I had a fun conversation with my good friend Tony Rossell this morning. The focus was on the marketing savvy of the auto industry and how we as association marketers could learn a little something from them.
Granted, the auto industry has not done well of late, but when it comes to effectively developing and offering a specific car to a specific market, they really have shown their "metal." Just look at Toyota. It has looked at the "Car Buyer Life Cycle" (remember the "Membership Life Cycle"), and developed product, and targeted marketing, to each phase of that life cycle. From first car - possibly a Scion - to luxury sedan - if one can imagine, a Lexus - Toyota provides a product for every phase.
Carrying this thought to associations, since membership is in essence a "bundled product sale," couldn't associations do this? Yes, we offer student memberships and that is certainly a first step. But perhaps we need to take a closer look at our own Membership Life Cycles, and identify other niche's than the simple "student, regular member, retired" that we almost always rely upon.
After all, Toyota offers the Prius, to those environmentally conscious car buyers who might have gone to another company if they could not get an environmentally friendly auto from them.