Authors: Katherine Grimshaw and Kim Ansell, K2 Consulting

 So…… done your market research, product analysis, reviewed your assets, chosen a couple of markets to pilot so off we go.  Or do we?

Your Council/Board have agreed the strategy, the President/Chair is engaged and ready to enthuse a new audience about being a member, launch events and meetings with potential partners are booked in Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.

You have a proposition which you plan to evaluate and validate and you have objectives for the visit.  But are you really ready to take this initial step and how do you plan to respond and follow up?

Your organisation needs to start its transition from being a national organisation to an international body.  This has to start right at the top, but will need to engage everyone across the organisation.

Website and customer engagement

  • Is your website ready to cope with the queries that you expect to come flooding in after that event/visit?
    • Is there a local or an international toll free, phone number for people to ask questions? Do you have +44 in front of your UK phone number?
  • What will potential members hear if they call out of office hours and is it a suitable message?
  • Do you have some local members/partners on standby to deal with very market specific questions?

Payments, products and pricing

  • Does your member services team know how to deal with queries about what a Malaysian or Dubai member gets for their subscription?
  • Can the would-be student/member in Malaysia/Dubai actually pay their subscription and do you have credit card facilities on your website? If not what are the options?
  • Are there any special offers as part of your first visit and if so are the terms and conditions crystal clear?
  • Do you have a response ready for anyone who requests differential pricing
    • Do it or don’t do it, but either way it needs careful consideration as the implications and messages you give by choosing one or another can affect the perception you create.
  • Are there any currency, exchange rate or VAT implications for you?

Language and culture

  • Have you asked someone who doesn’t know about your member proposition to read your marketing collateral?
  • Are your ‘customer facing’ staff able to be sensitive to anyone who does not understand your processes and procedures?
  • Do they know how to deal with customers whose first language is not English?
  • Have you taken out all those geographic specific words – spring, autumn, out of your exam timetable or your online conference programme?
  • Are you aware of national holidays and different working weeks?

Product relevance and accessibility

  • Do you already know what the local equivalents or entry standards are for accessibility to your membership or qualifications?
  • A Q&A or crib sheet should be prepared so that staff can deal professionally with enquiries.

Processes and data

  • Are you ready to print and mail out the things you mail in the UK, to your new customers in your new market, and can you get your stuff through customs?
  • Are your data entry rules equipped to deal consistently with names, universities, countries etc.?
  • Are there any data protection issues relating to your activity?
  • Do you know what data you can collect from international prospects?

If your first step is a pilot or in this phase you are learning by experience you will need to decide how many of these issues need to be addressed before you go.  Can you put some short term work arounds in place until you have evaluated the scale and scope of the opportunity?  The people in your organisation will have the most expertise to help you decide and prepare, but you will need to validate this with external advice.  The Memberwise network is a good place to start for this.

Finally, before you set off do you have a clear picture of what success will look like for your organisation?  If not then we would recommend that you do!

Authors: Katherine Grimshaw and Kim Ansell, K2 Consulting

K2 Consulting are experienced strategy and development consultants with a track record of delivering value for membership, professional qualification and higher education organisations.


2017-10-17T13:57:06+00:00 Tuesday, 27 September, 2016|Categories: Advice & Tips|Tags: , |0 Comments

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