As 2019 draws to a close, a brief look backwards reassures me that we have continued to grow and develop IABM to better serve our members over the last year – more extensive business intelligence, event participation and networking opportunities, a new BaM Shop Window™, achieving wide acceptance for our new industry model in the BaM Content Chain®, launching the Technology and Trends Roadmap© and introducing the BaM Content Chain Maturity™ model to mention just some of the things we have done to make IABM work harder for our members.
Changing times means time for change
Looking forward, however, the words of Rasmus Ankersen from his keynote speech at our 2016 annual conference still ring in my ears – “If it’s not broken, consider breaking it”. In these times of tumultuous change, that advice is ever more sage: whatever industry you are in, change has become a fact of everyone’s life. Complacency is too often a precursor of failure. I have written elsewhere in this issue on how Business Transformation is essential if our members, and the wider industry as well, are to survive and thrive. The same advice applies equally to IABM of course. So, we have taken a long, hard look at IABM’s core mission in the light of everything we’re doing, and the result is an ambitious program for the coming year that will align the association’s activities even more closely to its core purpose.
IABM is of course owned by its members and exists purely to serve their needs and interests. While we spend a lot of time talking with many of our members, we want to make absolutely sure we are concentrating our resources on all of their main concerns. That’s why we have embarked on a detailed member survey to further deepen our understanding of all our members’ requirements and priorities and find out how we can serve them even better over the coming year and beyond. When the project is complete in the New Year, we will be using its findings to further inform our 2020 plan.
In the meantime, 2020 waits for no one, and we have formulated and presented an ambitious plan to the Members’ Board for our planned 2020 activities, which I have outlined below.
I have already mentioned the member survey; beyond this, we are committed to engaging strategically with all our members on a continual basis. During the latter half of 2019, our Head of Marketing, Lisa Collins, has been in touch with more than half of our membership to talk through their engagement with their association and ensure that they are getting the very most out of their membership. It quickly became clear that this was immensely productive – not only for IABM in better understanding their requirements, but also in highlighting services and opportunities that some members had not been either aware of or leveraging fully.
As a result, we have now appointed Lisa to the role of Head of Member Engagement, and she will continue to interact with all our members on a full-time basis to ensure they are getting the very most out of their IABM membership. We will recruit someone to take on Lisa’s former marketing responsibilities and enhance our data management capabilities to enable Lisa to fully tap into the wealth of data we gather to ensure each member gets what they need. The result will be an enhanced membership experience and increased level of engagement both ways.
Sharing our knowledge
The Knowledge Hub on our website has grown into a superb source of information with a fantastic breadth of written and video resources. It includes literally hundreds of on-point videos – technology presentations, panel debates, future trends theatre presentations and much more – alongside educational content, white papers and business intelligence reports, slide decks and presentations. Our Knowledge Hub content is key to being successful in supporting members and informing the wider industry.
The challenge we are addressing is to make this easily discoverable by organizing and categorizing it and giving users the ability to create their own paths based around their individual interests. To enable this, we are recruiting for a new role – Head of Knowledge, who we hope will soon be in place, working alongside our digital experts, Ben Dales and Joe Mace.
Training and CPD
In times of constant change, there is an even greater need for training and CPD to keep staff current with the latest developments and thinking in our fast-moving industry. The Head of Knowledge will also have responsibility for our significant training offer, and enable IABM to become a training aggregator – to position us as the go-to place to find training content. Our newly announced knowledge sharing initiative with SMPTE is the first step in this direction.
Effective and active in all regions Our Regional Members’ Councils have proved to be effective in addressing regional issues and increasing member engagement. In 2020 we are looking to extend the concept of regional support much further with more localized regional groups to more accurately serve unique local needs. Led by Darren Whitehead, this will take several years to fully achieve, but based on the success of the locally-focused DACH and UK Members’ Councils, the results should be very worthwhile. Key to this initiative will be the recruitment of new IABM staff with strong experience in each region, and we are actively seeking such people to move forward with more regional emphasis.
An essential element in supporting IABM members is having a full picture of, and engagement with, all sides of the market. The Global Engaged Partner (GEP) program we launched in the latter part of 2019 is beginning this process. We are inviting end-users into the IABM community and offering them access to some IABM resources in exchange for their knowledge and engagement. This is ultimately a win-win for everyone: IABM members get a closer understanding of the challenges our customers face as well as the opportunity to build new relationships; the GEPs in turn get the opportunity to tell suppliers what they need and discover new partners. We will be driving this program forward throughout 2020.
We are also committed to reinforcing IABM’s role as an advisor to our members on a much wider range of sector activities and events. We intend to achieve this by commissioning our Events Manager, Dom Louks, to lead analysis and reporting on these, covering important attributes such as market covered, visitor numbers/demographics, costs, ROI expectations and growth potential. This will continue alongside our existing Exhibitions Task Group operations, and should provide members with useful information to help them decide whether to invest time and resources in participating.
Talking of events, we are also looking to expand the number of shows around the world with which we cooperate (and so deliver extra benefits to members) – expect several announcements over the coming months.
Last but by no means least, we will enhance our investment in our world-class Business Intelligence Unit, led by Lorenzo Zanni, which continues to provide more and more high quality, actionable research in addition to its traditional output. The NAB and IBC Special Reports are excellent examples of this, together with the recent much-enhanced Buying Trends Report.