Should our association market our event before registration is available?

A few years ago there was an article in which a person suggested that an association should never market their event unless it was possible to register immediately. Their premise was that to do so otherwise would be a waste of money and a lost opportunity.

One might agree with the notion that an opportunity is lost if registration is not available. But it could be said that unless your association’s registration is very simple (e.g. no significant educational offerings), you may not have the luxury of waiting until registration is available.

In an era where major association conventions book their venues five years in advance, it’s not fair to assume that the attendee needs only a few months advance notice. Instead, most associations need to begin marketing the next event while attendees are still at the current event, if not before.

What is your experience? Do you work for an association that offers extensive educational offerings and has registration available more than six months in advance?

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