What Would You Do in a Crisis?

Edward Segal, CAE, contributed today’s post. He helps publishers and associations generate publicity about their events and activities.

How would you handle these scenarios?

  • Hackers have taken control of your organization’s website, posting content on the home page and stealing confidential data about customers. If you do not pay a ransom within 24-hours, they threaten to release to the public embarrassing and damaging information from the hacked computer files.

  • Several female employees allege that a member of your board of directors has sexually assaulted them. Other women had filed similar charges against the same board member over the past five years.

  • As you listen to the radio during your drive home after a long day at work, there is a news bulletin that a gunman has killed at least nine people at your trade show.

  • These and scores of other worst-case crisis scenarios can be more than hypothetical events. They can turn into real “Oh, my God!” moments that, if not properly and effectively managed, will threaten the image, reputation and brand of your organization; put your organization at legal risk; and jeopardize your bottom line.

    Here are some key questions to consider about your risk and exposure to a crisis:

    Are you in denial? The Crisis Hall of Fame is filled with those who were faced with unexpected natural disasters (the recent hurricanes in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico or the wildfires in California), human caused tragedies (the shootings in Las Vegas, Orlando, and San Bernardino); hacked customer files (Equifax, Yahoo, and Anthem health insurance), and customer-service fiascos (pick a major airline), to name just a few. Think it can’t happen to you or that you have plenty of time to prepare later? Think again.

    Are you really ready? Have you done everything possible to ensure you are prepared for when a crisis hits? The multi-billion dollar MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, had to hire an outside public relations firms to help manage the aftermath of the recent shootings there.
    If an international conglomerate needs help in a crisis, what message does that send about your own readiness?

    Do you assume too much? Don’t think that an emergency won’t happen after business hours, on the weekend or a holiday, or when you and other key players are out of town, on vacation, sick, or inaccessible.
    What others assumptions do you or your team have that would make it harder to respond to and manage an emergency?

    What can you learn from others?
    With all-too-many examples in the news to choose from, study the good, the bad, and ugly ways others have responded to and managed their crisis. It’s obviously better to learn from the mistakes of others than to make the same mistakes on your own.

    What are you waiting for? Given the obvious importance of properly preparing for a crisis that could throw your organization into turmoil or a tail spin, why wait until it’s too late?

    Edward Segal is a crisis management and communications expert, PR consultant, spokesperson, trainer and former CEO and communications director of trade associations. Edward offers a one-day crisis management workshop he can bring to your organization. Reach him through his website at www.PublicRelations.com.

    Event Marketers Missing Out, Cvent Study Shows

    Ray Schultz, writing for Mediapost, surfaced the most arresting—and actionable—findings of a new study by Cvent. His article appears below in its entirety.

    Email is the most used channel in event marketing—almost all attendees receive it before conferences. And it is important in post-event follow-up. But the targeting may suffer because of the difficulty of collecting data, judging by a study by Cvent.

    Of 406 event professionals surveyed, 75% feel they are not up to speed on integrating a wide range of data to build attendee profiles.

    That said, 81% believe that it is important to integrate data from conference attendees’ physical and digital footprints. Yet only 20% feel their organizations are extremely or very good at this.

    And only 29% think they are extremely or very effective at basic data collection, with 23% who believe they are good at using it. Finally, 38% understand what their attendees are doing onsite.

    Prior to events, “attendees mainly see email from event organizers and visit event websites prior to attending,” the study notes. Email is first on the list, with 94% receiving pre-event messages, and 77% visiting websites. Mobile apps, used by 30%, are a very distant third. A mere 15% receive SMS messages. And the event world has barely touched virtual or augmented reality.

    What information do they ask for prior to events?

    Of those polled, 88% request full contact information. In addition, 61% ask for the industry sector, 36% the product or service interest, and 35% their decision-making level.

    That’s not precisely what they get. The study found that 86% of attendees give full contact information, and 43% their product needs or wants. This is based on a separate survey of 200 event-goers. In addition, 42% supply their decision-making level. Finally, 38% reveal their session picks and 32% reveal their interest in attending other events

    On-site, 70% collect registration data and 50% gather session attendance. Plus, 46% collect session ratings and feedback, and 42% conduct surveys.

    After the event, 83% go for overall event feedback, and 51% for interest in future events. And 42% ask for product and service interest.

    How long does it take to market an event? Over half say their window is under four months.

    Email is the primary channel in the follow-up process, with 66% conducting post-event email surveys. In contrast, 38% track social media posts or engagement activity. And 37% respond to sales inquiries tied to the event

    “Email remains the preferred source of business communication,” says Brad Gillespie, vice president of enterprise marketing at Cvent.

