2017 Member Engagement Strategy

2017 Member Engagement Strategy

 

Market uncertainty and the pace of change will continue to impact membership decisions at professional societies and trade associations. Looming external factors will play a significant role in how membership decisions will be made.  The outcome of the U.S. Presidential and Congressional Elections, economic performance inside and outside the United States, mergers and acquisitions, baby boomer retirements, terror threats, and technology disruptions will influence whether or not professionals and corporate executives engage in their associations. Actionable Data can help organizations surface opportunities that can help members drive their professional and industry outcomes. Moreover, the data can serve as the foundation for a 2017 Member Engagement Strategy that can position your organization as a more relevant and necessary resource for your members.

Engage More and Sell Less

2017 Member Engagement StrategyIn terms of 2017 Member Engagement Strategy, utilize data and research to build your partnership with professions and industries. This can create a more positive dynamic that links your organization with the business and professional outcomes that members seek in an uncertain world. Getting your organization there requires a different look at the external landscape and the challenges that plague your members. Selling more or selling louder will hinder instead of help your 2017 Member Engagement Strategy.

Actionable Member Engagement Data

Understanding the extent to which your organization impacts industry or professional business outcomes is the foundation of your 2017 Member Engagement Strategy. Having actionable data (through focus groups, surveys, or industry or professional roundtables) helps your organization understand the external market challenges. Traditional satisfaction surveys and focus groups won’t provide the data that your organization must have to build an effective engagement strategy. What adds the most value is an Engagement and Impact dialogue where you surface more compelling professional and industry challenges and opportunities for your members.

In the 2014 Strategic Member Engagement Survey, organizations who regularly conduct impact surveys instead of “satisfaction” surveys report stronger operating performance than those who survey less frequently:

Survey Frequency Survey Annually Survey Infrequently
3-Year Operating Trends:
Retention up 31.90% 24.10%
Annual revenue up 55.10% 39.80%
Primary meeting registrations up 40.60% 31.30%
Fee for Service revenue up 43.50% 21.70%
Timely membership renewals up 31.90% 16.90%

Internal Perception Versus Member Reality

Associations and Professional Societies can avoid falling into a trap by separating internal perceptions from member realities. For example, securing actionable data focused on professional and industry business outcomes will help your organization build more meaningful 2017 Member Engagement Strategies.

In a recent Member Engagement Study released by Abila with surveys conducted by Edge Research , a new and unique approach helped uncover how and why members engage at membership organizations. The study reveals the differences in perception that occur from both a member and an organizational perspective. This research ventured to answer “four essential questions”:

  • What matters most to members when they join an organization?
  • What makes members feel involved and engaged?
  • How can Organizations better communicate?
  • Are organizations engaging members in a segmented, targeted, personal way?

Abila and Edge Research surveyed over 1,000 members in the United States in all age segments and also surveyed 150 Association Professionals. The online surveys were conducted between April 7 and April 25, 2016. Some of the differences in perceptions among members and professional membership organizations include:

  • Inclusiveness. Where 72 percent of organizational professionals see their organization as inclusive of different opinions, only 60 percent of the members who were surveyed share this view.
  • Responsiveness. Some 68 percent of members note their organizations as responsive, and 91 percent of organizations see themselves as responsive.
  • Good Value. From a member perspective, 63 percent see value for the membership fee. From an organizational perspective, 81 percent believe they are getting good value.

Utilizing survey approaches similar to this one will help your organization build a profession or industry focused 2017 Member Engagement Strategy. It’s all about how well you utilize the data to build engagement strategies that align with the challenges and opportunities that matter most to your members.

Drive and Help Define Their Future Outcomes

Associations and professional societies are facing increased competition from for profit companies, self-forming share groups, new associations and industry coalitions. Utilizing actionable data to develop your 2017 Member Engagement Strategy helps your organization establish uniqueness in the marketplace.  For example, the more your engagement strategy positions your organization to help support professional and industry outcomes for your members the better. Those organizations who have pivoted to this approach are impacting industry outcomes and reporting impressive operating performance:

2017 Member Engagement Strategy

A key component of your organization’s success will be your ability to unlock actionable data to construct its 2017 Member Engagement Strategy. Having data that surfaces new opportunities while it helps your organization develop meaningful 2017 Member Engagement Strategy can create the win you hope for next year and beyond.

