Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

November 24 2015

How One Meeting Professional Is Preparing For The Digital Future

PCMA



As a creative director at Calgary-based Details Convention & Event Management, Niesa Silzer has spent the past 10 years designing compelling face-to-face experiences for a wide range of associations, corporations and government groups. Now, those organizations are starting to come to the table with some new questions.

“Many of our clients are beginning to ask how they can use the content after the meeting is over,” Silzer says. “Instead of just bringing in a speaker for an hour, they’re recognizing that they can get more value from their investment and expand their reaches with webinars and on-demand resources.”

“Digital events and digital education offerings are becoming more and more relevant to our clients,” Silzer adds. “They’re not all necessarily using us for it yet, but it’s important for me to have the knowledge.”

To make sure she is staying ahead of the curve, Silzer recently applied for and won the DES scholarship sponsored by Meetings + Conventions Calgary. She immersed herself in the digital landscape to learn about everything from attendee engagement strategies to securing sponsorships to content development.

“The program reminded me that a digital event requires a lot of additional work,” Silzer says.

Some meeting professionals may believe that incorporating a digital component is just one more item on a to-do list, but Silzer says that approach can lead to trouble. “You have to look at this like two programs,” Silzer says. “You have to put as much effort into the virtual experience as you’re placing in the face-to-face portion.”

Silzer believes the DES next to her name will play an important role in helping her offer more standalone services to prospective clients. “Digital events is prime for outsourcing,” Silzer says. “For a client who wants to handle the face-to-face logistics, we can now manage the digital strategy.”

That management is critical for any organization looking to explore the digital landscape. Silzer references a friend who recently attended a virtual conference that was, by all accounts, a failure.

“The organization actually refunded all the attendees,” Silzer says. “It was further proof that if you’re going to do digital, you have to do it right.”

Interested in learning how your digital strategy stacks up against the rest of the meetings industry? Click here for the VEI Digital Event Benchmark Report.

This educational article was sponsored by Meetings + Conventions Calgary. As the meetings industry continues to evolve, Meetings + Conventions Calgary is playing a critical role in the process of connecting planners with the essential resources and tools to stay ahead of the curve such as the DES Scholarship program.

“Being receptive to change and trying new things are key attributes to our aspirations of proving strong leadership,” Heather Lundy, Director, Marketing and Communications, Meetings + Conventions Calgary, says. “Innovation is fundamental to PCMA’s success and also correlates very closely with Calgary’s energy and passion for technology and the evolution of the online experience.”

To learn more about what makes Calgary a hub for innovation, click here.

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