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Conference and Trade Show Highlights

I just returned from my 3rd conference/trade show in 4 weeks. Others on my team attended 3 more that  during this same time. June is the busiest month of the year for conferences & trade shows---by far!

Two of the trade shows I attended were focused on membership associations: AMS Fest in Chicago and Society Street in London. As a showcase company at AMS Fest (AMS = Association Management System), we were given 2 opportunities to demonstrate our software to membership organizations shopping for an AMS. This is a great event---well-organized, effective, and informative. One of my favorite sessions was one where 3 experts from different consulting firms sat on a panel and fielded questions about how to implement a new AMS. They have decades of wisdom among them and can help a membership organization avoid the many pitfalls of a software implementation project. As a software developer who also provides the project management resources and methodology to implement our solutions, we have been through hundreds of implementation projects over the years. It is encouraging to hear expert consultants say the same things we do about what’s important, what’s not, and how to prioritize what ends up in scope for such a project.

Society Street in London was the first of its kind---a conference aimed at those who manage professional societies. AdvantageCS was one of just a few technology companies represented, and the day was focused on many aspects of running a society, such as membership, HR, legal and financial, and publication matters. The topics ranged from building a board of directors or trustees to overcoming “imposter syndrome,” which was a new one for me. I was given the opening slot of the day to present on how to use your systems to build a members-driven organisation.

The 3rd conference I attended, which was nestled in between the above two on the calendar, was IMAG, which is the independent magazine conference put on by the MPA---The Association of Magazine Media. I always enjoy this conference because it is a small group (under 100) and you can literally talk with everyone. Publishers in the magazine industry have been very innovative at finding new sources of revenue, re-purposing content, and increasing reader revenue. One of the topics that has emerged over the last couple of years is a move to a membership model. Many publishers feel that such a move could increase their retention. Consumers feel more inclined to renew if they are “members” than if they are just “subscribers.” At least, that’s the theory. As different types of publishers experiment with this model, we’ll see their results.

We at AdvantageCS love this trend, since we’ve developed capabilities for managing memberships. We already have one special-interest publishing client moving in this direction. If you are a magazine publisher, does it make sense for your subscribers to be “re-branded” as members? Would that alone increase retention?

Talk to us and we’ll work with you to test these ideas. That’s one of the most important value propositions of Advantage: test out new ideas for increasing revenue. We support so many different models that you might find a new one that works for your products.

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