3 Reasons Why We Love What We Do

Between Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month, we think about matters of the heart a lot in February. For this month’s column, I’ve been reflecting on how love plays out for Omnipress. There’s a lot of love in this company, after all, which led me to this conclusion: Members of the Omnipress team share a love of serving associations.

How do we love our jobs? Let’s count the (three) ways:

  1. We love seeing our customers succeed. Planning an association’s annual meeting is a complicated, multi-step process. The meeting planners we work with always seem a bit overwhelmed, and we marvel at their ability to keep everything running smoothly. Omnipress specializes in one of the many tasks on your plate. That means you don’t have to be the conference content expert! We’re here to help, and we find it so gratifying to help make your meeting more successful. Our mission is to help you deliver upon yours.
  1. We love serving a higher purpose. “Delivering knowledge” is our mantra, and we take it seriously. We’re thrilled to play a part in delivering knowledge to professionals around the country (and the globe!), in a wide variety of industries. We love our customers because they help us make a real difference in the world.
  1. We love making your life easier. In working with so many meeting planners, we’ve come to understand how stressful your job can be. But we also recognize that you find the joy in making everything come together, even if the process can be challenging. The Omnipress team is committed to making your workday (and therefore your life) a little easier by simplifying conference content.

We asked meeting planners about their conference goals, budget predictions, and conference content formats they offer in our 2016 State of the Industry survey. The results reminded us of a fact we already knew well: The meeting planners we serve are passionate about their work. What do you love most about associations and planning their meetings? Leave us a comment!

5 Key Statistics about Millennials & Training

As of late 2015, Millennials make up about one-third of the American workforce, surpassing both Baby Boomers and Generation X. These young professionals (age 18-34) have never known a world without the internet. What role—if any—do printed educational materials play in their lives? Do they want all digital content all the time?

We wanted to know, so we conducted a survey of 548 Millennials (22-33 years old) about their views on educational materials. For a quick snapshot of the results, take a look at the five key statistics below!

  1. 50% prefer print when reading something they need to learn. Compare that with just 18% who chose digital. Scientific research that suggests reading printed materials leads to better retention, and young professionals also prefer this method.
  2. 59% agree: “It is easier for me to learn from printed materials.” When learners enroll in continuing education courses, they want to come away with new skills to help them advance in their careers. The format used to present new concepts shouldn’t create a barrier. Course participants want to gain new knowledge as quickly and easily as possible, and according to their answers, printed materials make it happen.
  3. 58% agree: “Printed materials are better for reference.” After the coursework is completed, learners will need to look back at the materials for reference. Despite the great strides digital materials have made in creating a better search and reading experience for users, over half of the young professionals we surveyed agreed that printed materials make for better references.
  4. 86% agree: “The world is more connect than ever, but I think there’s still a place for printed materials.” Millennials seem to understand when to use digital sources and printed materials. They see a place for both and use their best judgment for which format is the best choice in different situations. As one participant said, “We can have both; it’s not a war.”
  5. 64% agree: “I will never stop reading printed educational materials.” Think that all young professionals want is online training materials? Not true! Even though they grew up with the internet always available, they understand the value of printed materials for learning and reference.


For more results from the survey, read the full report. Leave a comment to let us know what you think!

Groundhog Day: Abstract Management, Repetition, & Abstract Management

For many people, Groundhog Day conjures up memories of the popular Bill Murray/Andie MacDowell movie. A recap for those who have forgotten the plot: Phil is a weatherman reporting from Puxatawney, Pennsylvania. Because of a freak blizzard that he (ironically enough) didn’t forecast, Phil gets stuck in a time warp, living the same day over and over again. After Phil works past the crushing agony of repetition, he begins to use it as an opportunity to improve himself and—at long last—move forward into a better future.

Do you find yourself reliving the same process again and again? Some meeting planners feel that way about abstract management. Every year, they open a call for papers, go through the same motions (many of them manual and tedious), and hope for different results.

