Evaluating and Innovating To Improve Member Experience

By John Ospina

Over the past few years technology has played a large part in how GAWDA, as an association, communicates with its members and how our members communicate and network with each other. Not long ago, social media was new to many of our members. Now, it’s fairly common to see members tweeting, using Facebook and expanding their connections on LinkedIn.

Similarly, last fall, we introduced a new online registration process for the Annual Convention. Now we’re using that same process for all GAWDA meetings. Watching the membership adopt this process has been amazing. More than 94 percent of 2017 Spring Management Conference (SMC) registrations were completed online. Only 6 percent of those who registered opted to use the mail-in registration forms.

At this SMC, we’re introducing another new technology for our association, the GAWDA Mobile App. This new tool allows attendees to obtain event information and event notifications on their smartphones. But more importantly, the app provides a simple way for attendees to send messages to each other, schedule appointments, download attendees’ information to their contact lists and much more. See the article on page 92 for a listing of the major features of this new app.

Other communication improvements recently undertaken by GAWDA have been less about technology and more about design and content. Earlier this year GAWDA Media updated the look of the Welding and Gases Today magazine with a new masthead and fresh internal design. President Mark Raimy has added valuable content to the magazine in 2017 with the introduction of our quarterly economic forecast by ITR Economics.

The GAWDA booth at the SMC Contact Booth Program also has undergone a transformation. You’ll see that it has been given a complete redesign and that it now offers a more professional and more inviting feel. The GAWDA booth also will be the home for information about the Contact Booth Prize Program.

As for the Prize Program, you’ll see the efforts of a committee of primarily supplier members that has been working to make improvements to this popular program. Now, instead of collecting tickets, distributors will be able to just drop off a business card at each booth visited. Prize winners will be pulled from each supplier’s booth a half hour before the program ends. The list of prizes and winners will be displayed on a monitor at the GAWDA booth and participating suppliers will also message their winners. There is a special article highlighting all the new aspects of this program on page 84.

This year’s SMC continues to provide interesting speakers and valuable business content, but President Raimy has also added a touch of fun to the program to promote attendee engagement. As Mark likes to say, “GAWDA is at its best when we all come together and learn from each other.” Read more about this in his President’s View column on page 6. This promises to be an event to remember!

I look forward to seeing everyone in Boca Raton soon. And as always, thank you for your continued participation and support of GAWDA.