Saturday, September 17, 2011

What information should I be collecting for my membership marketing program?


I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to speak and lecture quite a bit around the country on membership marketing. One question that I get more than any others is "What Information should my association collect for membership marketing?" 

First step, start by looking at your members.  Simply put, new members will "look" like current members.
Next, to build a profile of your existing members, you must have more than just the basic contact information for each member.However a word of caution…before you tie up resources and start any initiative to collect information, you need to figure out what you’ll do with the information. You must ask “How will this information help us with our Mission?”
Members are essential to the completion of every association's Mission. 
Therefore, as every association needs members, they must figure out how to attract new members and retain current members. This database needs to provide information that you can use to understand what your members want, how they want to communicate, what they respond to, and a host of other metrics that will help you develop and refine your member acquisition, engagement and retention programs.
Since associations come in many forms, trade, individual, some mix of both, lets take a 5,000-foot-view of what “types” of information you might want to collect:
- Information that can be used to find lists of non-member association prospects.
- Information that will provide insight into why your members joined the association.
- Information that will help you understand why members renew.
With this context set, in addition to basic contact information, here are some suggestions of specific information you will find useful in developing and refining your membership marketing plans:
·      Join date (and a separate rejoin date in case they expire but rejoin a year or two later)
·      Source (where they came from)
·      Number of years in the industry
·      Title/responsibility
·      Offer (what membership offer/message did they respond to)
·      Expectations (reason for joining)
·      Product purchase history
·      Engagement activity (committee participation, comments on Listservs, conferences/webinares attended, etc.)
There are obviously more, and to some point, they are dependent upon each association. However, if you collecting even 3 or 4 of the above, you’re doing better than many of your peers.
Your association's database may not have everything you need to effectively market to non-members, but that doesn't mean you can't ask for it. With the right information in hand, your membership marketing can be much more effective. Just be certain that you don't waste your association's resources or your members' time by asking for information that isn't truly useful.
Let me know what information that you’re collecting and how you’re using it.

Experts in Membership Marketing is written by Erik Schonher, Vice President, Marketing General Incorporated. If you have any questions concerning the content, Erik can be reached by phone at (703) 706-0358 or email at Erik@MarketingGeneral.com

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