We are in uncharted waters. Most associations are struggling with the loss of a big chunk of revenue due to cancelled meetings and conventions.

Before Coronavirus, I was an evangelist for ‘Digital Transformation’. A stupid, scary-sounding phrase that simply put, means migrating your products and services online, in a format that works really well on a smartphone.

Before now, digital initiatives had to compete with the traditional business offerings for association resources. For many organizations, the uncertainty of the new medium was no match for the tried and true. Digital initiatives had to fight the antibodies of orthodoxy for table scraps.

Now all that has changed.

The traditional business model has been upended. For the foreseeable future, in-person meetings are over.

As a sailing instructor, if an ill wind rose, I taught my students that while you can’t change the wind, you can adjust your sails.

The value associations provide is still valuable. In fact, it’s more valuable now than ever before.

What has to change is how that value is delivered.

Your members are going to be increasingly starved for connection, community, and know-how.

This is your sweet spot!

That whole ‘digital transformation’ thing has just moved from important to mandatory.

How are you going to respond?

Are you going to batten down the hatches and hope this all blows over soon?

Or, are you going to start adjusting your sails by:

  • Redirecting the creativity of your meetings and convention team to think digitally;
  • Re-thinking exhibits, sponsorship and engagement for the new medium.
  • Standing up or beefing up your online community.
  • Defining new digital tools vital to your members’ ability to do their jobs.

Some might argue that virtual events and online communities can’t hold a candle to in-person meetings. That would be the view through yesterday’s lens.

Your audience is waiting…