Thursday, March 29, 2012

What can March Madness® Show Association Management Professionals?

Well, this weekend is the Final Four® ... the culmination of the NCAA basketball season. After thousands of games, only four teams survive. 

As I watched one of the one of the games last week, a commentator mentioned Hall of Fame Coach John Wooden (the Wizard of Westwood) and quoted Coach as saying:

“Coach what you know and know what you coach.”

That sounds like pretty good advice for associations and association management professionals. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Women filling up more of USA's volunteer ranks: Questions for Associations

Early in my career, I served as the PR director for a woman’s college, one of two men in the administration. Later, I served/worked with two associations when the first woman was elected president.

So, I wasn’t totally surprised with the USA Today story about the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on volunteering in America:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Marketing the Association in the Digital Age: 5 tips on Twitter and/or IM

Five AMC professionals shared 60 ideas/tips on marketing the association in the digital age at the recent ASAE Great Ideas Conference. The ideas were shared in 5 categories: 
  1. Integrated Marketing
  2. Twitter &/or IM 
  3. Mobile &/or QR Codes 
  4. Facebook &/or LinkedIn 
  5. Blogs, Websites &/or Slide Share. 

Over the next week or so, I’ll share the top 5 ideas in each of the 5 major categories and any of the ideas the audience surfaced. You can click here for the full PowerPoint.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ever Wonder about Content Marketing? Here’s Specific Example for Associations

Have you heard of content marketing and wondered what it looks like?

Well here’s an example from a small business. You can use it as a model for your association.

A version of the ad above appeared in last week’s Fort Myers newspaper.

What Works

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Best of the Week: 5 Articles for Association Management Professionals

I’m attending (and presenting at) the ASAE Great Ideas Conference. And, I hope to glean information and ideas worth sharing over the next few weeks.

While I’m gone, I thought you would benefit from this collection of articles of value for association management professionals.

7 Content Marketing Lessons from Napoleon Hill
Great stuff from Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute. The seven lessons are: desire, faith, specialized knowledge, imagine, organized planning, decision and persistence. Check them out in this article.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Marketing the Association in the Social Media Era: Glean 60 ideas from 1-minute tips



60+ Marketing Ideas in 75 Minutes
I’m facilitating a panel of association marketing professionals at the ASAE Great Ideas Conference this week (March 26).

Our topic: Marketing the Association in the Google+ Era
Note:  Despite the title, this session is about all forms of marketing not just Google+ marketing.


We divided the ideas into five major categories. I’ve shared one idea in each catergory.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Association Story Telling: Truth vs Fiction

PBS's This American's Life retracts Mike Daisey's (center) show regarding Apple's plants .  Center photo: AP
Over the last few months, several bloggers have advocated story telling as a very effective communications tool for association management professionals.
When we advocate story telling, however, we also advocate truth-telling.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Death of Encyclopedia Britannica (print version): 3 lessons for associations

Headline of the Week (after the new iPAD announcement!):
After 244 Years, Encyclopedia Britannica Stops the Presses
Last week (3/13), Encyclopedia Britannica (EB) announced it was dropping the printed version of this historical publication. “The last print version is the 32-volume 2010 edition, which weighs 129 pounds. In recent years, print reference books have been almost completely overtaken by the Internet and its vast spread of resources, including specialized Web sites and the hugely popular — and free — online encyclopedia Wikipedia.”

Last September, the Wall Street Journal wrote: Encyclopedia Britannica Now Fits Into an App
“The Britannica, however, isn't going away, or ignoring the digital world. It has long had a paid website. When it comes to school research, it is often trusted by many teachers and parents over less rigorously vetted sources. And now, it is about to launch a slick iPad app containing its entire content at a greatly reduced price: $2 a month, or $24 a year, versus $70 a year for the Web version and about $1,400 for the venerable print version. (People who pay for the Web version also get access to the iPad app at no extra cost.)”

