Money & Business

3 Money And Business Ideas From ASAE’s Technology Conference

By / Dec 17, 2015 (Sergey Nivens/ThinkStock)

Couldn’t make it to ASAE’s Technology Conference and Expo? Here’s a look at several ideas shared by session speakers.

This week’s 10th annual ASAE Technology Conference and Expo featured a variety of tech-related education and networking opportunities, and with five distinct pathways, including leadership and strategy, disrupters, and marcomm and technology, association professionals with a role or interest in technology had plenty to choose from.

Here’s a look at three money- and business-related takeaways from the conference:

When revamping your web content strategy, do your research. This may seem obvious, but when faced with the overwhelming task of redesigning your organization’s website, strategy can sometimes get mired in the shuffle.

“This is a huge project, so it’s something that requires you to have well-defined goals,” said Ann Marie Munson, vice president of marketing and member services at the American Chiropractic Association, which recently underwent a website overhaul, during the “Formulating a Web Content Strategy” session on Tuesday. ACA, for example, had a goal of not only creating a more functional website but also ensuring that the site was dynamic and up to date for the long haul, which required a careful analysis of present and future budget constraints.

Thorough research and planning that involves a data-backed strategy can also help you make your case when asking leadership for funding, Munson said. “We have a board that’s really active and takes its fiduciary responsibility very seriously. They had gone through an upgrade seven years prior, and they had put a lot of money in this system, and it did not meet their expectations.”

Munson and her team knew that they’d have to be prepared to explain to the board what would be different this time. “So we did our research,” Munson said. “We knew we had to make a strong argument.”

Consider the power of empathy when designing your website. Put yourself in your users’ shoes when designing your organization’s online calling card, said Jared Schwartz, vice president of strategy and innovation at Beaconfire RedEngine, during the session “UX Mind Games.”

Schwartz outlined several ways to do this. One is to consider the power of internal triggers that innately get people to act. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have this figured out. Those networks don’t have to send you daily reminders to share your photos, Schwartz said. “What they’ve done is trained you over time. They’ve got you addicted.”

So every time you share a photo online and you’ve gotten a like, that positive reinforcement encourages you to share more to get similar feedback. “No one’s telling you to do this, but you feel this need inside of you,” Schwartz said.

While associations aren’t Facebook and Instagram, Schwartz said they can still consider and take advantage of members’ internal triggers—those instances where they are going to get something back every time they interact with your site, such as registering for conferences—“because that’s what gets them to come back again and again and again.”

Embrace big data. It is 1,000 times as influential as the internet, said opening general session speaker and former journalist Rick Smolan, author of The Human Face of Data.

“Most of us attending this conference are exposed to enough information in one day than our ancestors were exposed to in their entire lifetimes,” Smolan told the audience. That fact presents a significant opportunity to push the limits of creativity and use data to solve problems, develop new products and services, and much more.

And that’s exactly what Smolan and his team of journalists, designers, and programmers found while researching The Human Face of Data. They discovered aid workers using big data, in the form of high-resolution satellite maps, to help stamp out the polio virus in Nigeria. They also discovered a team of volunteer crisis mappers who used social media, specifically live tweets, after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to help direct relief workers so they could more efficiently deliver medicine, water, and other resources to survivors. And they found scientists who are using data-collection sensors placed on animals to discover more about the natural world.

Mining and using data in these ways is like suddenly viewing the world with both eyes open after having lived with one eye shut your whole life, Smolan said. The data has been sitting right in front of you, “but with another eye, you’re seeing it in an entirely different way.”

Did you attend ASAE’s Technology Conference and Expo? Please share your insights in the comments.

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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