We propose a Golden Triangle of Conference Marketing: WHY is in the center. And your Brand is at the top, with your Strategic Plan and Conference on either side. Your brand, your strategic plan, and the essence of the conference are all elements of HOW you do what you do. Outside the triangle lies the WHAT stuff: the deliverables, like social media, apps, the registration brochures, e-newsletters, save-the-date, report to members, and other tangibles.
But all of it must start with WHY your association exists. And it all must be aligned. However, we find that it hardly ever is. For example, if a key driver of your strategic plan is to elicit member feedback, but you only look at the composite scores on surveys and don’t take the time to read the comments, WHAT you’re doing isn’t aligned with HOW you say you are doing it (and the WHY is usually lost altogether).
We can break this down one step further for your conference: WHY is still the foundation and the WHAT things are still the deliverables, but HOW becomes the conference theme. A conference theme that starts with WHY is inspired by the very belief that holds the association together—not by the location or the venue or the time of year. Instead of a clever pun that could work for any association in any given year, your conference theme should spring from something deeper and more fundamental. Your conference theme can become like a rallying cry… or it can be yet one more empty promise. The conference theme holds tremendous potential. But so often, it’s wasted.
We hope you find these tips inspiring for your next conference, and until next time keep a look out for clue #2!-The Lone Marketer
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