Associations can glean a ton of value from events. Therefore, it’s no surprise that ticket prices for the heaviest-hitting conferences and events are in the hundreds to thousands of dollars range. After all, how can you put a price on the future of business and leadership?
Practically speaking, people don’t solely attend events for the perfunctory continuing education (CE) certificate that proves you earned the credit.
Your association’s members are probably attending events in hopes of experiencing these five things:
- Grow your network.
- Discover new solutions.
- Get actionable insights.
- Explore the latest best practices.
- Be inspired.
Although collecting CEUs is important, especially in dynamic industries with ever-changing rules and regulations, it’s hardly the only reason that associations attend events. Registration, travel, and lodging for an event can quickly become expensive. Additionally, attending events is more than just a professional development investment. There are five key ways that associations can gain a wealth of value by attending events, which you can read about in more detail below.
1. Grow your network: engage with prospective members and partners.
According to the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), one of the top three reasons people decide to attend an event is for networking purposes.
Large conferences, especially those that cater to a vast spectrum of industries, present incredibly unique opportunities for associations to connect with prospective members and partners. It’s rare that the exact same body of delegates will attend the same event year after year, so the element of diversity alone is a compelling reason to attend events.
By connecting with business leaders from other cultures, models, and stages of maturity, you stand a good chance of meeting someone new. Conversation can be a priceless asset when it comes to finding new ways to engage membership, generate non-dues revenue, and ultimately connect with others who face similar challenges.
2. Discover new solutions to ongoing challenges that impact your business, its cohorts, and your membership.
Keeping members engaged is critical for overall success and can yield high-impact results, not the least of which is revenue generation.
How do the most successful organizations keep their members engaged? What practical solutions are bringing the most value to the process of membership engagement? What does success look like today, and how can you seize opportunities for your own members?
Finding and discussing answers to these questions (plus countless others) is a key motivating factor for attending events. CEUs may offer an incentive to attend specific sessions for your industry, but you are likely to spend more time at the tradeshow booths if there is a product or service that’s built with your association and its members in mind. This is something that can be clearly displayed using an event app.
3. Get actionable insights you can apply right away.
The business landscape is changing dramatically and moving faster than ever before. How can associations keep up?
To say that technology is requisite for success doesn’t quite hit the mark – these tools are paramount in today’s world. Staying ahead of trends in membership engagement, non-dues revenue generation, and modern marketing means that associations are increasingly reliant on software and other tools that keep their proverbial trains on-track.
4. Explore the latest best practices to avoid reinventing the wheel.
Like most successful business leaders and association executives, you consider attending an event to find best practices to help your organization(s) stay ahead of the curve. You want to know about the latest technology and tools that can help you meet members and community demands faster and better at every turn.
Attending an event is a surefire way to see how others have succeeded and failed, offering a chance to learn from those scenarios. Rather than reinventing the wheel for your cohorts, you can make a few adjustments to another association’s strategy and tactics. In a matter of weeks, rather than months or years, you can offer a host of innovative and beneficial activities that will keep your members engaged and your revenue stream(s) running.
5. Be inspired.
A fresh perspective, insightful case study, or emotional arc in a well-delivered keynote can help you see your business differently. Sometimes, all it takes to be inspired is knowing you’re not alone. There is nothing better than leaving an event with reignited energy and exciting ideas that can make a big impact on your business when you return.
Don’t get us wrong: there is demonstrable value in CE, especially if your role requires regularly brushing up on changing regulations, best practices, and trends. However, association members can get much more out of attending events than obtaining CEUs.
Whether you’re looking to build new relationships, optimize workflows, boost engagement, or simply reconnect with the initial spark of your industry, events are mission-critical. Where else will you find such a volume of knowledge and people in one place at the same time? For more from Pathable on events, technology, and event apps for associations, click here.
Equal parts voracious reader and passionate writer, Maggie is an expert in communication principles and practices that help drive positive impact for business. As Marketing Manager for Pathable, Inc., she’s customer-obsessed, results-oriented, and dedicated to celebrating the value of highly customizable event app and web solutions for event planners across industries around the globe.