Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reflections on Virtual Attendance And New Revenue Streams

(Thanks to Jeff De Cagna of Principled Innovation for the ribbon)

Anyone who reads this blog knows I'm obsessed with social media--I blog about it, use it constantly, even get paid to do it for a living. So of course I'm using it to stay on top of what's going on at ASAE's annual meeting in Toronto this weekend. Thankfully Twitter has been cooperating and has not sustained anymore denial-of-service attacks because I've been living vicariously through the tweets of ASAE's annual convention attendees.

ASAE did a great job with their online Hub--providing links to blogs, videos and attendee tweets. But equally responsible for enabling me to experience the event are the attendees--both those on-site and those also attending virtually. Weird to be able to get great takeaways from people who aren't even there? Maybe--but in this case the reality is that ASAE has some really smart, connected members who are adding a lot to the value of the official meeting content. Two great examples are Michael McCurry's great wrap up of Gary Hamel's keynote presentation and Dave Sabol's suggestions on how ASAE might make their engagement offerings even more robust.

I second Dave's suggestion that ASAE consider making more actual content available to virtual attendees. It's great that I'll be able to catch Jeff De Cagna's session "Associations Next: Serious Questions for 2010 And Beyond" via UStream...but that's courtesy of Jeff, not ASAE. Hopefully the fact that virtual attendees are actively participating in this event will pave the way for ASAE to explore new revenue models for future events via additional offerings for virtual attendees. A few ideas:

  • A virtual attendee rate that lets virtual attendees receive CEs.

  • The ability to make virtual appointments with exhibitors via the Hub's Online Connection Center. Surely exhibitors would pay more to be able to connect not only with physical attendees but untold numbers of virtual attendees interested in their products and services.

  • Some kind of affiliate program like SocialFish did with Buzz2009 where sponsors could pay ASAE extra in exchange for having ASAE tweet about those featured sponsors and/or have virtual attendees host ads on their blogs.

Ok, I'll stop now....but please feel free to add any of your own suggestions in the comments. In October I'm going to be facilitating a brown bag on new revenue streams so it's something I'm going to be doing a lot of thinking about.

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