By Guest Blogger:

Tabby Duff, Digital Marketing Executive



Digital Transformation is Nonsense and Your Members Don’t Care

Last week myself, Tom, Mark, and Mike joined Rich Gott, Founder & Chair of MemberWise to deliver a seminar titled, ‘Digital Transformation is Nonsense and Your Members Don’t Care. Each year we deliver two seminars with MemberWise which cover a range of themes and topics, and for this particular event, the team were keen to talk about all things around member value. If you couldn’t make it, we wanted to give you a quick overview of what went down and some of the highlights from the day.

The seminar was held at Carlton House Terrace in central London, a quick walk from where we were staying in Covent Garden. Despite the early start, we were absolutely delighted to see 21 delegates show up from a huge variety of membership organisations including The Woodland Trust and BHTA.

The morning began with networking breakfast and coffee (check out that pastry selection!), before Rich kicked off with the intros and a presentation on digital trends in the membership sector. He discussed the top goals in the membership sector, noting that the top 3 goals are increasing member engagement (which is the #1 goal for the 3rd year running), member acquisition and member retention.

Other interesting stats from Rich’s presentation were:

  • 56% of organisations regularly report website statistics to senior management,
  • 49% review analytics at operational meetings,
  • Only 10% are generating reports that provide engagement scores.

Rich felt that these stats in particular are detrimental to progressing the goal of increasing member engagement.

He then went on to cover mobile apps, and the fact that 72% of membership organisations don’t yet have one. Of those that do, 55% are only ‘fairly satisfied’ with it – so there’s definitely room for some serious improvement in the app space.

You can read more about the pros and cons of a membership app over on the MemberWise blog. We also have a blog post titled Mobile Apps & Membership: Do you even need one? in which we cover the value of an app for membership organisations, and whether an app could be relevant for you.

Rich concluded his session looking into personalisation – although 78% of members expect personalisation as a given, 53% don’t personalise their web content. He closed the session with a few recommendations for going forwards, including:

  • Review your online and offline member value proposition,
  • Establish what you, and your members, want from digital transformation,
  • Create a clear digital strategy.

Then it was time for Tom and Mark to take the stage with their main presentation all about digital transformation, why they had chosen this as the topic to cover, and what it even means in the first place.

Well, turns out it can mean quite a lot. Whether it’s big data, CMS, social media or artificial intelligence – all of the above can fall under this umbrella of ‘digital transformation.’ But there’s a huge misunderstanding – digital transformation suggests a need to throw everything out and start from scratch, and Tom explained why that’s simply not the case. He even threw in some great references to Channel 4’s Grand Designs and how essentially, although ‘transformation’ sounds like a great idea, you’re usually just left at the end with no money and a mud pit to call home.

Tom ran through the various worries that organisations have when it comes to digital transformation, from feeling left behind to wondering how everything will possibly work together. However, he noted that often because organisations are so worried, they end up losing sight of what’s important: member value.

So, is there another way? According to Tom and Mark, yep – digital strategy. Buying everything in one go is rarely the best approach: the correct strategy starts with alignment to member value.

Further highlights, tips & tricks from the talk:

  • If you’re considering an app, there needs to be value. Don’t just get one for the sake of it.
  • Back in 2000, everyone got their news from the papers, but by 2010 this was places like In 2020, we think this will all be done in apps.
  • Apps = personal, convenient, entertainment, educational, interpersonal.
  • However, it’s less about the app itself and more about those main goals of member engagement and improving member experience.

Cantarus demonstrated various apps like National Trust, MemberWise and the College of Optometrists app, the latter two built on our MemConnect platform.

So, the final key takeaways from the overall session were:

  • Start with member needs
  • Iterate quickly
  • There are no silver bullets.

We ended the morning with a Q&A session and some more networking. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and had a great and insightful morning, and we made plenty of connections. It was fantastic to see people that had travelled into London for the seminar too.

Thanks again to the MemberWise team for sponsoring the seminar and putting on a great morning. We’re already looking forward to the next one!

If you’d be interested in attending our next seminar, please let us know.

Cantarus is a multi-award-winning full-service digital agency specialising in delivering websites & with deep expertise and an outstanding client portfolio in the membership sector.