Ten Top Tips from the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report

One of the most enjoyable projects that I work on each year is the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report. As I have noted on this blog, I was very appreciative to have 407 associations participate in the research this year. If you were one of those groups, you should have received a link to the full report last week.

Today, I wanted to share ten top tips from the hundreds of findings appearing in the report.

1. Out of a list of 10 options, association executives are most likely to rank growth in member counts (22%), revenue growth (21%), and net revenue growth (21%) as the primary definition of success for their organization.

2. Findings indicate a more marked difference in membership growth of over 11% for those organizations focused on acquisition rather than those focused on retention or on a balanced strategy (18%: acquisition vs. 4%: retention and 9%: both), the five year change in membership (38%: acquisition vs. 27%: retention and 34%: both), and the change in new members (24%: acquisition vs. 7%: retention and 16%: both).

3. For associations with over 5,000 members, direct mail is considered the most effective channel for new member recruitment.

4. While Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most commonly used social media tools, they are not necessarily considered the most effective in reaching membership goals by association executives. In fact, the most effective social networking tools are considered to be those that are basically housed within the association itself, namely the association listserv (50%) and/or a private association social network (39%).

5. Approximately two-thirds of respondents report using mailed welcome kits, a decrease from the 2009 study of 15 percentage points (68% in 2010 vs. 83% in 2009). However, findings indicate that associations with greater than 80% renewal are significantly more likely to use the mailed welcome kits (75% vs. 58%).

6. Directionally, findings demonstrate that associations with overall increases in membership over the past year, as well as those with renewal rates higher than 80% are more likely to attempt more renewal contacts before a membership expires. These increases in renewal rates appear after seven contacts.

7. Associations with renewal rates of 80% or higher are significantly more likely to offer EFT renewals (14% vs. 3%) as well as installment payment plans (55% vs. 35%). Associations with renewal rates less than 80% are significantly more inclined to offer multi-year renewals (54% vs. 18%).

8. Associations showing an increase in renewals over the past year are significantly more likely to offer automatic credit card renewals, compared to associations with declines in renewals (29% vs. 17%).

9. Unlike in the 2009 study, price is not the top driver responsible for non-renewals; in fact, one-third of the association executives indicate that they believe members do not renew because they perceive a lack of value in the organization. This is an increase of about 80%.

10. Associations did not experience radical changes in membership numbers over the past year. The largest percentage of increases or declines in membership ranged from 1% to 5% of the previous year’s total.

If you would like, you can download a copy of the 2010 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report here to see the data and charts associated with these tips. Web site registration is required for the download.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and reaction to the report in the comments section below.


David M. Patt, CAE said...

Associations should not rely on only one venue to recruit members (and they should not just select the least expensive option).

Multiple hits through various venues will result in greater success.

Visits to my association's web site spike whenever I send direct mail. And online registrants are likely to sign up for programs in response to mailed information.

Tony Rossell said...

David -- I always appreciate your perspective and comments on this blog. I agree with you, for success a broad marketing mix is very important. There is no one silver bullet to membership marketing. Tony

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