How much are you spending?

Back on July 5th, we had some dialog on my post related to how much an association in theory could spend to acquire a new member – the Maximum Acquisition Cost (MAC). The MAC calculates the long term margin a member generates and in theory one could spend the entire margin to acquire a new member.

I though it would be interesting to take a look and see what individual membership organizations (IMO) and trades actually spend on membership marketing. To find out, I took a look at ASAE’s Policies and Procedures in Association Management, Vol. 6.

According to the book, the median percent of the total budget allocated to all marketing is 4% for IMO’s and 5% for Trades. Of this budget, 20% goes to “Membership Marketing”. Membership marketing is not defined as acquisition, retention, or renewal.

Based on this data, we can calculate that IMO’s are only spending 0.8% of their budgets on membership marketing and Trades are spending 1%.

I am surprised that any organization can sustain itself, let alone grow with this level of spending on new members (or for for-profits) on new customers.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Matt Baehr said...

I agree 1% is small, but to say that only 20% of marketing dollars are spent on membership marketing is misleading. Isn't every piece of marketing about membership in some way? The piece may be about the trade show, but I bet there is a member and non-member price listed. Yet it is billed as an exhibits expense.

Hopefully everything you produce has a little membership piece tied to it. Then who cares how you budget it?