The Greatest of ASAE’s Great Ideas

This article originally appeared in the April 2011 edition of the Marketing GPS Newsletter.

I recently attended the American Society of Association Executives’ Great Ideas 2011 Conference, a unique forum dedicated to tapping unconventional wisdom in order to help associations, and any organization, run better.

Many of us took notes on Twitter, enabling others to follow conference highlights via the #ideas11 hashtag. So much enthusiasm was generated that you can find the hashtag still in use on Twitter a month later, but if you want to search through the tweets as they happened, search #ideas11 on Google’s real-time search and select March 2011. [1]

Here are the top ideas I feel are most important to share with you:

Idea #1: Social Technology is Changing Community 
According to Amber Kelleher, Director, Global Education for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, a typical membership coordinator might have 500 Facebook friends, a blend of personal and professional contacts. You need to engage with them (productively, using tips from NFI’s Ben Martin) through unmoderated social media  more than emails and press releases (and using good social policies.) This becomes even more important as the workplace evolves into increasingly project-driven organizations collaborating with freelancers.

Idea #2: Stream a Regular Broadcast
A great example of a regular webcast is Kiki L’Italien’s weekly Social Media Sweet Spot by Delcor. Video, predicted by Cisco to account for 90% of Internet traffic by 2014 (Reardon, CNet’s Signal Strength), is increasingly watched, linked, “liked” and searched. Just as search engines networked discrete bits of text into a whole much greater than the sum of its parts, so too will images (see “Photo Sharing’s Next Race Begins at the X-Games”) and video be linked together with a similar – or perhaps even more profound – impact on how we consume media.

Capitalize, in particular, on video’s increasing search “shelf-space” by producing broadcast content. According to Kiki, you can do this with a minimal investment of less than $100 up front, $300 a year and about two hours per half-hour episode. Even if you don’t start with a regular broadcast, you can still use video content to drive revenue and generate testimonials, as the Association of College and Research Libraries recently did with a video contest asking entrants to say why they should receive a free registration to attend the annual conference. The videos spotlighted the value that members placed on the annual conference, and registrations jumped.

Idea #3: Experiment With Mobile Now
Andy Steggles at Higher Logic suggests that the real opportunity is to use mobile apps not to target your best customers, but your marginal ones who may need to interact with you in a different way – this could tap whole new veins of gold in your mine.

Idea #4: Consider Freemium Pricing
As technology costs drop and free becomes a bigger part of the future of business, consider freemium price models and long-tail revenue strategies like niche content and micropayments, suggests Jeff De Cagna of Principled Innvovation. “Conference recordings need iTunes pricing!” he says.

Idea #5: Care For Your Staff, So They Can Care For Everybody Else 
I learned this from Kate Manzanares, Assistant Director of Human Resources for the Broadmoor Hotel, during a behind-the-scenes tour of the conference venue. No, it’s not a marketing principle, but since the Broadmoor Hotel is the only resort to have won 50 consecutive years of Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond awards, it is definitely a formula for success: don’t just incent or train your staff to care for customers – value them so much that your care for them spills over onto everyone in their path. Fifty years of awards say it’s a strategy worth considering.


[1] From the Google results page for a search on #ideas11, click on MORE on the left-hand column, then select REALTIME. To the right of the results you should now have a timeline. Click on the YEAR, then use your cursor to point at the timeline to find and click on MARCH (easily identifiable in this example as there is a huge spike in chatter that shows up for the month of March.)

Michael is responsible for client SEO work, reporting, FB ads, and web hosting. Prior to joining NSI Partners, Michael received his Bachelor of Science in Business Management Information Systems from Liberty University, and worked at the school’s Network Operations Center. Michael resides in Lynchburg, VA, with his wife, Megan. His hobbies include gaming, watching Atlanta Falcons football, and reading.

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