Should I take my event virtual?

virtual event

Cost savings is only one aspect of taking a physical event virtual. With today's “On Demand” consumer mindset, having content that is queued up and ready to go at any time of day, is fundamental.


Think of how we have changed our TV media consumption. We used to watch just what was on at the time we were ready to engage. Or we had to arrange our schedule to be home at the time of the program we wanted to see.  Now, things are On Demand. The content is saved in the cloud, and we choose the content we want, and when we want to view it. Additionally, if we really enjoy the content, we can SHARE it with others, giving it free promotion socially.

Recorded is essential to repurposing content and meeting the needs of the On Demand consumer culture.  Repurposing also supports continuous revenue streams.

Interactive: Think about Facebook Live.  We see people streaming a live video on Facebook and then we also see the recorded version later. “Your friend John Smith was live at 2:15pm today”. 

Networking: With Speed Networking paired with the video conferencing, users meet who they want and when they want, still with the capacity to see each other for full 3D communication.

Educational: With the option of viewing previously recorded sessions, attendees can now actually consume MORE sessions than they could at an in-person event.  This means more CE credits possible and more availability for people who would not normally attend the full conference.

While a virtual event may not have all that an in person event may have, it can have different things and STILL be interactive, support networking, and educational. 

Check out more from AAG Virtual Events.


Thoughts on Productivity and Whitespace in my Daily Routine


I heard a great podcast today from Craig Groeschel - on his Leadership Podcast.  He interviewed Whitespace founder Juliet Funt.

I personally liked the following tidbits from the podcast:

Many times we send emails when we need to get some question answered, but the timing of WHEN we need a response is not always clear. This can lead to missed deadlines if they are too late, or work interruptions that really could have waited for those cases when a response was not urgent.


Try using Response Needed tags in email subject lines

NRQ = Need Response Quickly

NRT = Need Response Today

NRNBD = Need Response Next Business Day


Consider Messaging and Mediums

  • The message content determines the kind of medium to use
  • 2D -vs- 3D mediums (email/text/chat -svs- calls or face to face meetings)
  • 3D medium is needed for emotions or complex problem solving
  • 3D allows for tonality, inflection and facial expression to be added to the communication

Not everything requires an email. Sometimes you have the urge to send an email but if you only delayed it to review it later it may be better served in a face to face meeting or connected to another thought about that individual. Juliet suggests using a document to record your thoughts for later review. She calls it the Yellow List - a place to keep a list of thoughts and ideas for each team member for things that may NOT require an email or meeting. Then review them later to access how to communicate them best, if at all.

Get the full podcast here.

Craig has many podcasts on leadership. His moto is "Everyone wins when the leader gets better."  I agree!


Holiday Showcase 2017 Presentation: Video Marketing - Why You Need It and How to Afford It - Resources

Video Marketing Resource Sheet

This is a resource list from our presentation at Holiday Showcase 2017. 

Please note that these are just suggestions to get you started. We recommend you conduct your own research to buy what is best for you.

Youtube Channels

  • James Wedmore

Marketing Strategist, Video Tips and Tutorials

  • Justin Odisho

Program Tutorials and Editing Tips

  • Think Media

Tech Gear Reviews, Tips and Strategies Videos

Freelance Services

Tech Gear and Equipment

Online Resources


Make your own explainer videos


Royalty Free Music


Stock Videos and Templates

Youtube Tutorials


Online Articles


Video Topics


  • Case Studies

  • About Your Org

  • Experiences of Members

  • Advice … (series)

  • Interview the Expert

  • Dialogue Video (between experts)

  • Live Event Behind the Scenes

  • Simple Promotional Videos

  • Educational Topics

  • Explainer Videos

  • New Programs

  • Thank You

  • Call to Action


For more info contact us at


Apple Rejecting Event Apps?

Recently Apple updated their review guidelines, saying they wanted to reduce the number of "junk apps" in the app store.

It is worth noting that this new effort to reduce "copy apps" from Apple, will be helped by associations who create year round, 365 apps like many of our clients.  When an app contains year round content, it tends to look different from other apps.  I think this will make a strong case to keep 365 apps in the face of the new guidelines. 

If it gets down to tossing out event apps, there is going to be a big change in the association / event world that will affect everybody.  For now, I think this may affect the truly low cost apps that someone can "build yourself" from a website with no customer support.

We at AAG make strong efforts to work with the client to make each app have a unique branding and content.  We want to provide more than plug n play software, we want to provide a rich content experience for the end users, the members and event attendees.  That can only happen when we partner with the association staff to create something unique and meaningful to their members.

If you have questions or comments, contact me. +1.847.512.4412

Happy 7th Anniversary AAG

AAG team photo

On August 15, 2010 we filed for the name AAG with the state of Illinois.  We are 7 years old officially.   In that time we have served 60 organizations. Most of them are returning business each year.  Two of them have used Biz MatchUp for over 10 years (yes longer than AAG existed). This was because they liked the product so much they requested that AAG acquire it back from the company it was sold to after the CEO sold his first business and the intellectual property.  They wanted to work with AAG instead.  

