Venturing into the Virtual Space

How the American Marketing Association (AMA) made the switch to support their academic conference community – completely online.

Switching gears in a global pandemic

When the events of 2020 hit conference planners hard, the team at Ex Ordo kicked into gear to build an online conference platform that would allow our customers in associations and academic communities to continue hosting events. One of these customers was the American Marketing Association (AMA).

Screenshot of the American Marketing Association virtual conference on Ex Ordo

The AMA is a community of professionals who work, teach, and study in the field of marketing. They strive to be the most relevant force shaping marketing around the world. This mission is accomplished by offering content through scholarly journals, managing award-winning publications, and organising multiple academic/industry conferences throughout the year.

We’ve been working with the AMA since early 2018. They’re a fantastic crew and they loved our initial submissions system from the moment they started using it. When this year came around and they were looking to move their summer academic event online, we were thrilled to be able to help them out.

Dermot Lally

COO & Co-Founder

The AMA team loved the connection between every product within the Ex Ordo platform. Everything was in one familiar place and they were able to move to virtual without the hassle of working with a ton of different systems. At final count, the 2020 AMA Summer Academic Conference gathered over 580 live attendees online. And the on-demand sessions reached viewers in 50 countries across the globe.

World map showing which countries attendees accessed AMA Summer 2020 from

2020 Summer AMA spread important knowledge to a global academic community.

Conference planning with an end-to-end submission system

The AMA manages their academic conferences’ call-for-papers with the help of Ex Ordo’s core submission and review system.

We couldn’t be happier with the submissions product. It has made our conference life so much easier. It’s just incredible. We love it. Anyone we’ve worked with loves it. We have tons of volunteers and they say it’s super easy, it’s intuitive, and assigning reviewers is simple.

Monica Gerhardt

Senior Manager, Academic Communities

After setting up the conference workflow in Ex Ordo, the AMA invites authors to submit their work for an opportunity to present at one of their upcoming academic conferences. The intuitive submissions set-up, combined with the flexibility to edit entries means that their authors love the system as well:

It is extremely user-friendly. Everything went smoothly and I didn’t feel confused at any stage. Everything was clearly explained, which is so important because usually I’m stressed when submitting and there’s a chance I’ll miss the tiny details. But the software made it so much easier. This has been the best conference submission software I’ve used to date.


2021 Winter AMA

The AMA chose to use a separate registration system that they were familiar with from previous years. But with the help of Ex Ordo’s safelist feature, they were still able to easily upload their delegate list into the system and give them access to the protected conference content.

Screenshot of the dashboard in the main Ex Ordo system

Authors and organisers can navigate directly from the submissions system to the live event space.

When it came time to set up the online space, the planning team loved that everything was in one place and connected to the submission system. Thanks to the in-built process for switching to virtual and collecting presentations from accepted authors, there was no need to mess around with imports and manual uploads.

Screenshot showing access levels in Ex Ordo online conference platform

Using Ex Ordo, organisers can control access to their conference on multiple levels.

Event Space Customisation, Discovery & Navigation

On the days of the live event, the AMA took full advantage of the ability to customise the event space and direct attendee navigation around the site. They used fully customisable homepage cards to highlight important sessions, and they put up a new card every hour. One such card directed new arrivals to check out the At a Glance feature that gives attendees a visual overview of the full conference experience.

AMA Summer 2020 schedule on Ex Ordo online event platform

Browsing through the 2020 AMA Summer Academic Conference schedule at a glance.

Once attendees began exploring the site, they could find new sessions using the search bar or by browsing custom categories on the discover page.

Your search system is the best thing in the entire world, it's delicious! And customising the discover page was great.

Monica Gerhardt

Senior Manager, Academic Communities

Live Stages, On-demand & Recorded Sessions

Throughout the entire conference experience, the AMA was able to host a wide variety of session types. The 2020 AMA Summer Academic Conference included panels, oral presentations, sponsored “Teaching Tools” sessions, master classes, workshops, and an on-demand poster session with over 100 entries. The planning team appreciated how intuitive it was to set up stages and liked the connection between the main event space and the live sessions.

The Ex Ordo event site is like the playhouse… and you go into a different stage to watch a specific play. Then, being able to pull someone aside worked well for attendee-to-attendee chat. You want to pull someone aside, not shout to an entire room.

Monica Gerhardt

Senior Manager, Academic Communities

Screenshot showing a list of live stages in Ex Ordo

A snapshot of the behind-the-scenes stage set-up area for organisers.

In the days surrounding the live event, the AMA team released heaps of on-demand content and recordings to extend the value of the conference experience. Whether it was a pre-conference opportunity to “Meet the Editors” or the on-demand poster session with 120 presentations, attendees were able to experience the conference when and where they wanted. And the recordings released after the sessions were hosted for 45 days to allow people to catch up or review their favourite sessions.

It’s an easy to use interface. And it allows me to be a meaningful part of the conversation about important subjects, even when I can’t necessarily attend the conference live.


2020 AMA Summer Academic Conference

Working and learning together for an improved experience

In preparation for their event, members of the AMA planning team were able to attend ExOrdoCon and our educational webinar series for conference organisers. They found these resources helpful in wrapping their head around planning an online academic conference for the first time. In addition, the AMA team was impressed by Ex Ordo’s support team throughout the experience, stating that “expectations were far exceeded” by the level of care and assistance offered.

Since the Summer AMA conference closed its (virtual) curtains, Ex Ordo has been actively working with the AMA. We want to continue improving our platform to better serve the needs of academic and association communities. Through feedback calls and organised problem solving sessions, we’re discovering the challenges that the AMA face and the solutions that Ex Ordo can provide. And we’re continuing to support their upcoming conferences for the next several years.

We’re excited at the opportunity to learn from our customers’ experiences and we see them as strategic partners. They’re an amazing, forward-minded group and we’re thrilled to be able to support their future events. Ex Ordo is working to be the best we can be, so that the AMA (and other academic communities like it) can be the best they can be.

Paul Killoran

Founder & CEO

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