Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Social Media & Internet have replaced 2 of top 3 reasons members join: What does this mean for your association?

Erik D. Schonher, vice president of Marketing General Incorporated, shared a summary of the 2012 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report on m.asaecenter.org. It was headlined: Top 10 Benchmarks in Membership Marketing.

Good stuff. And, a special thanks to Marketing General for this annual survey.

“Among the findings of Marketing General Incorporated's 2012 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report: Higher dues correlate with higher renewal rates, and word of mouth and email are two of the most preferred marketing channels for associations. Find out more in these highlights from the report.”
Of the Top 10, #4 (Reasons to Join) really jumped out at me because of these three reasons cited for joining an organization:
1) networking with others in the field
2) access to specialized or current information
3) advocacy

So, two of the three top reasons to join can be or are being replaced with social media and the rapidly expanded connectively to the internet via mobile technology (smart phones, etc.).

Simply put, I can network with others in my field via LinkedIn groups, Facebook, Twitter or even MeetUp groups. I know, because I have! And so have millions of others around the world.

And, if I want access to specialized or current information, I can get that from RSS feeds, Google News Alerts and/or Twitter searches. Again, I know because I have. And, so have millions of others around the globe.

Check out this new research from the Society of New Communication Research called The Social Mind. It examines the rise of new social behaviors and interrelationships between individuals, organizations, and influencers. The three year series of studies surveyed more than 400 professionals and highly educated people in North America who participate in social media networks. The research found that 40% of professionals’ online time is spent engaging in peer-to-peer online communities, followed by interacting with friends at 31% and family at 13%. Thanks to Joshua Paul of Socious for sharing this research.

The world has changed and associations need to move rapidly to meet consumer expectations.
• My assumption is that what members, donors and prospects experience in their daily lives impacts what they expect from their associations and nonprofit organization.
• And, they are experiencing rapid changes in how they interact with companies and businesses.

In an interview about his trade association, one member of the executive committee said: “Our culture tends to be “slow moving and slow to change.”

And, slow moving and slow to change is a key issue for many organizations and companies today.

Just look at the fate of Kodak, Radio Shack, US Jaycees and others who have been slow to change.

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