digitalNow 2015 Workshop Summary and Key Takeaways
Through our ongoing research into the issues and trends that affect associations, we identified the digitalNow 2015 framework of Purpose, Progress, and People as the keys to unlocking the future of your association. On this page we have summarized the key points of that framework as they were expressed through digitalNow 2015 workshops, keynote presentations, and the collective conversation of the digitalNow Community
Focus on and the transparency of costs
Transparency drives outcomes
Centralizing financial management for an organization leads to increased transparency and allows decision makers to align strategic plans and decisions according to the real-time data. A full 360 degree view drives purposeful, realistic strategic goals and action items while increasing the chances of accomplishing them. When you can see, you can do.
Integration is everything
Implementing the proper technology automates processes critical to business operations, but when systems are disparate it can make a solution more complex or time-consuming. Integrating systems such as association management, or finance and accounting systems is key to saving time and resources, as well as creating a seamless and simple user experience.
Value and experience
Resources are precious. Using technology to free up valuable resources benefits members in a big way. Members are viewing value through a new lens. Using your resources to pivot and try new things, deliver additional value or a different experience, builds member retention and makes the organization desirable to potential new members. (Source: Sam Olson, Troy LeForge)
Make deep technological change when the risk of not changing is greater than the risk of switching.
Look to leverage developed, established industry standard platforms and ecosystems. These systems will enable your association to integrate and extend to meet member needs quicker, faster and cheaper than ever before.
Make decisions about technology that will position you to take advantage of opportunities that you may not even see yet. Always "play the long game" with regard to technology.
Examine emerging trends outside of narrow association-specific focus as these new trends often surface there. (Source: Bruce Moe, Sigmund VanDamme)
If your association prospect list isn’t changing, your revenue isn’t growing, or you aren’t actively selling all of your content assets, you are falling behind.
If the foundation of your advertising operation is fragmented and transactional, it will be extremely difficult to demonstrate value to advertisers and sell strategic programs across multiple products.
The range of branded-content vehicles available to advertisers in conventional media is quickly expanding—and associations need to find ways to adapt those vehicles for their own revenue-generating purposes. (Source: Mike Winkelman, Brian O’Leary, Stephanie Holland, and Jim Elliott)
Cyber-security is a business issue, not a technical problem.
Cyber risks are operational risks that need to be addressed at the enterprise level.
Security tools alone cannot solve the problem.
Monitoring and response are necessary elements of the cyber-security program.
A comprehensive approach is required. Leverage guidance such as the NIST Cyber-security Framework.
Employ qualified certified professionals to build and administer the cyber protection and response program.
Quality education and awareness programs for all employees is a must. (Source: Matt Loeb)
As leaders of your respective organizations, you need quick, reliable, low cost access to your core data, allowing for your core financial, membership, sales and marketing data to be available to you at the touch of your keyboard or mobile device.
There are new Cloud Business Intelligence solutions available to organizations of all sizes and budgets.
A good Business Intelligence solution will point out your data integrity issues, allowing for corrective actions.
Can your organization afford as little as $10 a month with minimum implementation time and start-up costs? (Source: John Dorman and Grant McInnes)
Seamless integrating innovations that drive our core purpose
Use “Innovation Labs” to experiment with New Ideas aligned with your Purpose. Labs can be organic throughout the organization, or a dedicated and managed department.
“Innovation Labs” tell stories. Watch Simon Sinek's TED Talk, “How great leaders inspire action”. Choose your Labs projects that align with your “WHY”. Create user stories to help filter your “WHAT."(Source: Sterling Raphael and Alex Rudloff)
Open space, time, cross-training, and open collaboration allow for creative collisions within your culture.
In every corner of an organization, the idea of having an online community to serve members is considered. But often, the idea remains just that – an idea – because starting the journey seems daunting.
How should we begin to build the business case for community? How can we translate the hard-to-explain-and-grasp benefits into a comprehensive and convincing plan? How can we report the value in business terms?
Your business case process is not simply a way to get approval for your community project. When well done, it is the outline for an effective strategic plan that includes requirements, vendor selection, implementation and operational steps for your online community launch. It will serve as your guide to develop the myriad of operational opportunities into potent complements to community initiatives.
