Ed Williamson
Ed Williamson
Society Marketing, Wiley

Andy Burman, CEO of the British Dietetic Association, frames why events like ACUK are so important “Association events are crucial to the association and society sector, providing insight into current trends, innovation and new ideas. There can be no complacency in our sector and, as an association CEO and an independent consultant, being part of innovation, and implementing change, is key to what our members and stakeholders expect. There is huge value in collaboration, joint learning and sharing experience. This is one of the most collaborative sectors to work in and I am constantly, pleasantly surprised by how common the themes are that we all face.”

ACUK15 is a place where you can do this. There was a fantastic buzz from over 100 societies, with 35 from the academic sector sharing successes to follow and failures to avoid. We are keen to be a part of this energetic, collective force to help mission driven organizations push forward their goals.

Societies and associations are based around members who have a common goal; their needs must be central to all operations. This was a point Anne Francke, CEO of Chartered Management Institute, made in her opening address. Davina Quarterman from Wiley followed on from this theme by presenting on the varied generations that make up society membership and how they differ. The findings come from Wiley’s membership survey of 14,000 respondents. See her slides for more on this talk:

please mind the age gap.PNG

Anne also made the point that you shouldn’t be afraid to be commercial, to use commercial language, techniques and practices where appropriate and to call revenue profit. Profit that goes back into your organization of course! Gavin Sharrock’s session on how to use content marketing and advertising to generate revenue followed this theme closely. As a learned society, you have a huge asset in the form of content. It can be used beyond your journal to produce revenue. Gavin offeredbest practices and led discussion. One of his points was to know how your different audience segments search for your content. Surgeons and diabetologists search for the same information in different ways. Surgeons tend to use a few carefully selected key words, they do this in the evening after their normal work day and want to read a very in depth article in long form. In contrast, diabetologists tend to search using a whole sentence between seeing patients and want short articles that outline the key details for them as quickly as possible. Malcom Perryman, Sponsorship and Affinity Manager, RICS responded,“I’ve been in advertising for 20 years and this was extremely thought provoking” See the Slideshare for more information on his talk.

Sharing your experience and knowledge with your peers at events like this helps all societies to move forward. You can look over the Wiley’s, as well as others’ slides at the Associations Network’s website: www.associationsnetwork.org/uk. We hope to see you at events like this in the future. And, lastly, happy holidays!