The 2018 ASAE Annual Meeting and Expo wrapped recently in Chicago. The event, which gathered professionals from associations, agencies, and technology companies called attention to many of the trends within the association world. We spoke to several association executives who touched on how they’ve re-energized and redefined their organizations, and we distilled what the experts had to say about their challenges and opportunities into 3 key takeaways from the event:
Content marketing is driving organizational change:
While many associations are still finding their way to a content marketing strategy that is effective and sustainable, those that have put the time into providing a continuous stream of fresh and valuable audience-focused content are reaping the rewards. The most successful organizations also know that repurposing their existing assets into new, more accessible formats like video, downloadable white papers or interactive infographics is a great way to jumpstart your content creation.
Multiple technology platforms exist to help associations analyze data and make informed decisions on catering their marketing strategy to their audience, such as rasa.io, erwin, and Clearbit. By paying attention to your audience’s content consumption habits you can focus your efforts where they’ll make a difference and reach your audience. It’s clear that content marketing is an integral part of a marketing strategy and no longer optional, so we were inspired to see so much forward thinking coming from associations.
Developing non-dues revenue opportunities is vital:
The ASAE reports that on average over half of a typical association’s revenue now comes from non-dues sources, and as the percentage of revenue coming from membership dues continues to shrink, associations are expanding their services to provide value to their members in new ways. At the event, associations spoke of how they leverage their authority and expertise in their respective fields to create professional certifications, informational webinars, or even networking events outside of annual meetings to produce educational opportunities. By rethinking their website’s approach to engaging with visitors and members, many associations have created other new revenue opportunities as well, from brand merchandising to website advertising, or hosting a job board for your members to use.
Technology platforms are helping to solve staffing and efficiency challenges:
The list of to-do's facing an organization seems to grow longer every day and for smaller organizations this can feel like a forced sacrifice of one important effort to free up resources for another. This type of operational triage is commonplace for most organizations, but we heard from several associations that have found tech platforms that allow them to do more without staffing up. From chat bots and marketing automation suites to social listening platforms there were some great examples of groups partnering with tailored solution providers to improve organizational efficiency. This resonated with us as we’ve integrated several platforms including HubSpot for marketing automation, Exponential for programmatic advertising, and SEMrush for SEO and competitive intelligence, and have seen major time savings in our weekly marketing processes.
If you’d like to hear more about our takeaways from this year’s ASAE Expo or discuss opportunities around these concepts, we’d love to talk!