Monday, September 27, 2010

Shout Out to Kogod Marketing Association

I had the distinct pleasure of speaking to about 22 very intelligent students from American University's Kogod Marketing Association. The Association is affiliated with the world renowned Kogod School of Business. What great school and a very impressive learning facility.

We talked about 'sales,' and what it takes to be a good salesperson. We talked about communication styles, personal evaluation of your own abilities, entrepreneurism, and much more.

Of special mention is Rachel Olsavicky, this year's president of the association. She is a real leader and, in my very humble opinion, has a tremendous future ahead of her.

Thanks kids for letting me bend your ear for an hour (maybe a little more...). I hope you found it helpful and enjoyed the time as much as I did.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

TSAE - Great People, Great Conference, a Great State!

I'm here in Dallas, Texas, speaking at the TSAE Annual Conference on the MGI 2010 Membership Benchmarking Study. This is my first time to a TSAE event - and what a great event. I saw some old friends from ASAE, and met several new ones like Chris Heaton of TMP, Chelsey Robles of TNLA, Bill McCausland of Texas Exes and his lovely wife, Asha Desai of AARC, Simeon May of NACBA, Scott Blech of EMDRIA, Cahterine Lee of TLA, and list goes on. All warm and interesting people.

Real pros as I like to say.

Whenever I speak I always learn something new or am blessed with the opportunity of "relearning" something...old. Or perhaps "old" is not the right word in this case...simple common sense. As many of you who have seen me talk know, for good or bad, about 80% of what I have to say is very planned's that 20% 'wild card' that sometimes offers either the greatest embarrassment or the greatest success. In this case I'm happy to say...greatest success.

While I presented on the results of the study, it was interesting to note that there seemed to be one very common problem among the 35 or so membership executives/pros who came to my session: communication. Did not matter if the association was membership or trade, large or small, state based or international. Most of the issues we ended up talking about were on communication between the association and members, members and members, and the association staff and itself.

So, the end game of this post is to take a lead from my personal 'Aha' moment. At the end of the day, there are no problems that can't be solved by good, solid communication. It sounds naive - even as I wrote it I thought "good grief, is this best you can do?" But, it is that simple. Its the exchange of ideas that offer the support and guidance that most of our members are looking for. Are there exceptions? Of course. But, I do believe that most of the time our greatest problems come from a lack of communication and can only be solved with an abundance of communication.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Are Renewal Incentives a Good Idea?

I read a posting on the ASAE Membership Listserve asking about “kinds” of renewal incentives to use. While I’m not against using (and have used) renewal incentives, I think that, if an association is delivering value, the ‘incentive’ is being realized throughout the year (you may want to test adjusting your renewal copy to indicate just that).

Incentives are great tools to provide that ‘little something extra’ to get someone to try something new or join. But, if after using the resources of the association for a year you still need to provide a ‘little something extra’ to get people to come back, perhaps you're missing something?  (In fact, here’s a thought: if you use a premium, perhaps you segment off those members who renewed to the premium offer and place them in an “intensive” engagement program” then try to renew them without the premium? Just a thought.)

That “something” could be pricing, the wrong people joined, lack of knowledge as to the resources provided by the association, inability to use/find resources to solve their issues (why they joined), left the company/industry, etc.(this feeds directly into using the MEMBERSHIP LIFECYCLE as a strategic diagnostic tool. If you'd like to learn more about it, I'd be happy to forward some information).

In all of these cases, I don’t really see a renewal premium as the ‘silver bullet,’ but I do see the need to analyze who is not renewing by:
•     Who joined (title, company, etc.)?
•     When they joined?
•     Why they joined?
•     Have they participated in the association?
•     To what extent have they participated?
•     Who is paying for their membership?
•     How long have they been members?
•     etc.

With that said, if you use a premium go with one that links directly to the value proposition – information, career tool, etc.  And keep it inexpensive, renewals are about increasing ROI.

That’s my two-cents.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Speaking at TSAE on September 20

I'll be speaking on the 2010 Membership Benchmarking Survey on September 20 at the TSAE Annual Conference in Dallas, Tx. It looks like it'll be a great show. If you have the time, I strongly recommend that you try to attend.

ASAE Annual Conference in LA -- LA LA Land Never Looked Soooo Good

Great conference. That's all I can say. Bravo to DJ and the rest of ASAE for putting on a terrific show.