360 Live Media
360 Live Media is an event strategy and digital marketing agency in Washington, D.C. serving association, professional society, and not-for-profit conferences.
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Do You Need A New Event?

Most of you reading this have events, conferences, annual meetings, and trade shows. You have a portfolio of “live media” that meets the needs of many of the constituents you represent.


The question is: what’s missing? Who isn’t represented within your current portfolio of events?


You know that 360 Live Media helps associations and professional societies conceive, design, and launch new events from the ground up. But you may not know one of the first questions we ask is: what’s missing? Usually, the answer is the right people—the audience (current or new) whose needs are not yet being met by your event.


So why not just improve your existing event? Why not bolt-on a “wing” or a new addition to your event in the same way you would add a new bathroom or sun porch to your house? In some cases you can. But more often than not, the existing house just wasn’t built to be drastically expanded, and it becomes clear that it’s time to move to a new house—a new environment, a new positioning, and a new start.


Here are four reasons to consider designing and launching a new event.


1. The new audience you want to reach wants something your current events can’t deliver. A platform for advocacy, a new forum for topics unique to a subset of your core audience, or a totally new experience like the one ASAE created with XDP.


2. The positioning, brand, and reputation of your current events will never attract a segment of your audience. Line extensions are well-known in the auto industry. Every manufacturer has to have an SUV, even Lamborghini and Bentley now offer an SUV to attract new segments of their loyal customer base. They want to maximize “share of garage” and keep Porsche and Mercedes out.


3. The costs and existing model for your current events present a high barrier for reinvention. Often, a new event can be a fresh start and offer new alternatives that don’t rely on your current event platform. Use a new event to test new, non-traditional locations like an outdoor space, a rooftop, or a converted warehouse. Try new mobile registration technology and new learning methodologies like hackathons.


4. A new event allows you to pilot, test, learn, fail, fix, and perfect new approaches with less risk than tweaking your current golden goose, mega-meeting. Once a new event is successful and standing on its own you can also consider co-locating and amortizing costs down the road.


Most organizations don’t have an agile, rapid-cycle prototyping process to evaluate new ideas, new concepts, and new events. However, now is a good time to think differently about who you can serve with a new event and a different live platform to engage and inspire those segments of your audience that will just never come to your traditional events.


In my experience, the majority of association and society members (and, of equal importance, non-members) don’t attend events. In fact, association and society event market shares are typically less than 20%.


Find out what that other 80% are looking for and then decide if you can deliver for them. Better it’s you than a competitor who’s thinking about serving them before you do.


What’s standing in your way?

Don Neal Headshot

A marketing thought leader, speaker, teacher, and advisor, Don Neal brings his Madison Avenue experience to help organizations see their opportunities in a new light. He is passionate about helping organizations accelerate the trajectory of their success.

Don Neal
Founder & CEO
360 Live Media

Top Resources

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Discover how you can deliver more value to your members with this essential thought piece for association executives.