Monday, March 19, 2012

Content Provides Opportunities 4 Association Management Professionals to Build Organizational Value

In the last few weeks, I’ve been following a dialogue about content marketing, a topic hugely important to the future of associations and professional societies.

Since I believe creating, marketing and managing content is vital to the future of associations and nonprofits, I thought I would share the discussion and add my own twist as a way to benefit you and other association management professionals.

Here are some of the key posts on this subject:

I agree!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Best of the Week: 7 Exceptional Readings for Association Management Professionals

As you may know, I’m always on the lookout for articles/blogs/stories that impact associations and nonprofits. Every few weeks, I consolidate the best into a “readings for association management professionals.” The summary is designed to help you see if the full article is worth your read. I hope this service provides value and saves you time. Feel free to start with your staff/colleagues.

Pictures Matter: In Age of Pinterest, Instagram, Marketers Need An Image Strategy  From Chris Edwards’ column in Advertising Age.
Edwards suggests a 3-part “image strategy.”

  1. Audience engagement. How can images increase engagement among my existing audience?
  2. Audience acquisition. How can I convert that engagement into sharing?
  3. Revenue. How does the strategy help me make more money?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

7 Steps to Make Speeches an Influential Tool in Association Management

“Back in the day” -- when it cost about $15 to make a slide – I wrote speeches for associations ... about 60 per year for our volunteer leaders and senior staff. Some were formal (like the outgoing president’s convention speech) and others informal (such as for a group of farmers gathered in a school auditorium).

This process showed me that a well crafted and presented speech can serve as a powerful tool for your association or nonprofit organization. It can motivate, energize, engage. It can establish a policy position. It can captivate prospects. It can stir members.

The problem? PowerPoint and other tools have made most of us lazy speakers. And, as I wrote last week, the lecture format has downgraded the power of the speech.

Here are 7 tips to build the power of your speeches: 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Build it & They Will Come is a Field of Dreams for Association Management

Many of us recall the popular movie Field of Dreams and two memorable lines:
• Build it and they will come.
• Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.

Over the last few decades, I’ve watch many associations use the “build it and they will come” as an organizational and membership strategy.

The build it and they will come strategy assumes all members/prospects have the same needs.

Bull roar!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What does “Post-PC World” mean for Association Management Professionals?


So, the new iPad was announced last week.

Yes, I still suffer from iPad envy ... but, that’s not what caught my attention!

According to Mike Elgan in ComputerWorld, a post-PC device has the following four characteristics:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Association Management: Build your audience before you need it!

Brian Clark, founder of CopyBlogger and editor of Entreproducer eletter, advised authors  to “build an audience before you try to sell memberships or other services.” Successfully market something ... which is specifically not limited to ebook publishing. Once you have an audience, the door opens to consulting, paid speaking, software, innovative new platform launches, and more.

I’ve been thinking about that statement for a week or so. Especially as I contemplate what it means for associations and nonprofit organizations.

The traditional association growth strategy has revolved around (a) “finding a good list” and (b) direct mailing (now blast emailing) that list until they join. (For nonprofits it was “direct mail them” until they make a donation.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How Do Prospects/Members/Donors Know it is You? Thoughts on Branding.

I’m not a branding and/or color expert but I try to be observant of my surroundings.

The other day, I saw a photo (visual) in the newspaper and knew immediately it was Larry the Cable Guy. Crazy but why do I remember this guy? The sleeveless (and usually plaid) shirt.

It’s not unlike the power of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s link with pink (especially pink ribbons).

