OmniPresence: Why 2016 Is Going to Be an Exciting Year
Why? Because of what you told us! Based on the results of our 2016 Conference Industry Report, which was completed by 151 association professionals, I believe there is a lot to look forward to in the coming year.
A few key findings from the survey stand out as positive indicators:
- Membership: Eighty-nine percent of respondents report that their membership has held steady or increased over the past year. After the doom-and-gloom of the recession and its aftermath, this is very good news! Even though growth has slowed since 2014 (according to the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report), most associations represented in the survey have not experienced declining membership.
- Budget: According to 92% of the survey-takers, budgets have stayed about the same or increased, compared to 2015. No association minds a little more money in the coffers. As far as conference content goes, this finding means that many associations can afford to offer more formats to meet attendees’ needs. This might be the year to add a conference app, for example, or create a digital archive of association content like publications and presentations from past conferences.
- Abstract management: Over half of the respondent (57%) identified “managing the collection and review process” as a top challenge; one-third (33%) chose this issue as their single greatest challenge. I view this as a great opportunity to address this challenge head-on by evaluating your process and your system with fresh eyes. How could you make abstract management easier for submitters, reviewers, and association staff? Omnipress has new tools and information in the works that could help. Stay tuned!
- Conference value: Over 2/3 (68%) of those surveyed answered that “knowledge and education” was a top value their conference provides. “Networking with fellow attendees,” which is often cited as a top goal of association meetings, came in distant second, at 24%. Education is dependent on exclusive, high-quality content. Think of how your association could further support the selection and distribution of its content. Make it your 2016 resolution!
Content is the greatest value your association can deliver to its members. Consider giving attendees more ways to engage with content by offering additional formats to do so—print, online, and mobile. It doesn’t have to be either/or. It can be both/and, and when you offer your attendees more opportunities to gain knowledge and further their education, everyone can look forward to a better 2016.
Read the full report to learn more about what your colleagues had to say about the evolving shape of conference content. Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey! Based on your answers, we have a good idea of how to make 2016 a banner year for you.