The following is a transcript from a recent interview with Kylee Coffman, of DelCor Technology Solutions. Kylee is an association leader who is passionate about building member communities, user experience, content strategy, mobile, and the impact of emerging technologies on business. I was thrilled to speak to her in anticipation for this year’s ASAE Annual Conference August 9th!
Sarah Lugo: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s ASAE Annual Meeting?
Kylee Coffman: Seeing so many association friends and having a good time at the receptions! At Annual last year I was expecting my first baby and couldn’t enjoy the many receptions and vendor parties like I have in the past, where some of the best networking happens. It doesn’t hurt that Nashville has such incredible musical talent as well. This year I plan to make up for what I missed last year!
SL: In your opinion, what is going to be the hot topic(s) this year and why?
KC: I believe associations need to focus on innovations in communication. This is what many associations are struggling with at the moment.
2012 was the year of responsive design, 2013 was the year of big data, and 2014 is all about personalization. More and more associations are trying to build a user-focused online experience for their member in an effort to keep the member more active in the association and to surface the value of membership. Many associations collect a significant amount of data on their members, but aren’t using it to enhance the member experience. More associations want to find new ways to connect to their members so they aren’t so reliant on e-mail blasts. So many of us are overrun with e-mail these days and it’s only getting worse. The clients I meet with are asking for that “Amazon-like” website and want to be able to connect and appeal to their members on an individualized level. I think micro-marketing is getting a lot of attention right now.
SL: What do you think will be the technology focus this year at ASAE Annual 2014?
KC: Technology is really a part of everything that we do as association professionals these days. I believe many associations are still struggling with the technology advances of previous years, like moving their websites to a responsive, mobile-first environment, launching social media strategies and campaigns, analyzing if they should move to the cloud, and figuring out big data. It seems that several organizations I’ve been working with also have increasingly limited budgets, so they are really open to creatively reinterpreting staff operations.
SL: What advice would you give attendees who plan to hit the expo hall in search of a new technology solution?
KC: Go to the Expo Hall with a plan. What solutions or services do you need right now, which do you need to plan for in your upcoming budget cycle, and which do you just need to know more about? Make a plan to get several points of view on each topic by visiting different types of vendors with knowledge or offerings in those areas. But don’t be afraid to stray from your list – you never know where you might uncover your next great idea!
SL: ASAE Annual is arguably the best networking event of the year, but with so many people to see and things to do, how can association professionals best utilize their time?
KC: Annual is where everyone in the association world gets together once a year to share ideas and let loose. So much of what makes Annual special is the informal discussions that take place at the receptions, in the hallways between sessions, on the plane, and in the coffee line. Don’t wait until the plane ride to start building your schedule. The conversations begin now. Jump on Twitter #ASAE14 to start following the discussions early. Download the event app to start building your schedule. Follow the party lists being shared online. Think strategically about what new relationships you can form and who it is you would like to know. Perhaps it is someone you routinely see or engage with online, whether via Twitter, blog, Collaborate, etc., and make it a point to try and arrange some time with that person.
About ASAE Annual Conference
The ASAE Annual Conference is a highly attended event for association professionals and nonprofits. The three-day conference is in Nashville this year and will feature hundreds of learning and networking sessions. It is a great way for organizations to get new ideas, strategies, and answers.
Kylee writes for her blog, DigitalConfetti and has a live online show, DelCor Social Media Sweet Spot which covers technology topics pertaining to association, non-profit, and event planning communities. She is also an active volunteer with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and has served on the ASAE Technology Section Council, Small Association Social Media Task Force, Association of the Future (AOTF) project, and is a participating member in the Young Association Professionals (YAPstar) community.
Spirit Animal: I just did a Spirit Animal quiz online and it said I was a “Butterfly.” No joke.
Comfort object: Any stuffed animal of my daughter’s. Or just a video of her melts me.
Personal vice: Caffeine
Useless talent: I can do lots of eye tricks. My mom nicknamed me “Trick Eye”
Unreasonable paranoia: Being a mother has opened me up to all kinds of paranoid thinking. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to stop watching a lot of TV shows (like Walking Dead) because of the anxiety it causes me. I’m ready to bolt the house up and carry a baseball bat all night after watching that show. Yes, I’m now officially a BRAVO-loving wuss!
Wishes more people cared about: Human rights and global warming.
Want more interviews? check out our resources page for the Ask the Experts Series.
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