Look at the examples above from my world:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

If Lectures Are Ineffective, 6 Suggestions to Modify Association Conference/Educational Programming? (Part 2)

Summary from Yesterday’s Post
  • In last Wednesday’s The Final Word Column, USA Today’s Craig Wilson posed thoughts on the death of lecture format for teaching/learning. “As for this lecture thing, it appears students today want to be involved. They want to be active, not passive. In short, they don't want to be lectured to. What's happening is that many lectures today can just as easily be delivered over YouTube or iTunes. Lucky students.”
  • The Traditional Lecture Might Not Be Dead, But It Is Severely Flawed by Lauren Landry.
  • In Chunk It, Don’t Hunk It, Jeff Hurt recommends that conference organizers should push speakers to divide their content into ten-minute chunks. Then insert a short discussion or reflection activity between chunks so that the audience can process it. 
Chunk It Don’t Hunk It Analogy

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Are Lectures Passe? Does it Impact your Conference/Educational Programming? (Part 1)

Cartoon at left by Suzy Parker, USA Today
I love Craig Wilson’s “The Final Word” Wednesdays in USA Today.

Craig's column last week was great and offers some insight for association management professionals.

Are class lectures passe? Just ask the guy in the cartoon above.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

5 Reasons E-books Should be in Your Association’s Marketing Toolbox

The Periodic Table of Content.  From Orbit Media.
Julien Smith’s post on “The Six Shifts of a Kindle Dominated Marketplace” got me to thinking about how this might apply to associations and other nonprofit organizations.

Let me disclose my philosophical bias upfront:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dominoes Ad Shows that Engaging Your Members Could Create Winners

Brian Elder and his Parmesan Bread Bites
A new Dominoes TV commercial for bread bites featuring a store manager from Findlay, Ohio, caught my eye mainly because I worked summers in Findlay which is just 26 miles from my hometown.

The story:

  • Brian Edler, the store owner, tinkers with recipes for his Dominoes stores.
  • He created a new product now called Parmesan Bread Bites.
  • He cooked up his bites for Dominoes execs in the Dominoes kitchens in Ann Arbor (MI).
  • They loved it! And, put it on the menu nationwide.
  • Then, they produced a “rollout” TV commercial featuring Brian and scenes around Findlay.  
What this story suggests for association management professionals

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Networking is a Lot Like Life

Guest Post: Dr. Christopher Kuehl (PhD) is a Managing Director of Armada Corporate Intelligence

Steve:  Three reasons for this post:
  • Many association management professionals as well as association members say “networking” represents one of the principle benefits of the organization. 
  • Today’s digital media platforms have expanded and enhanced networking. 
  • I’ve always admired (and tried to emulate) “connectors” – those colleagues, friends, acquaintances who have and use the ability to “link” strangers who have common interests. In fact, I recently organized a conference call to connect three strangers who I knew had a common interest. 
So, when I read Chris Kuehl’s column last week, I asked him for permission to use his thoughts on networking as a guest blog for SCDdaily. He said yes … so, here’s Chris Kuehl.

Pinterest for Association Management: An Alternative View

Last week, I posted 

Pinterest: 6 Potential Uses for Association Management Professionals


Today, I discovered this differing view.
Why Pinterest Is Not the Next Big Thing for Your Business (Association)

At least three key points emerge in this commentary:
  • The great learning from playing with Pinterest and even exploring ways to use it to help support your objectives is that you get to witness how important visual stimulation and social sharing is in the  grand scheme of attracting interest. 
  • The big message in all of this though is clarity of purpose. Until you’re clear on your marketing strategy every new tactic will sound like the next big thing. 
  • I would suggest you look into some other sites employing visual scanning and visual stimulation to actually make money. There may be greater learning to be had at sites like The FancyFab.comVisual.ly orPolyvore.
As I noted in my post, Pinterest offers there are some potential functions for audience building and member engagement.  As this DuctTape Marketing post notes, use Pinerest if it fits your overall strategies.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Research Shows Digital Media: The Must Use Tools for Associations and NonProfits

Mobile is transforming into a powerful commerce tool, facilitating consumer transactions and access to real-time information and deals. And, it will impact trade associations, professional societies and nonprofit charities as well.

As reported in USA Today, Nielsen and NM Incite released last week a new State of the Media: U.S. Digital Consumer Report.

The report offers some valuable information for association management professionals.

I’ve pulled what I view are the key elements for associations and nonprofit organizations. This information is important for your membership, marketing, communications and content management efforts.