Inner Circle

Event Marketing  

What I Took Away from ASAE’s Annual Meeting

by Kasey Connors, CAE, MBA

Last month, thousands of association professionals united in Toronto to learn, network and gain inspiration from each other. Personally, I achieved all those objectives and came back to work feeling motivated to translate my knowledge into action and to share my key takeaways…

Tell Relatable Stories
As we tell stories about our events and/or association offerings, we must remember to do so utilizing content that engages, entertains AND aligns with where the recipient is in the path to purchase: awareness, consideration, interest and conversion. For instance, if someone has just joined your association, rather than simply dropping his or her name into your master database and sending whatever the next email is scheduled to go out, consider a more targeted communications approach, specifically relevant for new members.

BONUS TIP: Use stories not just to engage, educate and persuade, but to inspire your audience. At ASAE, Celebrity Chef and TV Host Chef Geoff told the story of his personal transformation, from jail to successful entrepreneur, as a way of encouraging everyone to find their “inner hustler.”

Take Risks
Association professionals (and for-profit organizers, too!) should strive to create events that equip participants with the tools, technologies, ideas and information that will help them not only in the short term, but will set them up for future success. If the industry you represent is one that is constantly evolving, it’s likely that you will need to take calculated risks in order to forecast what the next big things will be and to truly provide leadership to those you serve. What up-and-coming trends will impact your industry and how can you prepare your attendees to capitalize on them? What topic is threatening the profession you represent and how should you address it? Is there a controversial or provocative topic that you want to analyze (from both sides) in a moderated panel discussion?

BONUS TIP: Go out on a limb with content as well as with how the content is presented by experimenting with new learning formats, new technologies, new events and programs, etc.

Look to the future
As you’re thinking about the future of your industry, think about the future of your event and organization, as well. Event organizers, particularly, tend to think only about the next edition of their conference/trade show, but really that planning should extend into the future. To develop a longer-term strategy that provides a clear vision, it’s important to utilize past data to predict future trends; to identify potential hurdles; to plan for the unexpected; and to stay connected to your audience (how are their professions, lives and challenges evolving?).

BONUS TIP: Think globally about your future. Don’t underestimate the power of growing membership/event audiences through international outreach. Consider establishing global partnerships to leverage essential expertise that can offer international connections. As one presenter said, “Global is not a place, it’s specific markets with different opportunities.”

Feeling inspired to take your next event, membership drive or organizational initiative to new heights? Contact Kimberly Hardcastle today.