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Would You Try This Crazy Approach to Event Marketing?

Sep 11, 2018

Here is the ultimate measure of association event success:

You offer free registration to your next conference or workshop. After the event, you ask attendees to pay what they believe is fair, based on the value they received—and that number could be $0. Ultimately, you exceed revenue expectations.

Sound like an insane stunt? The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) recently rolled out that exact “free in advance, pay later” model for their  Experience Design Project (XDP), which is slated for April 2019. Attendees at ASAE’s annual convention in August could register for XDP simply by having their badges scanned. A few of us here at The Markens Group signed up, and we’re excited to see how this unconventional approach plays out.

XDP is described as a “creative, collaborative proving ground” where association professionals will work together to create better experiences for event audiences. It’s a new, unconventional event, so this unconventional event-marketing strategy works.

Even if you would never consider this bold approach for your own organization, you may want to use it as a thought exercise.

Ask yourself: If attendees paid based solely on the value they received, would you hit your revenue numbers?

If you have doubts, now is your opportunity to revamp your event: change the format, add new programs, incorporate different networking opportunities. Whatever you do, aim to wow, inspire, educate, and engage.

To try this crazy marketing approach, ASAE clearly believes in the value of their product. If you can say without a doubt that your association offers value-packed events that people will pay for, you’re in a pretty good place. And if you’re not quite there yet, our event managers and marketing strategists can help. Feel free to give us a shout!

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