My ASAE Annual Meeting ’09 – Report Card

Published by Steve Manicor | Topics: Associations

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asae09I love attending ASAE’s Annual Meeting each year!

I get to meet new people, reacquaint with old friends and learn more about associations and their challenges. It’s the perfect conference for me and my responsibility as the chief marketing guy at Omnipress.

This year, “Engage” was the theme of the event. Social media was the hot topic and I believe ASAE did a great job pulling it off (again)!

Be sure to check out some of the links to videos capture at the event.

I thought I’d take a report card style to summarize my feedback and experience.

Conference Marketing

Being a marketing guy, I’m interested in how organizations generate traffic to their event. How they create awareness and build their brand. ASAE did all this well. The ASAE09 web site was just one example of that. They used twitter, web stickers, other bloggers and traditional media to drive interest to the event.

If you’re looking for model to follow for your event, this would be a good choice.

Grade: A


Pre-Conference Networking Opportunity

ASAE offered this “online connection center” which was supposed to allow attendees schedule appointments with exhibitors. It was a one way tool in my opinion as exhibitors could only really answer to requests from attendees (eh hem, no one reached out to us on this tool). ASAE asked that we promote this tool to our potential prospects. Now why would we send prospects to a list that included our competition? This needs rethinking.

What ASAE needs is a better social networking tool to connect speakers, attendees and suppliers (hmmm… can you think of one? I can). Conference 2.0 would be a perfect tool, but from my conversations with ASAE, they believed suppliers would just be bombarding attendees with advertisements. Perhaps. However, communities usually monitor themselves and I believe with some guidelines, this would be a non-issue.

Grade: C+ (sorry ASAE – I call it as I see it).


Venue – Toronto

I love Canada! Moving this meeting there was good to support our friends to the north, but it did create some inconveniences (cell phone coverage, passports, international travel) and perhaps aided to a decline in attendance???

The Metro Toronto Convention Centre was nicely located near hotels, but the hike once inside the Centre was a bit adventurous. The opening and other grand sessions were in the South end, while the exhibits and breakout sessions were two escalators up, one sky walk across and three escalators down. A little too spread out for my taste.

Toronto is a great city and I plan to return sometime.

Grade: B


Ubiquitous Internet?

Not really.

Wifi was average at best while on site with spotty connections. In fact, the #asae09 twitter back channel had many complaints about it. And, there was no “free” internet connection on the exhibit floor unless you had a cool $400 to spend. This was a bummer since ASAE offered a cool mobile version of their event, the handouts were online and the #asae09 twitter channel was on fire!

Grade: C


Event Education

This was another great event with some really good speakers. I think for the first time in my five ASAE events I did not session hop. Here’s a few sessions I really enjoyed;

  • Terrance Barkan‘s session on “Using Social Media for International Expansion” – he laid out a social media plan and how conferences were the ticket to international outreach.
  • Amber Mac “The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media” provided some fun and basic coverage to social media.
  • Charlene Li (co-author of Groundswell) did a nice job going over the importance of how social media is changing the landscape.

With no handouts in sight (again), learning was left to downloading them in advance and taking notes while sitting in sessions. I truly believe education could be done better by giving the attendees some type of handout/takeaway while at the event. Instead, the only handouts were daily news and exhibitor flyers. ASAE did offer the 6×9 Conference Program/Journal book (much better than the oversized one from ’08). I like the Conference Journal as it’s a great place to take session notes… it’s convenient! What would be my ideal on-site tool, you ask? I’d like to see 1/2 page summaries of each session printed in the conference journal. I know it bulks up a little, but I can then leave the program at home.

Grade: A


Summary

I’ll use the netpromoter.com approach to summarize this event. On a 1 to 10 scale, how likely would I be to recommend this event to a friend or colleague?

Answer: 9


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About Steve Manicor

Steve is Omnipress' Director of Business Development. He has over five years serving the meetings and training industry. He leads our product/service leadership and development teams. ...read more



Comments

1.

September 2nd, 2009Robert Barnes says:

Interesting point about “international” travel! Me and five other Aussies came from all over Down Under to attend – 24hours of travelling is international not a 1-4 hour flight north from the good ol’ USA.

Love the report card though, I concur. I will spend the best part of the next 12 months spruiking 2010 in LA – only one 14hr flight!


2.

September 8th, 2009Chris Uschan says:

G’Day Mate, (as they say it, I think).

I guess any travel (in a plane) is travel, but “hat’s off” for flying halfway around the world. Hopefully, you enjoyed the event as much as I did.

Twitter: chrisuschan


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