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Keeping Employees Engaged via @CBInspired

I came across this image through LinkedIn.  After some research, I discovered that it was tweeted on June 12 by CB Inspired, and I think it captured it well:

Great snapshot @CBInspired! I think that it very simply captures what employers need to do to keep employees engaged.  NONE of them are hard to do.

5 Tips for Better Membership Retention

Professional and Trade Associations across all industries are showing growing concerns over member
retention rates. Our clients are reporting that they are seeing rapidly declining memberships, while
others are seeing a slow decline, and want to combat it while they can. The following are some
retention tips to help you get started:

  1. Gather their communication preferences, and use them! It's important to ask member HOW they prefer to be communicated with. Get a sense of how they consume information and where they spend their time. Whether it is by email, on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or another social media network, or through other means, doing this enables you to gain valuable intelligence on what systems you need to have in place to engage your members. It is also just as important to use them; play in their sandbox, don't ask them to play in yours.
  2. Mix Media. When gathering communication preferences, it is imperative to ask for all possible formats, not just the ones you have in place now. That way, you are able to devise a communications strategy that makes sense. Some messages can be sent by email, some by text, some a simple reminder on social media platforms. Mixing media will increase your chances of your message being read, and not discarded.
  3. Start Early. In our 2014 Pulse Report, we found that over 50% of organizations are depending on a 60-day renewal marketing period to retain their membership base, with over 40% relying on only up to three touchpoints. Sales and marketing research shows that it can take up to 11 "touches" to cut through the clutter, and most people give up well before that! This is why we always encourage Professional and Trade Associations to communicate membership value throughout the year – and not just before renewal time!
  4. Don't Be Afraid to Pick Up the Phone! Greenfield’s Pulse Report also shows that less than 25% of organizations are picking up the phone during a retention campaign to have a conversation with members. While making calls can be time consuming, it can also produce the best results. Having a conversation with your members (at any time) builds the relationship they were hoping for when they joined. You will gain valuable insights on how they feel about the direction of the association, in addition to their intentions of renewing.
  5. Everyone matters. There are various opinions out there about who to focus the majority of your efforts on. Some believe that focusing on first-year members is the best place to spend your marketing dollars. While it may be true that first-year members are more likely to drop off if they are not satisfied with your operations, it is just as important to focus on longer-term members. They have seen your ups and downs, are likely at different career stages, and are more likely to have in-depth opinions on how you can better serve all members, instead of just the newbies.
What are some of the other best practices you have come across?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

9 Marketing Remedies for Event Registration Success

Over the years, our Greenfield team has "rescued" numerous programs because event registrations
were not coming in as expected. Here is our prescription for a successful event marketing campaign:

  1. Get permission first: It is important to obtain and track permissions for your stakeholders -your prospects. Members are OK; they have opted in to your communications through their renewals. However, your prospective list is a different story: with CASL in play, it is important to build a list that won't get you in trouble later.
  2. Maintain your database: With CASL, if there is a complaint, the burden will be on you to provide that permission was obtained. Don't risk the fine! Keep your database clean.
  3. Make it about ME: Who cares if your event has a record-breaking number of exhibitors, sponsors or break-out sessions? If your communication isn't articulating WIIFM (what's-in-it-for me) for the potential attendee, they likely won't register.
  4. Twitterize your message: Don't send long emails telling me ALL there is to know about your event. Since your message is most likely to be viewed on a mobile device, keep your message short and to the point. If there's more to the story, give links where the recipient can go for more.
  5. Make it shareable: An increasing number of business event attendees are active on social media. Make it easy for attendees to share your event with peers by using ShareThis or other social media sharing platforms. That way they can tweet, post to Facebook or LinkedIn, or whatever social medium they prefer.
  6. Tell them who else will be there: Not just speakers or sponsors/exhibitors; people want to know about their peers. So upon a registration, gain permission to publicize the fact that an attendee will be there. Those who agree will have their name posted on your event website. It's a simple way to create FOMO (fear-of-missing-out).
  7. Show them: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is worth a million. Use this powerful tool to show clips of speakers, testimonials from attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors. Score double points by showcasing a video of someone with similar attributes to your prospect.
  8. Vary your channels: Unless recipients have white-listed your email address, anytime you are using email deployment software, there is a 30-40% chance that your message will be caught in spam filters. Your audience may be interested but may never see your message! Pay special attention to where your prospects hang out on LinkedIn. Get the influential people in your industry to tweet about your event. Or even send something by mail - something that will pique curiosity, and will drive traffic to your website.
  9. Don't be so business like: Learn from what gets shared online; people enjoy funny or touching stories. Your promotion will rise above the clutter if you show emotion humour, or an edge. Don't be so serious!
For meeting, conference and event planners, covering each tactic can be a daunting task.  But a well-rounded event marketing plan will drive attendance & engagement.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

The Howes Group partners with #Engageassn as Innovator

On July 23-24, 2015, Greenfield Services will host the second annual Engaging Associations Forum at the Ottawa Marriott, geared towards association executives who want to create change in the industry.  The event will provide the opportunity for a true exchange of ideas for a new generation of association to succeed, grow and prosper.

Joining us as an Innovator partner is The Howes Group, who were recently told they were nominated & a finalist for the upcoming 3rd Annual Plannie Awards (for Savvy Sourcing).

Brenda Howes has always believed in collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurs, so partnering with her and her team for the Engaging Associations Forum was perfect.  Not only does she have over two decades experience working with organizations of all sizes, but as an innovator herself, she brings us Susan Phillips, a Professor with Carleton University to present this year.  We are very grateful for her partnership this year!” says Meagan Rockett, Greenfield’s Director of Client Solutions.

With just 7 weeks left to the Forum, we invite you to have a look at the final program, and to join us.
For more information about the Engaging Associations Forum, please contact:

Meagan Rockett
Director, Client Solutions
Greenfield Services Inc.

Should You Hire an In-House Employee or Outsource?

It's a question that plagues many professional and trade associations today.  Budgets are tightening, and more things need to get done then ever before.

Then comes the question:  Should you hire more people to work in your office, or could you put together some tasks that can be taken care of by someone you can partner with to help you?

Not every job needs to be handled in your office.  In many cases, outsourcing can help you achieve your goals faster, and more effectively.

But before you decide to look outside your office for help, you need to ask yourself:

What would they do?  

In our experience, we have helped multiple organizations with one-off programs (like promoting attendance at an event); but we are seeing more and more that organizations are looking to outsource an entire department - like membership, or marketing.  Have a look at what must be handled onsite, and what could be done elsewhere.

How much can you spend?

In many cases, outsourcing can help your budget.  Partnering with a firm who's sole focus is to work on membership, or your communications, as examples, are not tied up with the day-to-day interruptions, and can focus on their job - to showcase your organization in the best light; and ultimately earn you additional revenues.

Who will manage the process?

With the right firm, they will manage it themselves.  They will report to you as little or as often as you like, so that you can focus your time on the big picture.

Are there risks?

Yes, of course!  But there are risks to both sides of the equation - and you have to measure which is the least risky for your organization.  At times, yes hiring a full-time employee is the least risky way to go.

But times are changing - with more the workforce being virtual, isn't it time you had a look for alternative options?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at