Last year, PCMA’s education team wanted to find a way to overhaul its traditional call-for- papers process — which typically had led to a large number of submissions, but only a 15-percent acceptance rate — for its annual Convening Leaders conference. The Convening Leaders 2017 Content Committee first identified several topics across a handful of different areas to include in the programming, including corporate meetings, business development, medical meetings, and event technology. PCMA then set up a site, Submit Your Story, and collected case studies from PCMA members that aligned with the topics the committee had selected. In this effort, they were greatly helped by partnering with CadmiumCD and using its Abstract Scorecard function.
“What’s been most beneficial” about the Abstract Scorecard, said PCMA Education Program Manager Kara Brockman, “is we’ve received submissions that are more in line with what we were looking for. We put in a filter for the selected topics so that anybody who submitted a story had to first align that story with a topic the committee identified as being among the most prominent issues in the events industry right now.”
PCMA received nearly 50 submissions for Convening Leaders 2017 when they launched the program last year. This year, they received more than twice that number for Convening Leaders 2018 — so many strong submissions, in fact, that they had to limit how many they accepted not on the basis of their quality but entirely on how many were needed to fill the educational program slots.
PCMA also uses CadmiumCD’s Education Harvester at Convening Leaders, which acts as a resource center for presenters. Using the tool, speakers can upload presentations, sign off on forms, and communicate with event organizers, which Brockman said has been working very well. “Cadmium has been very flexible and very responsive,” she added. “They’ve been a great company to work with.”
That sentiment is echoed by other PCMA members who are CadmiumCD clients themselves. About 10 years ago, Teresa Eyet, senior director of conference programming and educational development at the American Health Care Association (AHCA), wanted attendees to get more out of her meetings.
“I was realizing we weren’t getting all of the value we needed or could get out of our content,” Eyet told PCMA. “People came to our conference and plugged into the session, but afterwards they went home. I wanted to figure out how they could stay connected,” she said, before, during and after their events.
She incorporated CadmiumCD’s event software solutions in her conference program and attendees immediately noticed a difference. The first change was making handouts available online. “The response was great,” Eyet said. “We used to do print handouts, and you came home with way more paper than you ever wanted to carry around in a suitcase, and now we have them all online. It was a positive environmental impact as well a convenience for attendees.”
Today, AHCA continues to work with CadmiumCD on five events a year, including its annual meeting, which attracts around 5,000 people, including attendees and exhibitors. Using CadmiumCD’s offerings — everything from providing exhibitors with an interactive floor map to making event sessions available online post-event — has met Eyet’s goal of enhancing AHCA’s value on site and beyond its convention. “Now we offer what’s called a premium package,” she said, “where not only does every person have access to the app and handouts, but you can view webinars and get CEUs for sessions that you couldn’t attend on site.” The premium package brought in an additional $140,000 in revenue for AHCA.
Eyet also gives CadmiumCD’s speaker portal rave reviews. “I love it and my speaking faculty love it,” she said. “Through Education Harvester, I’m able to email the speakers and collect all of their data, and they can use it to upload PowerPoint presentations.”
But it’s not just CadmiumCD’s technology that’s made her a loyal customer. It’s also the company’s people, who, she said, “have the patience of saints. They come on site with me and they set up all my rooms to record stuff for the premium package. They also send two people to man the app help desk.”
And then there’s CadmiumCD’s flexibility, part of its corporate culture appreciated by both Brockman and Eyet. “I love the fact that they are open to innovation with us,” Eyet said. “We worked with a vendor several year ago, who if you had a suggestion to change functionality, the answer was always ‘No.’ Cadmium says, ‘Okay, great! We’re going to add that to our development list.’”