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Using Data and Using Technology to Drive Member Engagement and Acquisition. Best Practices & Issues

Co-Moderators Melody Jordan-Carr, VP Membership, American Trucking Association (ATA) and Darryl Walter, Director of Membership, Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) led an amazing discussion among 39 Association Membership and Marketing Directors on June 9, 2020 for the Presidential Forum Roundtable via Zoom Web-conference.

A quick Zoom Poll of the attendees at the outset revealed that almost all of the Directors viewed their Association to have some level of technology adoption in place to help them with member engagement and acquisition.  Only 5 attendees said that they are using some form of AI (artificial intelligence) software to assist in this process.  With the onset of covid-19, about half of the attendees considered their level of effort needed to maintain member engagement was about “the same” as compared to pre covid-19;  the other half respondents were split evenly between finding it “easier” or “harder” to engage members in the post covid-19 environment.

One of the Directors mentioned that their top priority is constantly updating and maintaining the accuracy of their member and non-member database.  Several associations spoke about the difficulty of managing member data that was housed in different silos of the organization, and challenges to consolidate that data into a single warehouse.

Communication within the department as well as across the association was viewed as critical for success.  One director mentioned the issue of not having an internal communication plan.  Another director shared a strategy which is working effectively at his association whereby an ongoing marketing calendar updated each week is available to all departments so that they are aware of the timing of outbound communications.  This solved a previous issue of having various departments sending out emails or promotions to members in a non-coordinated manner leading to frequent “bombardment” of emails to members.

Another director shared how she is using data to help inform how to engage members.  For example, utilizing a community-software, the director regularly reviews posts by members to determine topics of current importance.  Her association then curates content around those topics and utilizes that material for outreach to members and non-members.  In addition, by tracking the last time that a member logged-in, this director is able to determine what new information to send out to the member based on what they may have missed since the last time they logged in.  They also utilize an app for push notifications to their constituents.  Regarding the adoption of new technology, this director also found it valuable to have a Board member on the association that is tech saavy, and then to engage that Board member to assist in championing the adoption of new technologies or tech-based initiatives.

What has been the effect of covid-19 with regard to member engagement?  One director mentioned that they opened up the association’s online resources to members and non-members alike at no cost.  This led to a large increase in new memberships and renewals.  They also created a non-member newsletter which also helped in driving member acquisition.

Our sponsor was Rasa.io, a company specialized in online newsletter creation for member based organizations utilizing AI to curate the content.  The result is that each e-Newsletter is automatically customized to each recipient based upon the content that he/she has read in the past.  Why You Should Stop Doing Newsletters Manually  Ron Berns, Senior Sales Executive, from Rasa.io gave a 7-minute overview of eNewsletter product and how Associations like ASAE American Marketing Association and others utilize it. For more information contact Ron Berns at ron.berns@rasa.io

 

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