  • Our team has managed 360,000 matches and collected 77,000 submissions.
  • We have serviced 120,000 users and supported over 500 events.
  • Our clients have gained over 21,000 mobile app downloads.

Thanks to the team that is making it happen! I am very proud of you all and could not do it without you.  YOU are the reason all this is happening!  


Thanks to the AAG team and the great teamwork and dedication to helping event professionals!


Disruption, Try it, you Make Like It

Disruption is widely talked about in todays business economy, but have you considered disruption in the non profit world?  Teresa Brinati and I took a close look at this topic for an article we wrote in the August issue of Association Forum's magazine.  We learned there are things non profits can adopt from big players like Uber and Airbnb.  In fact we learned there are associations currently using techniques like "Low Barrier to Entry", "Referral Programs" and "Power Partners", just to name a few.

See the full article on Association Forum of Chicagoland's site.

Disruption can be good.  Not doing things the same way they have been done for decades is really important in a world that where our phone is outdated every three months.

Planning and Bringing the Right People Lead to Successful Events

So much effort is put into planning your event or conference.  There are so many parts.  Many of which are moving and changing, some unpredictable completely.  You never know what you face until the day of the event.  


I have had the privilege of being on the front lines of many events.  Early morning hours rushing around the event location before attendees arrive.  I see the frantic hurrying of AV staff, the movement of the caterine setting up food tables. The clanking of the plates and cups. The smell of hot coffee and fresh breakfast fills the air.  But the staff does not have a happy look on their faces. More often than not the event planner has just found out some small detail that was overlooked or not setup properly and now they are faced with last minute adjustments.

This is a familiar scene to my team.  This is where we jump in, join the staff and become a problem solving force.  When it comes to the logistics and communications around our events, I have seen our team come in and provide solutions time and time again.

Table Mismatches: Today the tables for the speed networking do not match what was programmed into the system.  So attendees will be looking for table 25 for their match, but there is no table 25.  Or how do we find places to hold 700 matches with 40 slots in the day and a room that only holds 20 tables?

Match No Shows: The weather is bad and flights are canceled, so now 30% of matches have no partner to match with.  Where do these people go at match time? What will be their experience at your event?

Confused or Uninformed Attendees: Not enough communication to attendees or poor communication to attendees is a common issue that leads to low participation or turn out for a specific activity at the event.  How do you recover from 2% participation in a new feature in your app a full day into your 3 day event?

Distributing Backup Schedules: How do you distribute 487 printed schedules for those who did not download the app or are not savvy enough to use it?

Unusual Matches: What do you do when two sponsors, who purchased tables to meet matches, both want to meet each other? What table do they meet at?  Will the system support this type of matching?

Networking Conflicting with Session Times: How do you accommodate the tension of attendees wanting to go to a session when their match for the networking selects a time that conflicts with the session they want to attend?

Room Crowding:  How do you keep your speed networking room looking full and busy while still supporting places to hold the most matches the system will allow?  On the one hand the system wants a maximum number of tables, but this will require a large room that, parts of the day, may only have 20% usage.

What do you do about these challenging situations?  Do you make your best guess and jump in risking failure? Or perhaps do you consult with a team who has done this many times and has ideas.  


Join the discussion on Bridging the Generation Gap - Corporate Communication Strategies.  

Register here

Why Gamify Your Next Event

Although the concept of gamification has been around for centuries, it has recently made a huge leap into the digital world and it only makes sense that associations join in the ride.  Using awards and badges to motivate people is nothing new, but taking that concept and dressing it up a bit to attract the younger generation will behoove the future of associations.

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They Gamified My Cereal! 


We have been preparing a presentation for our webinar on gamification next month, so the topic was on my mind.  This morning I was surprised to see a game on the back of my Honeycomb cereal (yes I'm still eating kids cereal once in a while). Actually I was not too surprised to see a game. In the past they've had activities like a maze or Where's Waldo game. But now they have jumped on board the Social Meda and engagement train. "Its not about what you do, it's how you make it yours", is the heading on the back of the box.  "RU Honeycomb 2 UR Core?", they ask. They specifically call out to skateboarders, music lovers and gaming. They give examples of the kinds of posts you could make.  Highest number of cereal pieces stacked, unusual foods to eat the cereal with.  They suggest posting a video to show "what makes you an original, like Honeycomb."  Brilliant! 

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Iteration: One Key Element of Design Thinking

Recently I was doing some research on a new technology and I was reminded of the value of iteration. During the research I noticed a very large number of failed attempts of getting the new technology to work. This reminded me of similar past experiences where trying something new often caused many, many failed attempts before something of value or usefulness was produced. It was a good reminder for me that many attempts actually produce very valuable insights. Each failed attempt is a painful experience, an emotional experience. That emotional experience forces a memory of what does not work. This emotional connection allows us to move forward in a new direction away from the failed attempt. The cycle of build, test, fail, feedback, learn and iterate, is invaluable to the development process that can be accomplished in no other way.

It is this process that design thinking emphasizes. Design Thinking is an approach whereby this process is accelerated allowing multiple iterations and in much shorter timeframe. The end result is a shorter time to a useful product or solution.

What problem would you apply Design Thinking to in your organization?  Comments welcome.

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