Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Are Your Member Communications Relevant?

In discussions centered around the Membership Lifecycle, a key ingredient from the perspective of the member is 'relevance.' I know that this is a "blinding flash of the obvious" as an old friend from my Tyson Foods days would say, but I'm always astounded by how quickly marketers forget about it in their promotions.

If we follow the Membership Lifecycle, starting at "Awareness," the only reason we become aware or acknowledge an association or a product is that, at that point in time, it became relevant to us - in either a good OR bad way. We continue to grow that awareness by continually proving the relevance of the membership or product to the individual.

At some point, we "ask for the sale" but not until we usually demonstrate one final point of relevance to the now member/customer. They "Join."

We then ask them to "Engage" with the association by filling out surveys, buying more product, attending conferences or participating in delivery of some value that the association provides to its membership (committees, articles, etc.). Again, relevancy is key to continued engagement. If the Annual Softball outing is not relevant to me, why would I participate?

At "Renewal," we ask the member/customer to continue our relationship. But, if we're not relevant to the member, why would he/she? Therefore, many of the most successful renewal programs continually remind the member of why they are relevant to them.

Now to my point...

If we agree on the importance of relevancy in our on-going, ever increasing, communications with our members/customers, why do we continue to offer up one-size-fits-all tactics? While many don't have the technology necessary to subset their data based upon buying behavior, age, sex, length of membership...or the like...that doesn't mean that they can't do some level of personalization using simple overlays (that don't cost an arm-and-a-leg), or by source, or other ways. It simply takes a little imagination and some time.

If doing this will increase your renewal rate a few points, isn't that 'relevant' to you?

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