Five Phases of the Membership Life Cycle

We have just put out a new white paper titled the Membership Marketing Life Cycle. It highlights the five major phases in the membership lifecycle:
  • Awareness
  • Recruitment
  • Engagement
  • Interdependence
  • Renewal
Over the next few posts, I would like to highlight each of these phases in the membership lifecycle.

First, let’s take a look at awareness. Membership marketing starts with one very important question. Do prospective members know who you are?Awareness is the measure of how successful your branding efforts have been to gain share of mind in your target audience. Until someone knows you, they are not likely to become a member or a customer. Or put another way, how does the bee find the flower?
Good direct marketing alone is not the best or most effective tool to build awareness. For example, the United Professional Sales Association (UPSA), desired to expand its strong and thriving local organization beyond the Washington, DC area. Members of UPSA attended meetings and established meaningful networking relationships.
However, when UPSA conducted a national membership development campaign, the results were less than they hoped to receive. The promotion was targeted to an audience that tracked with local membership. The challenge appeared to be one of awareness. The market that they sought to reach did not know and recognize their brand.

Fortunately, there are some tools available to membership marketers to help build awareness. These include:
  • Search engine optimization
  • Search engine ads
  • Public Relations
  • Word of Mouth Marketing
And when awareness is raised in key constituencies, results will follow. The U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) provides a good example this. USNI just completed a very strong membership growth year, but this growth was supported by a series of videos titled, Americans at War that highlighted the real life stories of their members. These video testimonies were so powerful that they went from You Tube to being picked up on run on PBS stations across the country.

How do you know if awareness is the challenge facing your membership marketing? The best way to find out may be to conduct a small test marketing effort to the prospects that you feel would be interested in joining your organization. If the returns are acceptable, there is enough awareness to move forward. If not, it might be time to cultivate a higher level of awareness before investing funds in selling.


Annaliese said...

Thanks for your posts, Tony. Where can we find the report referenced in this post?

Tony Rossell said...

Thanks for the request. I will be covering most of the report in my next few posts. I will try and get an electonic version put up and provide a link to it this week. Tony