Chatbots and membership engagement…

Guest blog review of memcom 2019 by Phil Westcott, CEO, Filament AI


memcom 2019 on June 20th was a first-rate event for leaders in membership. While, as a friend of the marketing team, I’ll admit to an element of bias, the programme was as slick and full of energy as any event you’ll go to this year. Evidenced by the expertise and storytelling of the speakers and the passionate participation of the delegates.


The sell-out evening awards ceremony saw recognition for 12 month’s of hard work and innovation in the membership sector. There were many worthy winners celebrating but special mention to my table, where Juliet Leach and the team from the Royal Institute of British Architects picked up a series of awards. Also Debs Smith and Hannah Dolan and their teams who won awards for the marketing campaigns at the Association of Accounting Technicians.


My own talk earlier that day on “AI 101 for Membership Organisations” in the Digital Stream was supported with “standing room only” by the end. Clearly a passionate interest in the emerging field of Artificial Intelligence. The takeaway points: 1) that AI & Chatbot technology is totally accessible to membership organisation, and that 2) Chatbots are highly effective for membership engagement.



I shared the floor with a top client Adam Thompson of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) who told their story of digital transformation using Chatbot technology. They have embraced this technology via their membership service “Mia” the digital assistant. They have partnered with us here at and use our EBM ( tool as a content management system to continuously improve their chatbot service.


Mia achieved 1600 member conversations within the first 2 months, with a 222% uplift in page views. It proved “Far more popular than we thought” with “lots of positive feedback”. Adam reassured the audience that this technology can be driven, owned, maintained and continuously improved by the marketing team of most membership organisations, without the need of a lot of tech skills.



In fact, ICAEW’s Mia chatbot is now embedded as part of their member strategy, getting progressively more intelligent. With exciting future developments ahead, it is looking to realise their vision of a “personalised digital assistant for every ICAEW member” providing them with a one-stop shop for their professional development and industry engagement – surely a contender for an award in 2020? We may well give it a go..!


For Adam’s 15 minute talk, see here – excuse the rough & ready camera work!


To contact Filament about how to manage a professional chatbot service for your members, see the links above or contact Phil directly at


Phil Westcott is co-CEO of, a software and services company specialising in applied artificial intelligence technologies. Phil is a former Director at IBM, and a specialist in applied Artificial Intelligence. Phil previously ran the IBM Watson Ecosystem in Europe, led their Smarter Cities business in Southeast Asia and launched IBM’s global IoT practice.  He is a specialist in AI use cases, business models and enterprise transformation. He is a Chartered Engineer and holds an MBA from IESE and Columbia University.


memcom 2019 – With over 500 senior decision makers attending over the course of the day, 50 high-profile speakers and the most cutting-edge suppliers of the moment, all sharing their insight and expertise, the 2019 memcom conference was a huge success. It stimulated a lively debate as well as providing real thought leadership and outstanding networking opportunities.

This year’s memcom membership excellence awards, kindly hosted by BBC journalist and newsreader Simon McCoy, celebrated the positive impact that professional bodies, trade associations, membership charities and other not-for-profit membership organisations have on public good. It was an absolute pleasure to see all the great work coming out of such a worthy sector. Here is the full list of trophy winners.

Entry to the 2020 memcom membership excellence awards will open in the Autumn.