    He adds, “For marketers, the email address is the identifier that we use to associate the contact with communications across other channels, therefore obtaining a person’s email address and maintaining the accuracy of that record is essential.”

    Gillespie continue, “For events, marketers rely on email at every stage of the event lifecycle for communication, and the biggest opportunity for event pros today is keeping the conversation going post-event. The post-event survey, usually delivered via email, is the first step in this process but there are many others. Sellers and marketers alike depend on email to reach attendees with post-event follow-up and related updates.”

    Post-event data is utilized in planning future events by 74%, and overall event measurement and ROI analysis by 64%. In addition, 62% use it when marketing future events, with the same percentage for post-event communications

    Over two-thirds of the respondents say they believe in integrating attendee data with their CRM systems, and a similar percentage scores high on integrating event data with social media.

    Running on Empty

    Most nonprofits are running on empty, according to a new survey by BDO.

    Forty percent have less than six months' reserves; thirteen percent have none.

    The financial picture's worse among small nonprofits (those with annual revenue under $25 million).

    Loss of revenue can cripple a nonprofit. That's why BDO recommends keeping liquid reserves for at least six months.

    Executive directors and board members in a bind over money have a clear choice: they can hide their heads in the sand, or take action now to bolster income and reserves.

    The economy's rolling, but the joyride can't last forever.

    Pick up the phone an call a few revenue-generation experts today.

    Associations' "New Normal" is Suddenly Clear

    You probably wonder what your association's "new normal" is.

    We have detected the answer.

  • Community is the new normal.

  • Community is your value proposition for the 21st century.

  • And your events are the gateway.

  • But most associations are marketing their events based on a 20th century model.

    It's not their fault: it's the result of marketers' and event planners' training, which is 30 years out of date.

    If you'd like to learn how to extract more non-dues revenue from your events—and make them more relevant and viable—please get in touch today.

    We have something you'll want to read, Growing Your Event: 10 Magic Bullets for 2018.

    Go here for your free copy.

    Because repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results has to stop!

    It's 2017, not 1987.

    Become a Thought Leader

    Edward Segal, CAE, contributed today’s post. He helps associations generate publicity about their events and activities.

    Becoming a thought leader can pay important dividends for you and your organization. It can help draw favorable attention to your organization and its products and services; create or reinforce your image and reputation; and help increase your bottom line.

    Here are five steps you can take to become a thought leader in your industry, profession, or in the eyes of the general public.

    Be an expert

    • Select topics or issues about which you have knowledge.

    • Have or develop a track record of writing or speaking about your topics or issues to groups and organizations in the industries or professions in which you want to be considered a thought leader.

    • Stay ahead of the curve by thinking about your field beyond today and sharing predictions or forecasts that illustrate your authority in the field.

    Be a joiner

    • Join or lead groups and organizations that are more likely to help establish your role as a thought leader.

    • Volunteer to serve on committees or task forces that can bolster your expertise and add to your credentials as an authority.

    Be visible

    • Identify, create and take advantage of appropriate opportunities for you to be seen as an expert or authority, including speeches, presentations, and media, blog, and podcast interviews.

    • Post on your website or social media platforms links to articles, interviews, speeches, etc., that you have done about your areas of specialty.

    • Practice your ability to prepare and deliver short, pithy and memorable quotes that will be used by journalists and bloggers in their stories about or interviews with you.

    Be a student

    • Keep current on the trends and developments in the areas in which you are or want to be considered an authority.

    • Study other thought leaders inside and outside your industry or profession. What can you learn from their successes that you can apply to your own efforts to become or stay a thought leader?

    Be persistent

    • Identify or create new opportunities to position yourself as an authority and expert.

    • Maintain a blog to which you post on a regular basis, and install a widget so that people can be notified about each new post.

    • Reinforce your role as a thought leader in ways that you have not done before, such as writing a book, starting a blog, becoming a public speaker, or proactively seeking media interviews and speaking opportunities.

    • Set monthly, quarterly or annual goals and milestones of important activities and accomplishments that can help you become and remain a thought leader.

    • Becoming a thought leader can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you act like you are a thought leader, the more likely it is you will become one.

    Edward Segal works with clients to help them stand out from the crowd by creating and taking advantage of PR opportunities; attracting the interest of the media; generating publicity about their activities and accomplishments; writing attention-getting op-eds and other press materials; and coaching them on how to deal with reporters, deliver successful presentations, and make memorable presentations. He is the former CEO of the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of REALTORS® and Communications Director and CEO of the Marin County Association of REALTORS®. He is also the author of two PR handbooks including Getting Your 15 Minutes of Fame and Profit by Publicity , and a contributing editor for Present with Power, Punch and Pizzazz. Reach Edward at edwardsegalcommunications@gmail.com.