract prospective members to the organization.

Additionally, meeting planners face an increasing challenge of trying to balance the diverse needs and preferences of a multi-generational audience, particularly as many organizations have not yet defined their plans to address the needs of younger members.

2019 Conference Industry Trends and Insights

What insights will we gain in 2019? We need you to help us determine that, and would love to have your voice included in this year’s results! The survey takes just 5-10 minutes to complete. All responses remain confidential for the report. As a thank you for your time, you can choose to be entered into a drawing to receive a $100 Visa Gift Card.

Please take a moment to complete the survey and to pass it along to your colleagues as well. We look forward to sharing the results with you in early 2019.

Now Available: Best Practices Guide for High-Quality Conference Content

 

By far the #1 reason individuals choose to attend a conference is the quality of the educational programming. Sourcing that content is consistently reported to be a top challenge for meeting planners—from setting up and advertising the open call for abstract submissions, to chasing down submitters and reviewers, to manually re-working and cleaning-up back-end data and reports. These barriers not only take up a disproportionate amount of time for meeting planners, but they can also affect the quantity and quality of submissions. Making seemingly small changes to your abstract management and review process can help you mitigate problems, save time and simplify the development of your conference materials.

Download the guide to learn:

  • How to collect the right amount of data, at the right time
  • How to test your system to avoid unforeseen technical issues
  • Why you should consider including steps to authenticate each submitter’s content
  • Why it’s important to create a “database of record”

Featured Recommendation: Collect data in small pieces

The information you collect from submitters will eventually be pushed to a variety of conference materials, from a printed program book, to online conference materials and perhaps even a conference app—each of which has different formatting requirements. To give you the greatest amount of flexibility without having to manually cleanup and re-format data, set up your submission fields to collect data in the smallest pieces possible. For instance, break out the Name field into First Name, Last Name, Suffix and Credentials.

Read the full guide for more tips on how to better collect and manage high-quality content.

Now Available: 2018 Training Trends Report

Educational programs provide a tremendous source of value for associations and other training-based organizations. That’s the takeaway from our 2018 Training Trends survey. The majority of respondents in this year’s survey (67%) look to capitalize on this fact by increasing the number of programs they offer. The focus on core strategic initiatives in the coming year, including program and content development, however, may need to come at the expense of other tasks.

How will this outlook impact those responsible for developing and implementing educational programs? We conducted an online survey of 111 continuing education (CE) and training professionals to understand their challenges, opportunities and priorities in the coming year.

Download the 2018 Training Trends report to learn:

  • How much time do CE professionals devote to program development tasks?
  • How effective are these programs in helping organizations reach their goals?
  • What percentage of the budget will be allocated to on-site training vs. online training in 2018?
  • What is the most common way for educational content to be re-purposed?

Takeaway #1: Continuing education takes place in a variety of formats.

Eighty-four percent of survey respondents indicated they offer multiple options for learners to participate in seminars, courses and workshops.

Offering learners choice on how they receive their training means CE professionals must also provide their course materials in a variety of formats. Print retains its lead as the most common format for course books and study guides, with online training materials coming in a close second. Mobile resources for training saw limited use in 2017, but with trends like microlearning on the rise, it will be interesting to see how these numbers evolve in the next few years.

Read the full report to learn how CE professionals balance developing new course content with other top training priorities.

Now Available: The 2018 State of the Conference Industry Report

 

We are excited to share the 2018 State of the Conference Industry Report!

For the fourth year in a row, Omnipress has tracked the evolution of conference content and the role it plays at an association’s annual event. This year’s Conference Industry Report indicates that while educational content remains a significant source of value that associations provide, association professionals are facing new challenges as they strive to meet attendees’ changing expectations.

To understand how associations are currently using their conference content, we conducted an online survey of 143 association professionals, many of whom are directly responsible for conference planning.