2017 Member Engagement Strategy

 

 

 

Free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available upon request for all Association Executives at Potomac Core – Association Consulting

post brexit associations

Post Brexit Associations

The Brexit vote in the United Kingdom along with modest and subdued global economic growth will continue to affect corporate decisions on external costs not related to top line growth and operating performance. Associations in a number of instances are increasingly more relevant, and have strategic objectives closely aligned with the industries they serve. These organizations also have the characteristics that define Post Brexit Associations.  However, in a rapidly evolving global market, how aligned is your association in order to help your members and their industries meet new challenges?

recession ready association

The Recession Ready Association

It’s been seven years since the end of the great recession and one economist thinks there is a 60% chance of a recession next year. As global uncertainty and slow U.S. economic growth dominate the landscape, CEO’s should assess whether or not they are leading a recession ready association. While the next recession may not be as severe as the last one, be rest assured that business leaders are continually increasing scrutiny over expenditures not related to corporate performance.

Association Relevance

Association Relevance Despite Market Turbulence

In an era of unending economic challenges and uncertainty, industries must be relevant in order to grow. KPMG’s 2016 report “Setting the Course for Growth: CEO Perspectives” underscores how today’s CEO is laser focused on staying relevant in a turbulent global market. In order to remain relevant to their members Trade Association CEO’s focus more on understanding industry challenges then helping drive industry outcomes. Achieving Association Relevance Despite Market Turbulence is how CEO’s can position their organizations for long term growth and durability.

Regulatory Activity Reshaping Associations

Regulatory Activity Reshaping Associations

Where are CEO’s planning to spend their time in 2016? According to a KPMG study of 400 Chief Executives, “34% spend more time with regulators or are considering doing so.” The same report notes the regulatory environment as the number one issue that can “impact a company”, and adapting to government regulation is ranked as CEO’s second most critical challenge. For companies, the spike in regulatory activity is real. In 2015, Thomson Reuters published its sixth annual Cost of Compliance Survey noting among other challenges “regulatory fatigue.” Is the increase in regulatory activity reshaping associations?

active innovation

Data Fuels Active Innovation

In a growing trend, Association CEO’s and their Board Members are utilizing economic data as important context for their strategic deliberations. Jobs data, Housing StartsInstitute for Supply Management Index (ISM), Oil Prices, Consumer Spending, and U.S. Dollar Performance against other currencies is a more frequent topic at Association Strategic Planning Sessions. Although Strategic Plans cover 3 year windows, Boards encourage their CEO’s to be flexible and to use trend data to meet shifting demands to help their industries. In essence, economic data fuels active innovation at Associations.

Positive Association Disruption

Positive Association Disruption

Can positive association disruption reverse the fortunes for industry professionals and an organization? In a weak economic growth environment, it’s a daunting task. According to the 2016 PWC U.S. CEO Survey concerns “over volatility and over-regulation are rising.” What’s more, Reuters reported that retail sales slipped in a recent report and fourth quarter U.S. economic growth was only 1%.  How can an Association overtake an economic cycle and put its members and itself in the driver’s seat? The answer is its possible and for one Association it yielded a $1 million turnaround in operating performance.

Disruptive Advocacy Strategies

Disruptive Advocacy Strategies

Can Disruptive Advocacy Strategies unlock industry growth and cost saving opportunities for your members in a slow growth economy?  While the possibility of a recession seems unlikely this year, growth remains a challenge for many industries. According to the Conference Board, U.S. growth in 2016 is forecast at 2.0% while Global growth is forecast slightly higher at 2.5%. As increasing regulatory oversight dominates the federal and global landscape, building an agency focused strategy on behalf of your members can pay dividends for the industry and for your association.

disruptive innovation

Disruptive Innovation Creates Association Opportunities

Disruptive Innovation “describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses.” In a slowing and uneven global economy, are your members looking somewhere else for lower cost and innovative solutions? Are your members less confident about their growth opportunities than they were a year or two ago? Does your membership perceive your association as being aligned with their business and professional goals? Having actionable data that answers these questions is more important than ever for associations in a world of disruptive innovation.