Since joining the SIM Chicago Board and the Marketing committee last year, I have heard a steady flow of feedback on all things communications and digital from members. "The website needs work", "the emails are too long", "the experience is not mobile enabled" all frequent observations (mixed in with a few more colorful ones). Yep, I agree!
I spent a portion of my family holiday trip to China thinking about what to do about it. Taking a commercial and analytic approach, I took the time to review the utilization reports (as we have them), evaluated other SIM association websites, and competitive groups that also serve a similar audience.
Evident in the analysis, we are trailing what we could and should be doing. The website today and our processes around communicating are aging. We need to make a change to improve our communications engagement for existing members (+brand awareness for new members we want to attract.)
We clearly have compelling reasons for change. That said, a website overhaul used to be one of the top three projects IT & marketers avoided if they could. When I first broached the topic with several of our board members, I got a slight pause and "Won't that take a long time and be expensive?"
In short, No transformation does not have to take long or carry a heavy cost.
Lately, the game has changed.
You can transform your business and become a digitally effective company in a very short order, and for a reasonable investment of time, tech, and talent. Digital transformation is now about 20% tech, and 80% change management. You need a game plan, a comfort with uncertainty, and the right expertise to get it done. And passion to change the game.
In my two+ decades experience, passion is the key ingredient that makes the difference in successful transformations (digital or otherwise). Passion is crucial in the drive for change. Sponsors need to exhibit it, the project team needs to live it, and the customers should be excited about the changes to come.
So we are announcing today our plan to launch the new SIM Chicago website in time for the Spring Gala four weeks hence. We will have a new UX experience, which is built mobile first from the ground up. We will be taking measured change steps (experience and UX first, events sign up / payments second, and email / social marketing engagement third) to ensure we hit the value points in the midst of the digital change. And we will seek your feedback frequently on the improvements (features, content, and experience) that will make for a game changing member experience.
We are passionate about the digital change for SIM Chicago because the opportunity is needed. We benefit as a society of IT leaders when we can most effectively gather together to share knowledge and experiences.
So four weeks and counting. Time for late nights, headsets on, coding, marker design boards and load testing, SEO tuning and security checks. In the words and spirit of the late, great James Brown - "Relax, and watch us work". See you at the Gala, and bring your mobile phone.