Association board members tell us that developing the strategy for success seems more complicated than ever. Members expect more. Professionals who used to rely on an association now have countless channels to access products, services and experiences. Increasing competition from related nonprofits and corporations siphons off dollars that normally would have flowed to the association. How can your association stay competitive?
MCI partnered with FairControl and recently launched the American Engagement Index to measure the performance, relationship strength and outcome of engagement tactics as seen through the eyes of association members and non-member customers in the US. More than 87,000 members and customers of ten US associations were invited to share how they rated their association’s overall performance, its benefit and value, and preference for it over other comparable providers.
The mix of product and service offerings is at the top of the list of critical elements that associations use to engage their members. Key insights include:
• Member Needs Change: Audiences at different points in their membership relationship lifespan have different product needs and different preferences in terms of how they’re hearing about them. Rethink benefits according to where a person is in their professional development or business need.
• Give Them Products They Want: The more relevant products you have in your portfolio, the stronger the engagement and relationship strength. Leading product types according to US members and customers were editorial pubs, standards, professional guides to good practices and conferences.
• Don’t Waste Time on Products They Don’t Want: It is a significant drag on the association’s ability to engage and improve relationships if they maintain a large portfolio of products that are not in demand or have become less so.
• Target and Personalize Communications for Impact: Besides getting membership and product relevance right, associations have an urgent need to create more opportunities to cultivate engagement through more targeted means of communication. Recognize that what members and customers want is often highly individual.
MCI USA can help your association deliver the sort of personalized, high-touch relationships your members experience in other areas of their professional and personal lives.