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Xperience2014 is over. Now what? Everything!

by | Apr 10, 2014 | Industry News & Trends

It’s easy and more than a little tempting following a successful conference to spend just a little time patting yourself on the back. After all, we all like to celebrate our victories, especially when our customers (or members) are pleased with our efforts. You meeting planners out there know exactly what I am talking about

When you’re a company, or organization, with a 15-year history like, you can sometimes overlook the important moments while you rush on to the next big thing – moments that in retrospect are significant to your history. I think we will look back at Xperience2014, our first customer conference, and see it as a game changer for YM and, most importantly, for our customers.

There was more than a little excitement in the air going into Xperience2014 not only for the YM team, but for our attendees as well. The past year had been all about positive change and gaining momentum.  A number of people attending Xperience2014 were eager to share their feedback and best practices and they were REALLY looking for the chance to share those thoughts. We gave them those chances, and boy did they share. And it was a great thing!

You see, there are a number of companies, regardless of their type of business, who spout off that they are “interested” in what their customers think, what they value, and most important, what they need. In the end that sometimes boils down to little more than paying lip service.

One thing I have learned over the years of working with associations and other non-profit organizations is that there is a big difference between being interested in, and being committed to listening to and helping your customers. I believe the message conveyed throughout the conference is that we are very much committed to our customers’ needs and their continued success.

Having been a part of many users conferences prior to this one myself, it was exciting to see Xperience2014 sell out so quickly, and along with that, the high level of engagement between our staff and customers.

From a customer perspective, how valuable is it to be able to personally connect with the developers of the software that you use in your daily work? From the training workshops, to the one-on-one sessions with YM staff, to the thought leadership tracks, to the product development panel, the rooms were filled with folks taking advantage of every opportunity to learn and share with YourMembership and their peers.

And from our perspective, the chance to meet and sit down with our customers was valuable beyond measure. I know that we were all honored to have the opportunity to personally connect and work closely with our customers on how we move forward together, and still find time for great food, great views, and a lot of fun.

There were many great highlights throughout the conference, which had our social media channels buzzing. The opening session with YM President and COO, J.P. Guilbault and keynote speaker Christophe Morin gave everyone a lot to “think” about. One of my favorite stats from Christophe’s presentation is that “90 percent of what we are able to remember is information that is 10 years old.” Question of the day – does that mean we are all living in the past?

The second day keynote with Mike McKinley gave everyone a lot to laugh about, and then some! It was a sidesplitting 90 minutes that had everyone smiling as they headed to the morning educational tracks.

Our thought leadership team of Mary Byers, CAE; Elizabeth Engel, M.A., CAE; Willis Turner, CAE, CME, CSE; Shelly Alcorn, CAE, Kathie Pugaczewski, CAE, CMP; and Ben Martin, CAE, provided incredible insight into the world associations live in today, and where we should be headed in the future.

We shared, we learned, we laughed, we danced, we even played kazoos together – it was a fabulous week in the beautiful Florida sun.

So now the work continues as we set out as a company to improve the products and services we provide, to meet our customers’ current and future needs. The conversations that began during Xperience2014 will continue throughout the year, until we meet again in April 2015 for our next customer conference.

Take a moment and check out the great video recap of our week together in St. Pete. See you next year!


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