March 6, 2012 by Donna Kastner
It’s a whole new ballgame for associations and their conferences, particularly when it comes to building long-term loyalty. New realities are taking shape, disrupting previous value models and perceptions.
Reality #1: Senior executives are more involved in attendance and membership decisions. They’re scrutinizing ROI more closely and pushing back on fuzzy estimates.
Reality #2: While learning, networking, and business leads are still the “Big 3” reasons why organizations choose to participate in conferences, how value is defined and measured for each of these categories is all over the board.
Reality #3: As Boomers exit and Gen X ascends to the leadership suite, these value discussions will intensify.
What steps are you taking to improve your own value proposition? How will you ensure future success in this participant value game?
“Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate.” — Vince Lombardi
In today’s high-tech world, when conference or membership revenues stagnate or dip, we often turn to technology.
All options worth exploring, but we might be missing the most important step: Conversations with our best customers.
Aside from calls to promote YOUR conferences, do you ever reach out to your A-List participants, exhibitors, and sponsors to learn more about THEM? Calls to learn about future goals and aspirations? Calls to learn about new business challenges they are tackling? Calls to learn about the problems they recently solved?
Years ago, I managed a team of Business Development agents. This was a highly-trained, prospecting SWAT team, who would reach out regularly by phone and email to earn five minute conversations with C- and VP-level decision makers. They were hunting for problems our firm could solve. When they reached an executive, they would hold back on the sell and instead, launch into a thoughtful sequence of questions to uncover business challenges. Better than half of those conversations resulted in leads that would be assigned to sales. Better than half of those leads closed, often for six figure investments.
Never underestimate the power of one-on-one conversations to increase loyalty and drive revenue growth.
How can this same approach be used to grow your membership and conference audience?
This “deep & wide” 12-month strategy requires patience, persistence, and constant fine-tuning to move the results dial, but when you do (and you will), it will be worth it.
Would this year-round “deep & wide” event growth strategy be a fit for your organization? What challenges or obstacles might get in your way?
Filed Under: Attendance Marketing, Business Model
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *