I spent several weeks in Spain this summer, and, early on in my travels, I found myself at a café, trying to decide what to eat. I saw sándwich mixto on the menu board. I’m not fluent in Spanish, but I know sándwich mixto translates to mixed sandwich.
But what’s a mixed sandwich?
And what does that have to do with your education offerings?
It turns out a sándwich mixto is ham and cheese between two slices of loaf bread (as opposed to on a baguette), usually toasted.
How did I find out? By ordering one. I’m an omnivore, and I didn’t mind spending a few dollars to find out what a sándwich mixto is. Worse case, I figured, I don’t like it and spend a few more dollars on something else to eat.
But what if the stakes were higher? Well, this is where you education offerings come in.
Last week, as part of the research I’m doing for our upcoming report on Association Virtual Events (and if you haven’t yet, please respond to the survey that’ll be the backbone of the report at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/virtual-events-blog), I spoke with a senior education person at an association whose initial virtual event didn’t turn out so well: tens of thousands of dollars in hard costs for technology and vendor support, not to mention the soft costs of staff time, all for under 20 registrants and a no-where-close-to-break-even result.
Her takeaway? Communications and marketing are critical. “Our blind spot was that we assumed our members knew what a virtual event was, what live streaming was, that they understood the value.”
Her association was offering its learners a mixed sandwich—and they were foreigners with no idea what it was. And they weren’t willing to try it to find out because the stakes (time and money) were much higher than gambling on a sandwich.
In your menu of education offerings, what are your mixed sandwiches? What offerings make sense to staff and a handful of others who are in the know but aren’t clear to the prospective learners you hope to draw in?
Don’t underestimate the need to explain what you’re offering—and its value.
Now go serve up some delicious education.