Orange County Asperger’s Support Group (OCASG) is a resource and a refuge. Located in Irvine, California, the OCASG’s mission is to improve “the quality of life for individuals with Asperger’s, High-Functioning Autism, and PDD-NOS and their families.” Offering educational meetings, workshops with experts, Toastmasters, and a conference geared toward individuals working in the entertainment industry, this Constant Contact customer serves its community by fostering connections, showcasing opportunities, and improving members’ communication skills. 

To support digital communications with members and allies, OCASG began a premium plan with Constant Contact and entered into our Marketing Manager Program just over a year ago — partnering to craft informative, effective, and beautifully designed email marketing, social media content, and SMS messages, amongst other marketing efforts. 

Changing the way Hollywood thinks

Judi Uttal, President of Orange County Asperger’s Support Group and Founder of the Autism in Entertainment conference, has been a member of OCASG for over twelve years, joining to support her son, Josh. 

Judi first discovered the organization as her son prepared for college. She saw it as an opportunity to help her son gain confidence in his skillset, foster relationships, and have access to quality resources for life and work. 

Judi Uttal, President of Orange County Asperger’s Support Group and Founder of Autism in Entertainment. Source: Judi Uttal

Now, over a decade later, Judi is working to help secure the same benefits for people just like Josh. Her biggest goal is to support industry diversity hiring, career growth, and financial support. “What we wanted to focus on first was dealing with gig economy work and trying to transform some of the government programs to be more supportive in a gig-type environment,” said Judi. 

Job opportunity and resource sheets, expert workshops, webinars, toastmasters, and workgroups help to encourage scholarship, success, and support among members and their families. 

In addition to providing career resources in support groups, one key initiative the group has undertaken is Autism in Entertainment, a workgroup and conference aimed at connecting adults with autism to opportunities in the entertainment industry. 

Building cohesive marketing campaigns with Constant Contact

Promoting OCASG and the Autism in Entertainment conference posed some exciting new challenges and opportunities for list growth and cause awareness.

From scheduling programs to registering attendees, organization admins and event staff had to be managers, marketers, and experts. Linking the organization with the conference meant building cohesive marketing campaigns across email, social media, SMS, events, and their website. Campaigns needed to be branded, informative, and encouraging so members and attendees would take desired actions. Whether making a purchase or signing up for events, cross-channel content helped Judi and her team construct a holistic brand experience. 

Constant Contact Marketing Manager: Bethany Crocker.
Constant Contact Marketing Manager: Bethany Crocker

As it was their first conference, Judi brought in some extra marketing support. Marketing Manager Bethany Crocker gave them the expertise to market the conference successfully. “Having someone who knew the platform and had a creative team behind them really helped us fuel our marketing efforts and do a first-class job with a reduced workload on myself,” said Judi. “With Bethany’s help, we were able to leverage Constant Contact for social media posts, and she helped us post our pages and groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.”

Beyond Social

In addition to creating social media content and managing social scheduling, Bethany worked with Judi to develop a strategy that included email marketing and a website. Judi also took on SMS to reach her audience quickly, right in the palm of their hand. Together, the pair were able to “streamline the event and give the conference a distinct presence and voice that was consistent on social media, online, emails, and SMS,” said Bethany. 

Autism in Entertainment one day until conference email reminder.
One-day reminder email for Autism in Entertainment. A colorful header, event checklist, venue info, and directions ensure event attendees are informed and ready for the conference. Image source: Autism in Entertainment

Reaching the right audience

When building email communications, Judi realized she needed a way to separate messages amongst different stakeholders in her organization and conference: board members, organization members, event attendees, and exhibitors needed to receive actionable information that was relevant to them. “I needed to reach out to a subset of the entire group and provide them with some messaging. An example would be our exhibitors,” Judi said. 

Segmentation tools like forms with self-selection options, lists, and tags gave OCASG the power to personalize marketing communications. “It was key to segment registration form responses and send unique emails to those attendees,” said Bethany Crocker. 

Autism in Entertainment 

The Autism in Entertainment conference was co-hosted with Zavikon, an employment agency for neurodivergent and disabled individuals. “Our event was amazing. We had at least 425 attendees, including talent and business professionals. Networking was fantastic and folks were super pleased they could attend,” Judi remarked.  

Among the attendees and industry insiders was Jorge Gutierrez, an Emmy and Annie award-winning animator, actor, writer, and director. Gutierrez gave the opening keynote address about how autism was an asset to his work. The remainder of the event included talks on storytelling, talent, industry employment, and breakout sessions for talent and caregivers. 

Connection & Communication

Orange County Asperger’s Support Group and its Autism in Entertainment conference are making a breakthrough in supporting individuals with autism in their careers and providing their caregivers with support and resources. 

Changing the way the industry approaches neurodivergence will create a more inclusive and creative environment for everyone. With the help of Constant Contact, OCASG, and Autism in Entertainment, they can ensure their message is heard by the people who will benefit the most.

I am so grateful that I chose Constant Contact,” Judi said of Constant Contact’s role in the conference’s inaugural year.

Where you can find them: 

Judi Uttal, president of Orange County Asperger's Support Group and Founder of Autism in Entertainment Constant Contact business trading card cover
Orange County Asperger's Support Group Constant Contact marketing trading card back