Attending ASAE’s MM&C (Marketing Membership Communication) Conference is always interesting. As the Vice Chair of ASAE’s Communication Section Council, I always pay attention to the perception of communication and it always amazes me that it is always the red-haired stepchild when compared to the sexier “marketing.” This year was no exception: the key note speaker delivered a talk on content and discussed “story telling” and being “audience-centric”: not once did she utter the word “communication.” I’m not quite sure how the concept of content migrated away from communication and is, more or less, owned by marketing.
However, let’s never forget the difference between perception and reality: as much as communication may play second fiddle, 200 attendees packed into my session, “The Evolving Role of Communications in Associations.” Of course, I was blessed with a fine ensemble:
- Bill Cramer, Communications Director,International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association
- Addy Kujawa, Executive Director, American Association of Orthopaedic Executives
- Amy Goldenberg, PhD, Managing Editor, Anthropology News, American Anthropological Association
- Gwen Fortune-Blakely, Director, Enterprise-wide Marketing, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Upon polling the audience at the start of the session (polling is essential and very few content leaders do it) I was amazed to discover:
- 1/3 of audience had been in communication under 5 years; 1/3 for 5 to 15; and the remaining third for more than 15.
- Half the attendees considered themselves generalists, half specialists.
The word cloud above captures the tactical work that communications professional in associations perform.
Next post I’ll cover a bit of our session’s content. In the meantime, happily, ASAE provided attendees with a really fierce recap PDF. Feel free to read it. It’s just about the best of its kind I have ever seen!