Download the report to learn:

  • How are associations using content to engage members and increase conference attendance?
  • How are associations deciding which formats to offer at their events?
  • Which types of content are associations currently providing at their conference?
  • Are there common challenges that all associations face delivering their conference content?

Takeaway #1: The annual conference remains a central part of the association’s member growth strategy.

With most associations reporting flat membership growth in 2017, the ability to engage and retain existing members is critical. The annual conference provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate the association’s value, and increasing attendance continues to be the number one priority for associations.

Respondents provided some specific areas of focus to increase attendance at their 2018 events:

  • Encourage peer to peer engagement
  • Increase conference quality
  • Update technologies to increase engagement
  • Create more networking opportunities

The opportunity for member engagement extends beyond attending the conference. Associations can provide options for members to participate in other meaningful ways by including an open call for their event. Soliciting presentations from within the association allows the organization to recognize the contributions that members are making in their industry and advance their careers.

Read the full report to learn how other associations use content to engage attendees before, during and after their events.

Promote Your Training Courses With Content Marketing

 

We’ve heard from organizations that increasing enrollment in their continuing education courses can be challenging, time-consuming and expensive. Organizations sit on a goldmine of useful educational materials and resources, but might not know how to use them to their benefit.

Since getting new members to enroll in your courses is so important to your organization, you need a way to expand your reach and keep learners interested in your training courses year-round.

That’s why we’ve created a guide to help you use the educational materials you already have and share them on social media.

Our new whitepaper, “Promote Your Training Courses With Content Marketing,” offers in-depth strategies for:

  • How to transform existing educational content into shareable information
  • Which visual tools you can use to create eye-catching promotional graphics
  • How Twitter can help you build a community of learners
  • How to promote your courses as events on Facebook
  • How LinkedIn can help you expand your reach to users outside of your existing network

Using free social media tools to share your content is a great way to start using your educational materials to their full potential. If you’d like to learn how social media can help your organization engage new and existing learners, download our free whitepaper!

Quick Tips for Managing Conference Program Printing

 

Conference program materials are often one of the last items to be checked off the event planner’s to-do list. With a very narrow delivery window, there is little room for error. What steps can you take to streamline the printing of your next conference program, avoid common pitfalls and increase the return on your investment?

Take a look at this infographic to learn some quick tips to reduce the stress of your next conference program printing project.

And for more ideas and advice, be sure to read our whitepaper, Managing Conference Print Projects: Five Tips for Success. You’ll get access to the knowledge we’ve gathered from printing conference content for over 40 years. These best practices and tips are the same ideas we share with customers to reduce the stress of this important part of conference planning.

conference print projects

 

Conference Print Projects: From the Infographic

Conference print projects are often the last items to be checked off the conference planning to-do list. Keep these Four facts in mind as your conference program comes together to avoid any last minute surprises.

A Big Pay-Off: Save Money with the Right Paper Stock

A heavier-stock cover separate from the body pages adds expense.
Save money by using a slightly heavier stock for the entire piece, including a self-cover.

Don’t Get Caught In A Bind: Know Your Binding Options A Head of Time

Perfect Bound: Text on a flat spine makes it easy to find on the shelf
Plastic Coil: Lays completely flat, great for notetaking and can contain up to 1,300 pages
Saddle Stitch: An economical option but limited to a maximum of 104 pages

Go Smaller for Bigger Page Counts: A Smaller Finished Size Can Save Your Budget

Double your page count without affecting your budget by turning an 8.5” x 11” piece into 5.5” x 8.5”

Add More Color to Your Piece (without Adding Much Green): The Price of Full-Color Printing Has Decreased

New technology has made conference program printing in full-color significantly less costly in recent years.

 

 

 

 

Use These Social Media Tips to Promote Your Event

 

One of the more surprising findings from our 2017 State of the Conference Industry report was how many associations are not re-using their conference content to promote their upcoming events. These organizations are missing a huge opportunity, so we decided to do something about it.

