All Things Tested - Eric Whobrey
We had the opportunity to sit down with Eric Whobrey from the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association to learn more about CIMA.
Tell us about CIMA and how it has changed since you’ve become a part of it.
CIMA is a dedicated group of digital and interactive marketing professionals working to provide the Chicago interactive marketing community with opportunities to network, learn, and share expertise. Since joining the organization 6 years ago, it's core values and purpose have largely remained the same - providing excellent education and networking opportunities to people in our industry. The biggest change is probably those who are involved - with a volunteer organization like ours you see a lot of new faces year in and year out. CIMA does benefit from a small group that has 6-10 years tenure with the organization, though, which helps balance the new ideas with tried and true practices that make the organization successful.
How is your personality reflected in CIMA? - members, goals, events, themes, etc.
Interesting question! I think the organization has a mind of its own, driven by the needs of the members that are a part of it. I know in my professional career, I've tried to place an emphasis on working hard, constantly learning as much as possible, and staying open-minded to new people, experiences, and opportunities, and I hope that reflects back through CIMA.
At AdBasis, we are all about testing. What are some unique things you’ve tested? Event schedules? Type of speakers? Type of members? Price points of memberships?
We're constantly testing out new events and initiatives, and we've focused more than ever this year in setting milestones against everything we do to measure its success. We have data on emails we send, what's more effective in the subject headers and the wording on the buttons within the email. We carefully watch how our events are trending, what groups sponsor and why (or why not), and whether the content was well received with post-event surveys. We look at membership renewals vs non-renewals and conduct surveys and outreach to get a better idea of why people are or are not members. All of this is done in an effort to provide the best services imaginable to our members (current and prospective!).
What do you focus on to know if your tests are successful?
We focus on quantitative business results (tickets sold, sponsorships secured, memberships registered) and qualitative user feedback (surveys, email inquiries, individual conversations). We're also working on building a comprehensive set of data to bring some of these data points together and identify greater trends and opportunities for growth.
What advice do you have for people who are trying to “Test their way to success” in the community/events-based world?
My day-job CEO (Shawn Riegsecker at Centro) gives all of his new employees a book called Raving Fans, which sets a great baseline to anyone who wants to create a worthwhile service or product. Put simply - find out what you want to provide, find out what your customer really wants, and find a way to always deliver what they want as perfectly as possible every time. Once you've accomplished that, look for small areas of incremental improvement to continue building on a stellar experience for your customers, which will benefit both sides equally. I suppose the short version of that advice is read Raving Fans!
More About Eric
Eric has worked in the digital industry for nearly a decade as an Account and Project Manager for Public Relations, Healthcare Marketing, and Digital Advertising and Technology companies. He is fascinated by technology, and is constantly delving deeper into what his design and development teams are doing with each new project. He has managed full website redesigns, data-driven projects, celebrity websites, apps, and print design projects. Nowadays he finds himself managing projects for the data engineering teams at Centro. He is also the President of the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association (CIMA).