14 September 2012

Friday Top 5

I had the opportunity to head up to the wilds of Maryland for the Columbia Idea Swap this week (and thanks to Peggy Hoffman for inviting me).  My Top 5 Takeaways include:
  1. Big shout-out for cross generational mentoring: younger members can help older members with technology; older members can help younger members figure out how to navigate the profession/industry. We all *know* this, but how many associations actually *do* it?
  2. People still don't really understand the concept of viral. You can't *make* something go viral. Putting something on YouTube doesn't equal going viral. You can intentionally make a video with viral potential (my favorite example being The Pink Glove Dance, and how awesome is the janitor?), but I guarantee that a talking head board member explaining why she loves your annual conference is not going to cut it.
  3. Visual identity is critical. My spouse and I were talking more about this last night. He's a Cisco geek, and, as you might expect, gets a TON of information from Cisco. But each of their major initiatives has its own name, header, and color palette. So a quick glance can help him identify whether something is technical, educational, a critical update, FYI, etc. It requires enforcement and discipline on the part of the organization, but clear visual cues can make your members' interactions with you far simpler.
  4. Why are we still sending blast emails to unsegmented groups? We complain that members aren't paying attention. You know why? Our own bad behavior. We haven't earned their attention. Think about what you personally do and don't pay attention to. We send too much dull, undifferentiated information to people who don't care and aren't interested, and then we think 30% is a great open rate. Just stop.
  5. "I don't have time to do X - I'm only one person." If "X" is something that members want and that will really help them (for instance, not sending continuing "please register" messages to people who already have), we MUST stop making excuses and start doing the hard work of doing right by our members.


Moira said...

Isn't it a delicate balance between having different visual cues for different interactions, and having too much e.g. 25 microsites, all with their own URL, pushing some special topic without making it clear that this all comes from one forward thinking organization?

Elizabeth Engel said...

Moira, definitely, but the point is that some level of differentiation on key initiatives helps your audiences manage the flow of information you're sending them.