By defining the strategic outcomes you want from the community, specifying the overlapping business and audience needs it will serve, mapping those business requirements into feature requirements, developing the business metrics and measures to determine outcomes and establishing the budget, your business case will be a sturdy framework for your community building initiative.
Armed with this plan, your business requirements and feature requirements will drive a detailed and transparent vendor evaluation and selection process. Prioritizing feature/function needs and asking the right questions will help you select a vendor who will meet your expectations, and with whom you can build a lasting and successful online community.
Successful online communities offer your organization significant benefits. They can accelerate critical business processes and create opportunities where none existed before. But they do require significant planning and preparation – not unlike any other new line of business or innovation your firm undertakes. A successful online community can catapult your firm to new heights by creating a highly-responsive, customer-focused organization. You can delight your audience by exceeding their expectations, create new digital processes for engaging with your prospective and current customers, partners and employees, and extend the vision and mission of your organization. There is no better way to listen, learn, educate, innovate, scale and extend your operational impact world-wide. (Source: Vanessa DiMauro)
Certification is a key driver of education and engagement for associations
Association leadership must be “out in front” of the industry – education must take a pro-active approach and lead the industry so members are prepared to address future trends.
Associations must find a way to remove barriers to learning and certification:
relevant, contemporary content easy to access provides value for the investment of time and money.
(Source: Marie Bass)
Certification programs must be updated to align with a rapidly evolving industry.
Certification programs should include candidate learning (in the preparation process) as well as validation of that learning/expertise.
There is no reason not to expand and broaden the base of candidates – even if there is resistance from the association leadership (who have struggled through the previous certification).
Providing college credit for association related training and certification programs can offer a low cost, high value benefit to your members.
Working in partnership with an academic partner creates clear pathways for association members.
Competency based education creates a common language among and between business, industry and education and allows for clear articulation and evidence of professional competencies. (Source: Lisa LaVigna,Tina Grant)
Barriers to Revenue Diversification/Impediments
Three Pearls for Revenue Diversification
Challenges to Revenue Diversification
Ensure that member-facing technologies are relevant, easy to use, and consistent with brand promise.
Marketing is more than just communication and promotion.
Marketing is about facilitating customers' needs.
Data analytics is our new BFF. (best friend forever) (Source: Pam Didner)
We live in a much more competitive environment and learning is the competitive advantage for every for-profit and non-profit organization.
Learning is the main purpose of a startup startup; in larger organizations often learning is a department or function.
Create a learning environment by providing your staff with access to micro learning services and facilitating daily learning habits and learning conversations. (Source: Niklas Jansen)
Member retention can be a struggle for many associations, but automated processes can help solve engagement and retention issues. Using automation technologies often found in both your community platform and your email or AMS provider, it’s possible to provide members with a deeper, more meaningful experience by focusing on specific campaigns and using appropriate KPIs to gauge success.
Learn how to identify and measure your member engagement tactics surrounding key member benefits, and address common pain points such as first year member retention, using automation for your emails and community.
Improve first year member retention with these three tactics:
Get the conversation going
If you’re looking for guidance getting the right conversations going with the right people in your organization, download our kickstarter tool kit.
Save the Date!
digitalNow 2016 is being held April 21 - 23, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. Watch your inbox for registration information!
Innovation isn't Rocket Science
If anyone knows the nature of innovation, it's Terry Jones, founder and former CEO of Travelocity and now founder and CEO of WayBlazer.com
Innovation may not be rocket science, but neither it is completely intuitive. Watch this short video as Terry Jones discusses innovation.
Let us know if you'd like to invite Terry to speak to your association about the nature of innovation and how you can be more innovative in your organization. Or contact his office directly at 707-838-4379.
digitalNow eligibility requirements
digitalNow registration is exclusively open to C-suite leaders of Trade, Professional, and Not-for-Profit Associations, their senior leadership teams and volunteer leaders.
Eligible titles include CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, President, Vice President, Board Chair, Executive Director, etc. When one eligible individual from a qualifying organization has registered, members of the senior team from that same organization become eligible as well. This includes Directors of Membership, Communication, IT, etc. Please note, this eligibility only occurs once the C-Level leader has registered and payment has been made.
If you are not sure of your eligibility, please contact Fusion Productions at 585 872 1900 for confirmation, or write to us atdigitalNow@fusionproductions.com