The truth is, the best way to escape from the endless repetition is to change the way you approach the task, like Murray’s weatherman Phil did. Once he changed the way he faced each day, positive changes and forward momentum broke the pattern.

Whether your abstract management process is manual or just a system that hasn’t kept up with your association’s needs, you can find an alternative to help you break free of a vicious cycle. Perhaps it’s time to take a close look at your abstract management system and whether it’s helping or hindering your collection process.

We’ve compiled an easy five-step test that every abstract management system should pass. For example: Can the system be configured to match your submission process? And do you need it to? This step helps you determine which type of system will work best for your association: out-of-the-box, custom-built, or configurable.

Does your abstract management system make the grade? Download our new white paper to find out!

Wishing you a happy February and an early spring!

Don’t Be Bullied By Your Budget!

When it comes to your association’s continuing education training materials, the best solution for how to present your content, in print or digital formats, is … both.

In our work with associations, we have found that some training professionals struggle when deciding how to deliver continuing education training materials to learners. Traditionally, printed course materials were used and expected by class participants. Lately, however, many learners want online access to content so they can study on the go or read up on the subject before class starts.

Numerous studies suggest that reading printed materials is better for learner experience and retention. On the other hand, you have heard that young professionals in particular prefer to read on a screen. (Our survey of millennials busts that myth! Read more here.)

If you don’t offer printed materials, it will appear that your association is unaware of—or worse, unconcerned about—the research that reading paper books is better for retention. If you don’t put your CE training materials online, though, the association seems out of touch with technology and uninterested in providing a convenience to learners. This is the definition of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

You see the central conflict here, and it is baffling. Unless, that is, you consider the continuing education materials to be the most critical aspect of your training program. More important than snagging the very best venue, and more important than providing the most expensive snacks. Because training materials should hold that place in your program, and maybe it’s time that your budget reflected that.

Look, we’re not suggesting that you hold your seminar in some back alley so you can afford to give online access to course books. No one wants your learners to go without lunch because glossy covers look better than matte on the workbook.

Just consider that your training program’s primary goal is delivering knowledge to learners, and anything that doesn’t serve that purpose should be secondary. What’s most important? Hiring quality instructors and providing continuing education materials.

Once you align your budget and your goals, it becomes clear that increasing your spend on your continuing education training materials isn’t just possible—it’s necessary!

The best way to present your course materials whichever way your learners want to consume them. In other words, both print and digital are mandatory.

Have You Heard? Millennials Prefer Printed Materials

Not unlike event planners, training professionals struggle with how to deliver content. Do young adult learners want everything online, or is there still a place for printed training materials?

We were curious, too, so we asked Millennials to weigh in on the subject. Download our whitepaper, written specifically with training professionals in mind, for the full results. Here’s a preview, from the preface of Millennials & Training: How & Why Your Youngest Learners Read from the Printed Page:

Educational content is best delivered in print. To make your continuing education (CE) course or seminar as meaningful as possible, print is an important and necessary component. When it comes to association members taking CE courses, print is a best practice.

Strong views? Yes, but with experience and evidence to back them up, we stand by them. Associations have been tempted to stop printing course books, workbooks, and study guides. That would be a grave mistake.

 

What do you think? Take a look at the whitepaper and leave a comment below. You can also contact us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, or reach out by phone (800-828-0305) or email.

Need more options? No problem—try a Contact Us form or live chat at Omnipress.com. We would love to hear what you think!

ICYMI: New Year, New Perspective – Millennials & Print

In case you missed it (ICYMI): Millennials prefer print when they read educational materials.

According to whom, you ask? Young professionals themselves! We worked with a third party to administer a survey to 548 men and women, age 22-33. Here’s a sample of the questions we asked. Want the answers, too? Download the white paper!

