Membership value at many organisations has stagnated or decreased as professionals find the products, services and experiences they seek elsewhere. Members look for personalised, high-touch relationships that associations aren’t well-equipped to deliver and the variety of platforms that members use (and expect an association to use) has only increased.
In short, the familiar association business model—membership dollars topped off with non-dues revenue from education, networking, and publications—is turning obsolete. If your association is serious about improving engagement, it is imperative to look at what drives value for members and non-member customers. Looking at how member relationships evolve throughout the membership cycle and ultimately identifying the relevant drivers that impact engagement is the first step towards the ‘right’ direction.
More personalisation comes with higher value
It is time to put your entire product mix under the microscope. The effectiveness and value of products differs across the member lifespan. While long-term member seek value in meetings, standards and codes and Association Journals, newer members find value in certifications and online libraries.
This is also where individual relevance comes into place. People tend to look for services or products that correspond to their individual needs, whether it terms of giving them a competitive advantage, helping them achieve their goals, or providing value for money. Those individual objectives play a key role in a member’s decision to renew membership or in a non-member’s decision to become one.
RDM: The cycle of excellence – Research, delivery & measurement
In order to keep engaging their members, associations need to align their business strategy and internal processes with their customers’ needs.
Here is how:
- Identify focus areas, strengths, weaknesses, promising areas that support engagement increase and foreseeable challenges
- Prioritise focus areas and assess their implications for the future member/customer service strategy.
- Discuss internal processes and workflows in the focus areas
- Assess impact of processes on people and communication
- Develop action plans for each focus area, along with the desired outcomes
- Set performance targets and manage change
In 2017, MCI partnered with FairControl and recently launched the American Engagement Index to measure the performance, relationship strength and outcome of engagement tactics as seen through the eyes of association members and non-member customers in the USA. More than 87,000 members and customers of ten US associations were invited to share how they rated their association’s overall performance, its benefit and value, and preference for it over other comparable providers. Find the full report and explore its key findings here.
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