Thursday, September 29, 2011
The End of Membership as We Know It
In her book, The End of Membership as We Know It, Sarah Sladek, makes important points – based on best practices in membership marketing -- that membership professionals should take to heart in order to grow a successful program.
Her fundamental thesis is that “three key shifts in our society have caused a decline in membership: economic rescission, demographic shifts, and rapidly changing technology. [And] while the economy is likely to rebound sooner or later, the other two influences are here to stay.” 1.
Sladek proposes a number of solutions to help in meeting these membership challenges.
The first is to focus on offering members’ better benefits. She maintains that “your association’s success hinges on one thing: member benefits. . . Members join your association because they believe in your ability to solve a problem for them. They renew their membership when you are successful at solving the problem.”2.
Some of these membership models that you might want to consider include what I call tiered membership, Freemium membership, online membership, and group membership.
Here is why I believe The End of Membership as We Know It is an important contribution to the literature on membership marketing. Complacency in membership marketing is the contagion that is most likely to hold back a membership program. This book serves as a wakeup call to remind marketers of the need to continue to research, innovate, test, and improve and to give those who do not see the need for change a warning of what could happen without action.
1. Sarah L. Sladek, The End of Membership as We Know it, ASAE, page 94.
2. Ibid. page 45.
3. Ibid. page 56.
4. Ibid. page 92.
5. Ibid. page 95.