As a first-timer at ASAE’s Technology Conference I went in with the intention of learning as much as I could about the challenges association’s face and the innovative ways they address them. As a life-long marketer with a passion for emerging technologies, Tech was right up my alley! I came away with a wealth of knowledge and wanted to share just a little bit of what I thought was interesting as a marketer attending Tech for the first time.
What’s My MarTech Stack?
In “The Evolving Digital Transformation” session there was a slide shown that listed the most used technology platforms by associations. At the top of the list was email marketing, which is no big surprise. At the bottom of the list though, was marketing automation. And while I didn’t expect marketing automation to have universal adoption or even be close, it was a huge shock to me to realize that most association marketing staffs are not including a marketing automation platform in their MarTech Stack, especially with the role email marketing plays in the industry. I expect marketing automation to climb up the list of that presentation over the next year as associations understand the efficiency and effectiveness of automating the personalization and distribution of their huge email marketing strategies.
Data continues to be a focal point for leveraging technology in today’s marketing efforts and its role in the association industry was well represented at this year’s ASAE Tech. I can’t think of any instance where the impact of a marketing initiative cannot and should not be measured. As we say, “if you’re not measuring, you’re not marketing.” This year, Tech went deep into how associations are leveraging data for better member experiences with some great practical examples as well as sessions that went into the “how.”
Where’s the Mobile?
To be honest I was a little surprised that mobile did not appear in more presentations. While it may be old news that mobile is where your members are spending their time, there are relatively few associations leveraging this opportunity effectively. Matt Keowen of Guidebook did a great job of highlighting the importance of including mobile in your overall technology strategy and pointing out the lack of mobile planning in the industry in general in his presentation, “Transform your Organization with a Mobile Mindset.” Moving into 2017, I expect to see associations leveraging this platform in creative ways as ASAE and ADA have done in the past.
The Future Is Now!
Perhaps the most compelling presentation I sat in was the Futurist Lab, “Bots of the Future” given by AAOS about how their association is planning on leveraging Amazon’s Echo bot technology for their members. The ease with which you can speak a request and have your membership renewed was perhaps the most powerful look at what the very near future is going to bring as far as how AI will change the way people engage AGAIN. There are huge implications for marketing departments as they can leverage AI to break that “fourth wall” and literally be in a member’s home answering questions as they are asked in real time.
So Long, Silos
One final item that I found interesting was the positivity surrounding the changing relationships of IT departments with their organizations. As the rest of the world gets a little more tech savvy—and more millennials enter the workforce, I think we will see an infiltration of IT across departments. If the vibe at tech was any indicator, the walls between departments are already getting demolished to great positive impact within organizations.
In general, what I found most impactful throughout the sessions were the examples of technology deployed in real-life, practical applications. In sharing these examples, whether failures or successes, we can continue to innovate and inspire—creating invaluable experiences for members and customers alike.