by Loren Edelstein | July 07, 2020

The "glory days" of international conferences are probably over, says Gregg Talley, CAE, FASAE. As president and CEO of Talley Management Group, Inc., which manages 35 international associations, he's been helping clients launch virtual events in the short term and organize hybrid meetings in the longer term. Two months ago he told Northstar that COVID-19 would force associations to rethink their business models. Now he's helping them tackle that challenge.

The pandemic is just one factor driving change. Deepening economic pressures, health concerns, political issues and civil unrest are cracking the foundation of traditional association business models. In a conversation last week, I asked Talley, "Do associations need to reinvent themselves completely?" His answer: "You hold your values in place, but yeah, I think it's all brand new now."

Following are highlights from that conversation, which you can hear in full here.

What is happening in the association world right now?

The biggest thing is the pivot we're all doing to virtual or hybrid events. I've got clients all over the gamut, from those who say, "Yes, we're in," to others saying, "No, no, no - it's going to cannibalize our live event." We're going to have to start from the very beginning and take them through the entire process. We have to help them get their heads around what the opportunity is, as opposed to the threat.

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