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Associations gain insight from feedback sessions

On May 1, three events industry associations, ASAE, IAEE and PCMA, released findings from collaborative feedback sessions collected from bXb Online in its efforts to develop a centralized network of aggregated content. The design of the Network model has brought the three associations together to position the event industry as the leader in aggregating educational content. Representatives from these organizations shared their own associations’ successes and failures in hybrid event strategies and experiences with their members.


During the 2012 PCMA Annual Meeting held on January 9, 2012, the three associations and the Virtual Edge Institute (VEI) announced collaboration with bXb Online toward building a model for one online destination (Network) of aggregated live and on-demand content for the business-to-business marketplace. The introduction of the Network model included an open call for feedback from the events industry.

While a variety of mechanisms were utilized to collect feedback from stakeholders, the primary means for bXb’s feedback since January’s announcement have included two feedback forums initiated jointly by ASAE, IAEE and PCMA. More information relative to the forums and the respective findings are furnished in a white paper at bxbonline.com.

“Candidly, we’re thrilled to see this kind of interaction and feedback from every aspect of the events community,” said Dave Olender, COO, bXb Online. “We are highly encouraged and energized by the constructive and positive direction across the board, along with the spirit of improving the industry as we know it today.”

Early indications from collective research suggest that bXb is on the right path in its vision and development of the Network. The Network is driving alignment amongst industry organizations today, and that reality alone is viewed as a needed and productive outcome. Further, associations working within respective channels will be motivated to offer the very best content available within their respective industries. Obstacles toward creation of association content development strategy thus far include: lack of time and budget resources and no clear ownership within the organization for content strategy and management.

The Network will motivate association executives to create a structure for ownership of content strategy and management within their respective organizations. The Network can potentially create new markets and a wider audience for associations with an increased subscriber base and respective revenues that will follow. Content owners/associations continue to own their content. Data generated as a result of that content on the Network can drive new value to those same associations and the Network. The Network offers a whole new level of distribution. Aggregated content from other associations and media companies will create an environment for stronger content.

The majority of the content within the Network will originate from face-to-face events. The industry channels will be the primary structural component of the Network, so professionals can easily join a relevant online community in their respective channels as well as search and find the best content and community available in their discipline or area of interest.

After collecting the initial round of hybrid and online event content in charter industry channels, the Network will launch in the fall of 2012, delivering a valuable resource to a global audience.  bXb has received substantive strategic advice, support and industry-wide collaboration from a variety of industry sectors from automotive and healthcare to technology and food.

“HIMSS embraced hybrid events early on and has a dedicated team in place to manage online extensions of educational offerings and community experience,” said Steven Lieber, president and CEO, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). “As one of the trailblazers, we learned from the experience and we see the industry going in this direction as a very positive step.”

While it was recognized that larger organizations with more robust budgets have in general been early adopters for hosting hybrid events and furnishing online content, feedback from association executives within every stage of adoption of hybrid events was taken into consideration.

“ACCP is in the midst of evaluation of its online events strategy,” said Paul Markowski, CEO, American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). “After the discussion around the Network, I realized that we need to get all of our internal stakeholders together to deconstruct our online events strategy in order to move forward effectively.”

Feedback will continue to be gathered from the industry via additional forums. The next face-to-face feedback forum will be held during the IAEE Mid-Year Meeting May 30 – June 1, 2012, in Washington, D.C. Details will be available as the event draws closer.

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