  • When you read something you need to learn, which do you prefer: print or digital?
  • Is it easier to learn from print or digital?
  • How much do you agree or disagree with this statement: Printed materials are better for reference.
  • How much do you agree or disagree with this statement: When I attend a professional conference, I want a printed program book.

At the risk of belaboring the point, I want to reiterate that the respondents were not in any way connected to Omnipress—or even the association industry at large. Their feedback is real and the results are solid.

Several survey-takers shared quotes, including this one, on the subject of note-taking:

I prefer printed materials because I am able to highlight, mark up, and jot my own notes down next to things that are important. Print materials, I think, are also less strenuous on the eyes. [I] definitely prefer to physically hold something (sounds odd, but I do the same with music—buy the CD then copy to PC so I have both formats). I don’t think you’re able to get the same effect with something in a digital format.

As you head forward into 2015, we invite you to reframe your thinking about event content. Young professionals—the very future of your association—have come out in support of printed educational materials. Get the full story: read the white paper. Comment below with your feedback, or reach out to us and let you know what you think.

We look forward to working with you in 2015! All the best to you, your loved ones, and your association colleagues this year.

 

This Just In: Millennials Crave Printed Materials

“I would not be able to learn or work efficiently with digital materials.”

“I can remember an exact area of a topic that I read easier with a physical text than with a digital text.”

“I prefer printed materials because I am able to highlight, mark up, and job my own notes down next to things that are important.”

“I … like turning the pages in a book and seeing how much I have accomplished reading.”

These are quotes of people who prefer print for learning. That description fits many of your association members, but you may be surprised to learn that all of these statements were written by millennials, age 22-33.

To learn more about how young professionals view print, we wrote the questions, with millennials and worked with another company to administer the survey to volunteer participants between the ages of 22-33. These individuals may or may not belong to a professional association; their identities remain a mystery.

Download the white paper to read the full results. Here are a few highlights to whet your appetite:

  • When asked to how they prefer to read something they need to learn, 50% chose printed materials. By contrast, only 18% picked digital.
  • Over half (59%) agreed completely that it is easier to learn from printed materials.
  • When asked how much they agree with this statement—When I attend a professional conference, I want a printed program book—, 53% agreed. Another 30% had no opinion, which means that only 17% disagreed.

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Now is not the time to stop providing printed materials at your association events. Your youngest members, which are the very future of your organization, have shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that print is important to them. Show them that you value their opinion: make conference printing part of you 2015 plans.

Conference Printing White Paper: Available for Download!

With 2014 drawing to a close, associations are rethinking their event content strategy. Digital publishing has never been better and mobile devices are everywhere you look. Why would we choose to print a conference program in 2015?

It’s a fair question. Print does have its share of drawbacks, but it still brings a lot to the table. Before you count it out of your plans for next year, consider these points:

  • Printed proceedings add to an attendee’s existing collection of association content.
  • Event content comes in many packages, and you can print nearly all of them, including common outputs like final programs and session handouts, and other items, like presentation folders, scientific posters, and awards certificates.
  • Many studies suggest that you may remember more of what you read in print.
  • The visual impact of print is powerful. Sponsors are more satisfied with a full-page ad in a program than a banner on your website.
  • Both paper books and eReaders deserve a place on your nightstand, in your office, and in your life.

Give our new whitepaper a read and you’ll learn more about the basics of conference printing and why printed event content continues to hold value for your attendees.

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New Abstract Management Whitepaper Available Now!

We invite you to read our new abstract management white paper, Best Practices Guide for High-Quality Content!

To whet your appetite, we’ll share one of the ten tips—Managing Your Data.

It’s likely that, between the time your call for papers closes and you submit final materials to your vendors, your content will change multiple times. This makes managing and tracking updates difficult and time-consuming, particularly if you’re providing content to multiple vendors. Be sure to set up a “database of record” as a centralized location for all content updates, and limit access to this files so the process is well-managed.

Are you interested in reading the other nine tips? Download the white paper here.