Author: Shannon Dority, Marketing Executive
Providing a valuable and engaging member experience remains a top priority for all membership organisations and associations, but there is no doubt the disruption caused by the growth in digital technology has presented a challenge in delivering this effectively.
A common trend we have seen with our member organisation and association clients is that their members are no longer satisfied with just being a ‘member’ anymore; they want to receive a personalised experience that provides them value for their time and money. We now live in a world where we are all more connected and informed than ever before and your members are interacting with you just like they would with any main stream brand. So how can organisations remain relevant to their members and provide the levels of engagement they are expecting?
Ironically, the answer is with technology and the data it collects. The digital era is not something that should be perceive as a threat, but rather as an opportunity to become more member-centric, improve their engagement levels and overall value to their members. As your members interact with your organisation – whether its online or offline – they are providing you with invaluable information about who they are and what their needs are; including the content they consume, channels of communication and services that are important to them. This data is the key to your member engagement strategy and adopting a technology platform that has the ability to collect this information from different data points and store in one place is of the greatest importance to creating a valuable experience for your members.
Once you have this technology in place and are collecting this data, you can implement a truly data-driven member engagement strategy. Here are a few tips of how to utilise your technology and the data it collects to improve the delivery of your member experience.
Understand what value means to each individual member and tailor their experience
All of your members are individuals and wish to be viewed as such. They all will have a different reason for joining your organisation and wanting to engage with your offerings. By collecting this information along with their demographic data (age, job, location, stage in career, etc) and personal preferences (print mail vs email, CPD, journal types if more than one, newsletters, etc), you can build comprehensive profiles that give you a single view of your members. By bringing this information together, you can begin to understand your members’ needs and how to tailor an experience that gives them the most value out of their membership.
Continually test, review and update your member offerings
As the demographics and patterns of your membership evolves, so should your offerings. By regularly analysing the collected data, you can identify trends that emerge with the consumption of your content, products and services. From this, you can determine what is resonating with your members and what is not, tweak the not-so-popular offerings to be more relevant, and test it with your members. This data can also be used to identify a service gap opportunity, such as a new CPD course, which would increase membership value that you can develop and market. Using the data to adopt a continuous data-driven product and services development cycle is the best way to continuously remain relevant to your members in an ever changing world.
The member experience extends beyond your existing member base
While the focus of your engagement will be with your existing members, you can’t ignore your entire audience which includes non-members and website registrants or subscribers. In today’s digital world, it is more than likely that your services are reaching a wider audience that have expressed interest in what you have to offer, like the content you produce for your journal. Knowing and understanding who they are with the data available is extremely important; it can feed into the two points above and help evolve your strategy going forward (and possibly turn them into new satisfied members, which is an added bonus).
This article was written by Shannon Dority, Marketing Executive, Abacus eMedia (MemberWise Recognised Supplier). Abacus eMedia was Official Member Experience Sponsor at our national membership best practice conference, Membership Excellence 2016.