Networking and Career Guidance

In addition to his work with me at Marketing General, Inc. my colleague, Vinay Kumar, also spends much of his time as a career coach.

I wanted to share a couple of links to some of his recent articles and posts on careers that I think you will find of help.

Today, Vinay had a piece appear in the Washington Post on how to network at a professional event or party. He provides some simple steps you can take to connect with others.

The Career Wheel
I also enjoyed his recent post, Keys to Career Satisfaction and Success. I have included his graphic here which highlights his career philosophy.

Under the “Good Blogs” section of this blog, you will find Vinay’s latest postings displayed. So when you need a good career suggestion, please click through to his blog.

Summer Reading

This summer I decided to try and read something more enduring than the latest marketing or business book. So when I received the book, The Cross of Christ, as a present, I decided to dive into it. The author, John Stott, served as an Anglican priest in London, but because of his writing has been recognized by Time magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” This is considered to be his classic work.

Even though the book is about themes with which I am familiar, I have found that the depth, perspective, and logic has taken the subject much deeper than I have considered before.

Here is a quote that provides an overview of the major themes of the book.

“The cross enforces three truths – about ourselves, about God and about Jesus Christ.

First, our sin must be extremely horrible. Nothing reveals the gravity of sin like the cross. For ultimately what sent Christ there was neither the greed of Judas, nor the envy of the priests, nor the vacillating cowardice of Pilate, but our own greed, envy, cowardice and other sins, and Christ’s resolve in love and mercy to bear their judgment and so put them away. . . .

Second, God’s love must be wonderful beyond comprehension. God could quite justly have abandoned us to our fate . . . But he did not. Because he loved us, he came after us in Christ. . . It is more than love. Its proper name is ‘grace’ which is love to the undeserving. . .

Third, Christ’s salvation must be a free gift. He ‘purchased’ it for us at the high price of his own life blood. So what is there left for us to pay? Nothing! . . . The same cross of Christ, which is the grounds of free salvation, is also the most powerful incentive to a holy life.”1

I will get back to membership marketing with my next post. I find that email, twitter, and phone calls take me away from thinking more deeply about big issues in life. I have enjoyed reading more deeply this summer.

1. John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ, IVP Books, pages 85-86.

Email Usage Up, but Effectiveness Rated Lower for Membership Recruitment

One of the benefits of publishing research is that people read it and provide feedback. Your ideas plus my ideas equals better insight.

One of my colleagues just pointed out to me that there is some important data in our Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report on how associations are using email and how effective it is for them.

When we look at several key membership marketing functions, our statistics show that email usage has grown from 2009 to 2010. The following chart shows the percentage of associations using email for building awareness with prospective members, getting new members engaged with the organization, and renewing members all increased.

Interestingly, when asked to rate the effectiveness of using email to recruit new members, those who said that email was the “most” effective channel, dropped from 24 percent in 2009 to 10 percent in 2010.

Bottom line, associations are using email more, but there may be a drop off in productivity.

What is your organizations experience?

Practical Uses of Social Media for Association Marketing

Last week I had the chance to facilitate a session at the ASAE and the Center’s Super Swap meeting.

Of course, the topic of social media came up for conversation. And my impression from those who shared made me feel that many associations are experimenting with various social media tools, but may not have a focused strategy in place on what they are trying to accomplish.

As I was thinking about it this week, I came across a post on the LeaderConnect blog that summed up many of my thoughts on the practical uses of social media really well. So I wanted to share the three points this blog made on practical social media strategies here.

• “In-bound marketing. You’re trying to “get found” in an age of media clutter and ever-more effective ways of blocking your marketing messages. Outbound marketing—advertising, direct mail, trade shows, PR—will always be necessary but our patience with that sort of messaging evaporated a long time ago. You want to be where your potential members are and position yourself as an organization with interesting, worthwhile things to offer. They come to you rather than you beating on their door begging to be let in.

Lead generation. You’re trying to find them without renting a list or paying the trade magazine in your industry to do it or buying a booth at a trade show in order to collect business cards. If you are in the right social media groups and you’re paying attention and posting content that the group cares about, you will find potential members (and speakers and sponsors and contributors).

The Deep Sell. We had a wonderful client at Pier 1 Imports years ago. He called content “the deep sell.” You are not selling Papa-san chairs. You are selling relationships, access to a network of smart people who share interests and want to have substantive, valuable exchanges of information. You can’t do that in a one-page ad. Social media enables you to explain yourself, to market yourself based on value rather than on price.”

The unifying strategy here is using social media to connect potential members and prospects with you. I describe it as an economical way to put a store on a major highway. Prospective members are driving by and social media can give them a place to pull over and connect with you. If you would like to read the entire post, here is the link.

Please let me know what you think.

7 Proven Ways to Grow Your Membership

In the July issue of Associations Now, I had the opportunity to write an article highlighting some of the key strategies needed for a growing and thriving membership ranging from acquisition to engagement to renewals.

I think you will find the article helpful.  It is available on ASAE and the Centers’ website. Feel free to download a copy. If you are a member, you can also comment on the points that I make.