2016 Conference Industry Report: The Print Conflict
We surveyed 151 association professionals about the current and future state of conference content. Over the past few weeks, we’ve shared the results on the blog and on social media. To read the full report, download the white paper. For a quick glimpse at important takeaways, take a look at the infographic.
In this post, we examine the role of printed materials at conferences. Based on their survey responses, it’s clear that meeting planners are conflicted about whether and how to incorporate conference printing into their content strategy.
Without a doubt, meeting planners understand the importance of printed materials. Nearly all (99%) association professionals surveyed currently use printed conference materials. Moreover, 62% indicated that attendees want content delivered in print.
It’s surprising, then, that only 54% of those surveyed plan to use printed conference materials in the future. Other survey answers give us some clues into this seeming contradiction.
Association professionals understand that the content landscape is changing. Digital access to conference materials is now expected by attendees, and meeting planners are aware of the shift.
- 60% have seen a shift in the formats that attendees prefer to receive content (print v. digital).
- 32% who did see a shift indicated that it could be described as a greater blend between print and digital.
The crux of the issue may lie in the complexities of offering multiple formats to access content.
- 45% find it challenging to offer a mix of formats.
- 18% named this issue as their single greatest challenge.
If over half of attendees want content delivered in print, and nearly all associations currently offer print, why do so many meeting planners believe they will decrease its use in the future? Is the challenge of offering a mix of formats so great that associations are opting to switch from print to digital instead of making both available to attendees? Or are meeting planners unsure of how to best use print and digital content together without being redundant?
What do you think? Have printed conference materials worn out their welcome, or is there a place for both print and digital materials? Is there a way to offer print and digital that minimizes the challenge and extra workload?
Leave a comment! We’d love to hear from you.