Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Albert Einstein said it best...

It's the end of a decade, time to reflect on who I am, what I want, and what I want to be when I grow up. In my personal reflection, I found a wonderful quote that inspired me. I also found it relevant for association and membership marketers.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "Try not to be a man of success, but a man of value." This axiom is vital for every association - membership, trade and everything between the two. No matter what your association's membership model may be, your success is tied to how valuable your members think you are to them.

We need to leave the build-it-and-they-will-come attitude behind us in this last decade. We now need to focus on the value that we promise and the value that we deliver to each individual member.

And boy is that hard! Every member has their own expectation and definition of value when it comes to their membership. That means we need to understand these expectations, prioritize them (some are more important than others), and do our best to deliver. And add on to this the fact that these expectations and definitions continually change based on any number of influencers that you have no contol over - economy, job, car trouble...you name it.

In looking at this, I'm reminded of the all-knowing Sales Funnel, where we establish specfic criteria to define niche-markets within a specific market. The wonderful thing about technology is that we can do this with our membership database and find those niche markets. We can then test tactics to engage our members and actually measure how well we are doing to satisfy those expectations. The ultimate measure of course is if they renew.

So, as we venture into the next decade, let's once and for all leave behind the idea that one-size-fits-all and embrace the variety and complexity of our members and work to not just satisfy a basic, group's need, but a group of select, individual's need.


  1. Good advice, Erik.
    I'm reminded of another Einstein quote: "We must make things as simple as possible--but no simpler!" It warns of a similar trap associations often fall into. Whether it's avoiding one-size-fits-all messaging or not relying on just one communication channel (forgoing direct mail for email), we must insure that our organizations do what works, not just what's easy.

  2. Erik -- I am reading a book now by Simon Sinek titled, Start with Why. While I do not agree with everything he says, I think that he makes some good points that will benefit me personally, but also apply to associations. For me, the book helps clarify why I do what I do. My goal is to use the gifts that I have to help associations be more effective and accomplish their mission. Here is how this plays out. I may not be able to impact the world by teaching kids to read, but if I can help associations that help teachers perform more effectively then I am making a difference. In the same way, if I can help a medical association help members heal better then I have made a difference. Answering the question "why?" is an important driver to fulfillment and success.

  3. Thank you Wayne and Tony. Great comments and I appreciate your wisdom. Have a wonderful 2010.