America Makes: Ving Success Story
America Makes Strengthens Collaborative Communication and Improves Member Engagement with Easy Sharing Of Multimedia on the Ving Platform
As the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing (3DP), America Makes is the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in AM and 3DP technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. Structured as a public-private partnership with over 160 member organizations from industry, academia, government and non-government agencies, and workforce and economic development resources, America Makes and its members are working together to innovate and accelerate AM and 3DP to increase the nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness.
- Difficulties with sharing audio and video files from various America Makes member organizations to the entire member roster
- Inability to track which files were viewed by who, which made it hard to know which content had the highest engagement rates
- New member information was difficult to gather, requiring numerous phone calls and valuable employee time
- Registration packets for America Makes’ annual conference were not shared in advance so attendees were confused and needing more information
- Audio and video files can be easily shared with all 1,500 America Makes individual members in its Weekly Update
- Dashboard analytics show who reads, watches and listens to what content, helping America Makes membership coordinators understand what content is most useful and engaging for members
- New member surveys are sent via Ving and have over a 50% response rate
- Registration packets – including conference details, directions, travel and accommodation information – are now sent in advance and greatly improve registration efficiencies
With over 160 member organizations and approximately 1,500 individual members, America Makes found it challenging to communicate in an effective and engaging way with members on a regular basis. The organization sends out weekly updates, which are shared with members via traditional email – however, that approach posed difficulties when it came to sharing audio and video files that are submitted by different members to share with the entire membership. Additionally, because email offers no measurement or tracking mechanisms, it was virtually impossible for America Makes to monitor what files were read and/or watched by members, which made it difficult to gauge member engagement.
“As a service to our members, we share project updates, much of which is produced and submitted to us by different member organizations to share with the industry at large,” said Cheri Metzinger, office coordinator for America Makes. “We send out links to new content in our Weekly Updates, which we email to the entire member roster every Wednesday. Once we discovered Ving, we gained a whole new level of understanding when it comes to effective communications and member engagement.”
Additionally, Metzinger explained that when new members join America Makes, she sends out a new member survey to capture the individual’s job title and position, as well as find out how they will contribute to the mission of America Makes. “Before Ving, we would send out new member packets and rarely get information returned, which prompted follow-up phone calls by our staff. This was a highly inefficient process that took time and attention away from our day-to-day tasks.”
Digital packet-sharing enhances engagement and collaboration
America Makes’ management team was first introduced to Ving through its business incubator. Once they understood the information sharing benefits Ving provides, they decided to give the platform a trial run.
“Initially we used it to share our project updates and make it easy to include the audio and video tutorials our members were submitting,” said Metzinger. “We found that the sharing of the information was extremely easy, but more importantly, we were able to monitor who opened which files, which made it much easier to understand the type of content our members are most interested in receiving.”
Metzinger explained that with such an improvement in member engagement, the team wanted to find other ways Ving could be used to expedite information sharing. One way they found was with new member surveys that are emailed out to people when they first join the organization. “Before Ving, it was hard to collect the information we needed from our new members,” she said. “Once we started using Ving, it was a great improvement because it means the staff doesn’t have to spend time tracking down people by phone to acquire the needed information.”
Ving is now a great tool for sending out registration packets to all members in advance of America Makes’ annual conference. “Before, people would show up at the event without any pre-conference information, so they had a lot of questions,” she explained. “With Ving, we can now send out the registration packets before the event so people arrive already having received their registration materials and having most of their questions answered. With about 50% of attendees engaging with the Ving before the event, registration moved much more quickly – which makes everyone happy.”
Moving forward, Metzinger will continue seeking other areas where Ving can help improve communications efficiencies and contribute to more collaboration. “The team at Ving is highly responsive and always helpful,” she said. “We’re excited to be partnering with them to get more guidance on how Ving can help our internal and external communications, based on other organizations’ best practices approaches. It’s been a great investment that has paid off in multiple ways: more efficient processes and communications, and more satisfied, engaged members.”