Although it’s not ASAE’s biggest show of the year, its Membership Marketing and Communications (MM&C) Conference almost always ranks at the top of my list. For starters, the targeted attendance creates more opportunities to connect with and learn from different organizations. In addition, I find myself walking away with not only strategic inspiration, but also practical tips and tricks that can make everyday life better.

The keynotes were amazing! And there were also a lot of gems hidden in the individual sessions. Here are four of my favorite moments from this year’s event:

  • Find yourself in a conference full of marketing people and it’s inevitable: Content marketing will come up. One of the hottest trends seen in recent years, content marketing continues to be a topic that drives big crowds and meaningful conversation, and “Next-Gen Content Strategies for Associations” was no exception. Best takeaway? Understand that conversation is king – content is something to talk about, and curate the content that’s going to be the most meaningful to your members. Information is no longer a scarce resource; but focus, meaning, and wisdom remain in shorter supply.
  • As someone who just hosted a webinar that included the term newsjacking, I knew a session whose title started with “….and then the New York Times called” was well positioned to capture my attention! By keeping a laser focus on message, when the opportunity presented itself, the American Academy of Periodontology got its point of view out to the tune of 2,084,758,975 impressions, including mentions from NBC News, the Today Show, NPR, and The New York Times.
  • Today’s marketers are almost as obsessive about measuring their messages as they are about the messages themselves. But what should you actually be tracking? Aptify’s Dave Martin and Mike Skiados from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) not only shared “10 Marketing KPIs Every Association Should Be Measuring,” but Skiado outlined how his association worked within its engagement framework to provide a more meaningful picture of a member, based on his/her communications, activity, satisfaction, sentiment, and promotion.
  • Change can be hard, and “Tipping a Sacred Cow” can take a lot of guts. Attendees to this Nexus Direct session learned quick tips for identifying sacred cows that may pose a risk to their own organization. These sacred cows may represent too much of your income; or indicate your organization is on auto-pilot (we’ve always done it that way); is driven by ideology; or lacks transparent, clear benchmarks and/or KPIs.

Kudos to all the presenters for another year of remarkable content. If you’re interested in seeing what was discussed, handouts of the session are made available from ASAE here. I wonder what these thought leaders will be bringing to the table for annual in August …