Must-Have Membership Marketing Tools

As we start a new year, I get a number of requests from clients for membership evaluation and reporting tools. So I thought that I would share some links that may be of help in reporting on and analyzing your membership program. I hope you find them of help.

• Free download of the 2011 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report
• Membership “Steady State” Calculation to determine where your membership is headed
• Recommended Annual Membership Tracking Dashboard
Formulas to determine membership renewal rates, average tenure of a member, lifetime value, and maximum acquisition cost

Thanks for reading the Membership Marketing Blog this past year and best wishes for a happy, peaceful, and successful New Year.

How to Recognize a Good Strategy?

In our hearts we know it when we see it. We are told that the organization is going to launch a bold new strategy. But in reality we see that what is being presented is just a new goal with a bow tied around it.

That’s why I enjoyed an article I just read by Richard Rumelt titled, “The Perils of Bad Strategy”. He lays out the characteristics that point to a bad strategy and also what the ingredients are of a good strategy.

In sports, we see the impact of strategy played out in game situatons right before our eyes.  “Like a quarterback whose only advice to his teammates is ‘let’s win,’” Rumelt writes “bad strategy covers up its failure to guide by embracing the language of broad goals, ambition, vision, and values.” All of these items have their place, but they should not be mistaken for a strategy.

On the other hand, a good strategy is when “a talented leader has identified the one or two critical issues in a situation—the pivot points that can multiply the effectiveness of effort—and then focused and concentrated action and resources on them. A good strategy does more than urge us forward toward a goal or vision; it honestly acknowledges the challenges we face and provides an approach to overcoming them.”

Rumelt gives three steps that are important to developing a real strategy that can make a difference.

“1. A diagnosis: an explanation of the nature of the challenge. A good diagnosis simplifies the often overwhelming complexity of reality by identifying certain aspects of the situation as being the critical ones.

2. A guiding policy: an overall approach chosen to cope with or overcome the obstacles identified in the diagnosis.

3. Coherent actions: steps that are coordinated with one another to support the accomplishment of the guiding policy.”1.

As we start the New Year, take a look at the strategies that you have in place. Do they address the real problem or challenge your organization is facing? Is the strategy actionable? Does it provide a road map so each member of the team knows how they can achieve the strategy? If not, now may be a good time to step back and re-evaluate what your strategy should be.

1. Richard Rumelt, The Perils of Bad Strategy, McKinsey Quarterly, the business journal of McKinsey & Company, June 2011.

Non Dues Revenue and Affinity Programs for Members

Lists can be helpful to get brainstorming going on what additional products and services can be provided to members. My research shows that with each additional purchase from an organization the loyalty and tenure of a member increases.

So here is a quick list of possible non-dues revenue and affinity products that I have put together to get your thinking going. Please feel free to add any that I have missed in the comments section below.

1. Advertising
  a. Ad Sales
  b. Directory Sales
  c. Exhibits
  d. List Management
  e. Sponsorship

2. Association Products and Services
  a. Books, directories, periodicals
  b. Continuing education – seminars, webinars, meetings
  c. Conventions

3. Credit Card

4. Hotel Discounts

5. Insurance
  a. Auto Insurance
  b. Dental Insurance
  c. Disability Insurance
  d. Home Owners or Rental Insurance
  e. Hospital Insurance
  f. Identity Theft Insurance
  g. Life and AD&D Insurance
  h. Pet Insurance
  i. Professional Liability Insurance
  j. Travel Insurance
  k. Vision Insurance

6. Investments and Banking

7. Job Bank

8. Legal Services

9. Logo and Insignia Items

10. Medical Alert

11. Overnight Shipping Discounts

12. Prescription Program

13. Rental Car Discounts

14. Shopping Discounts
  a. Dining
  b. Flowers
  c. Fuel
  d. Office supplies
  e. Technology

Membership Marketing News You can Use

Here are a couple of news items that you may find of help.

First, the USPS will be increasing postal rates effective January 22.

• First Class Letter rate is increasing to $0.45 (up from $0.44)
• First Class Postcard rate is increasing to $0.32 (up from $0.29)
• Standard A Letter rate is increasing to $0.281 (up from $0.276)
• Non-Profit Letter rate is decreasing to $0.172 (down from $0.174)

Also, here are links to some job opportunities with membership marketing organizations that you may want to explore.

Director of Membership at a leading education association
Director of Membership and Marketing at national membership organization
Account Managers at leading direct marketing agency
Director of Marketing at a top membership association