Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Keep BUNDLED Memberships from being Bungled Memberships

I just returned from Vancouver where I spoke at the CESSE Annual Conference. What a fantastic conference in a fantastic city.

One of the two sessions I spoke on was "Creating Irresistible Bundling Packages for Ultimate Member/Customer Value." I was fortunate to be speaking with my good friends Richard Fischer, Naylor LLC, and Jim Warren, FMA.

As I lead off the session, my portion was composed of what "bundling" is and recommendations of "do's and don'ts" which I'll now share with you.

What is Bundling?
Bundling refers most commonly to the “inclusion or addition” of other memberships, products or services to the basic membership offer.  It “is” a tried and true way to recruit more members and sell more products

Why Consider its Use?
Allows an association to add “immediate real or perceived value” to the membership offer, helps overcome possible objectives to join – (value add), and helps sell other products or services at the point of the initial membership sale. It also Helps differiate your offer vs. competitors and can be used for market or product expansion.

Items Typically Bundled?
Additional memberships, books or publications, conference ttendance (#1, MGI Benchmark Survey) and just about anything of value can be considered.

If you're unsure as to what items to bundle, a quick look at the results of the soon to be released 2011 Membership Benchmarking Survey indicated that organizations with members in the following activities were more likely to have renewal rates over 80% compared to organizations that did not offer these programs:
  • attendance at annual convention
  • attendance at a professional development meeting
  • attendance at a webinar
  • volunteering
  • participation in the private social network
  • participation in young professionals program
  • purchase of a book or directory, certification, insurance, or other miscellaneous non-dues product or service
Picking the wrong bundle can harm the offer, so before you choose, a good rule of thumb is to:
  • Ask Members or Prospects What They Want
  • Look at Buying Trends, Can 1+1 =3?
  • Know the economics – “don’t give away the store”
  • Understand that "An offer to good to believe” may not be believed
  • and as always...Test, Test, Test

I want to thank Rick Whelan, President of MGI, for his advice and counsel on this information. If you don't know Rick, I suggest you find a few minutes and introduce yourself. He is a great guy to work with and "bat ideas around." Tell him that I sent you.

If your association offers bundled memberships, perhaps you'll describe what they are and your experiences with them?

Experts in Membership Marketing is written by Erik Schonher, Vice President & Strategist for Marketing General Incorporated. He can be reached at (703) 706-0358 or via email at 



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