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How Many Memberships Do You Have?

Information overload
There may have been a time when associations could keep their members engaged by crafting a single message, dropping it into a monthly or quarterly newsletter, and getting the word out by some combination of mail, fax, or e-blast.

It’s worth pondering whether that was ever the ideal strategy, even in the days when it was accepted practice. Today, with some pundits going so far as to declare the death of push marketing, you can and must do better.

It’s easy to find the right technology and the right advice to open a varied, creative conversation that will thrill your members and keep them passionately engaged with their association. The first step is to ask yourself how many “memberships” you actually have.
  • Do veteran members, with many years in the organization and perhaps decades in your industry or sector, have the same needs and interests as new arrivals?
  • Do all your members have the same educational needs?
  • Are there specialist groups within the association who need careful attention to their own unique issues?
  • Do all your members prefer the same mix of printed and electronic publications, of live and virtual events?

These and other differences are the hallmark of a healthy, diverse association. And they point to the need—and the opportunity—to delight, engage, and retain different membership segments by giving them:
  • The information they want
  • In the formats they prefer
  • At the frequency they expect.

Your effectiveness in segmenting your market depends on the profile information you receive from your members and the insights you can gain by testing different messages with your various memberships. The most targeted approach, granular segmentation, is too expensive and sophisticated for most associations when it’s practiced at the level of an

But with the right stakeholder engagement program, you can create the same benefit for members who receive exactly what they need from their association. If you get this right, you won’t have to spend a lot of time telling your members how committed you are to engaging with them: They’ll be able to see and feel it, and the results will come back to you in their avid participation and continuing financial support.