We created a guide to give you some ideas on how to start formulating a social media strategy for your association’s content.

Our whitepaper, “Promote Your Event with Conference Content Marketing” is a must-read if you’ve ever wondered:

  • How to transform existing content into shareable information
  • Which visual tools you can use to create graphics that pique your followers’ interests
  • How Twitter can help you maintain year-round awareness of your event
  • How to use Snapchat to engage younger members
  • How to use LinkedIn to share content with users outside of your member network

Effectively using social media is a great first step in taking advantage of your association’s existing content. If you want tips on how to re-use content on social media to promote your event and create year-round member engagement, download your free copy of the whitepaper!

Overcome the Top Conference Content Challenge

There are few careers that oversee as much coordination as an event professional. Having to rely on venue staff, caterers, A/V providers, etc. can feel like you are often putting your event—and your professional reputation—in the hands of total strangers. Talk about stressful! Other than working with people you trust, there is not much you can do to take the stress out of certain aspects of conference planning. So, it’s important to make sure that the areas where you are in control are as efficient as possible. These added sanity-savings will come in handy the next time your A/V company tells you they forgot to bring Mac-adapters for the laptops!

Taking control of what you control

One task on the conference planning to-do list that rarely goes as smoothly as it could is collecting content for the conference. In fact, in our 2017 State of the Conference Industry Report, you listed “Managing the collection and review process” as the top challenge in dealing with conference content.

Unfortunately, though, meeting planners tend to put up with their broken content collection workflow rather than try and find a solution. There are two common reasons for this:

Reason #1

The first reason meeting planners stick with their inefficient collection process is because they don’t know there is a better way. Usually they have been using the same time-consuming workarounds for so long, that that just becomes their normal process. Or, maybe this process is the way their association has “always” done it, so that’s the way it is.

Reason #2

A second common reason is the fear of the unknown. In this scenario, a conference planner knows her solution isn’t great but is afraid that making a change will result in an even worse, unknown problem in the future. Not exactly an ideal way to think about a project that you have to do every year!

If you fall into either of these categories, “The 5-Step Test Every Abstract Management System Should Pass” is a resource you should read.

This whitepaper will help you figure out if your current system is helping you stay organized and efficient, or if it’s the source of your content troubles. You’ll also learn which questions to ask and why each of these criteria is so important. Having these questions answered will give you the confidence your need to kick your broken system to the curb once and for all!

Conclusion

Planning a conference is a stressful profession and having the right tools for the job makes all the difference. Odds are you wouldn’t be willing to find a workaround if the vendors you rely on routinely created more work for you. Imagine if your caterer forgot to bring desert every year. Would you be willing—year-after-year—to spend your time buying cookies from the local grocery store? No, you’d hire a different caterer next year! Don’t let a broken abstract management system create more work for you either. Use the tips in “The 5-Step Test Every Abstract Management System Should Pass” to find a system that reduces your workload, not one that adds to it.

Online Content 2.0: How to Get More Out of Your Conference Materials

Attendees consume conference content differently now than they have in the past. Just think about the abundance of mobile devices you see at your annual meeting, and compare it to what you saw in 2008. If you had initial doubts about whether digital content would stick, they are probably gone by now.

So you probably understand that your association should offer content to attendees online, but knowing how to do that—and how to make the most of it—can be a challenge. Posting PDFs of presentations on your conference website is a good start, but there are opportunities to make your online content do much more than simply be an electronic version of your printed materials.

Our new whitepaper includes ideas on how to leverage your online content so you can meet the needs of your attendees while striving to reach your association’s goals as well.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Encourage members to build a personal library

Attendees can use online conference materials to build a personal library of association content that’s most relevant to them, even from sessions they weren’t able to attend at the conference. When note-taking is available, they can do even more to make the content their own.

Learn how to leverage online content before, during, and after your conference—and how it can increase your association’s visibility. Download now!