2014 - A year to remember
Thank you to all the Experiential Graphic Design leaders who joined us for SEGD’s first-ever Business of Design Summit in Denver two weeks ago. We have begun the process of talking about the future of the profession's firms and getting our profession's leadership group together to talk about excellence, sustainability, and growth. I heard great feedback from many about the quality of the day as well as some good comments on how we need to modify this important platform to work better in the future. You can read more about it in the summary, and members will be able to see the presentations soon in SEGD Talks videos.
2014 was a record-breaking year for SEGD. There was hardly an area left untouched by our innovation drive last year and hardly a record we did not break.
Starting with membership, we beat our 2014 budget, stretch targets, and previous SEGD record from back in 2007 to end the year at 1,720 members. This is the first time ever that SEGD has been bigger than 1,700 members! We ended 90 members ahead of our previous record high! We lost members in 2012, gained 20 in 2013, and gained 190 in 2014.
SEGD finished the year with a record 24 chapters. Chapter leadership has been hard at work and, led by the younger leaders, we engaged local communities in more than 70 events last year! We’ve already added a Dallas chapter this year. Way to go, SEGD!
Attendance at SEGD events grew more than 38% last year. Xlab, which has grown by more than 300% in attendance since 2012, has become the “can’t-miss” second conference for exploring how digital technology is being used to create experiences that connect people to place, in addition to the SEGD Annual Conference, which is of course the all-important annual gathering of the Experiential Graphic Design Community.
The direct result of all of this good news is that we beat our financial budgets by a significant margin and along with the new financial discipline we've brought to SEGD, we have been able to put a substantial amount back into our reserves.
At the board level, we have been working to achieve some tough targets and put SEGD into a 15% annual growth mode (20% in 2014), only achievable if we have a strong innovation engine running. This is needed to complete the building of our reserves to bring the organization back to financial sustainability. We are substantially ahead of our own tough targets. Even though we're building our reserves, we're also investing heavily in upgrading the organization's membership benefits, educational content, and operational infrastructure. We've heard from many of you about the progress we're making and I thank you all for your honest feedback. We win some and lose some of course, but I'm proud that we're really listening and that you are telling us honestly what you think. It is the only way we can continue to improve!
Achieving so many records last year was immensely satisfying for all of us and a definite sign that we're heading in the right direction. But don’t misunderstand this report for arrogance. We fully understand just how much more work has to be done to make SEGD the benchmark association in the design profession and that remains our focus - small, but EXCELLENT!
2014 represents a landmark as it signals our switch from turnaround-and-recovery mode to the much more difficult phase of redefining what a relevant, vital association means in the digital age. Expect to see some big, tough changes to align ourselves with that goal this year. We're all looking forward to this phase with great energy and enthusiasm as we continue to build a sustainably strong, relevant, and ever warm and friendly SEGD with you.
The rise of SEGD’s digital presence cannot be understated. It is our most effective communication medium by far. To give you a quick sense of our progress last year, during 2013, 932,456 pages were read on the website, more than three times the best-possible reach of our print magazine. During the first two months of 2015, 582,342 pages have been read already, putting us on track to pass 3 million pages this year. In December 2013, SEGD.org ranked as the world’s 1,196,147th most important website. Today we are at number 378,740 - a 75% improvement! In the USA, we were ranked site number 302,222 in December 2013, and today we’re at number 72,555. It’s absolutely phenomenal progress in a year and stands as a testament to what happens when we focus our resources on great content, good site design, and big efforts on search optimization. Given this level of progress, we have to concentrate our energies even more. To have 2.1 million more pages of information read about the XGD profession is FANTASTIC news for all of us! And it could happen no other way.
See you all at the next great SEGD workshop, Customer Experience, where we will explore the creation of great customer experiences using digital technology. The workshop is happening March 10 in Las Vegas. You can still meet us there!