Monday, March 11, 2013

Boosting Member Awareness of Association Affinity Discounts

By guest blogger Andrew Bank 

Have you ever bought something and later realized you could have paid less by using a membership discount you forgot you had? 

If you answered ‘yes’, you’re not alone. 

In a member survey of alumni, professional, recreational and other associations by loyalty technology company, Larky, 73% of respondents say they “know they are entitled to member discounts, but don’t know what they are or how to get them.”

Despite the best efforts of associations, affinity programs appear to be flying far under the radar for most members.

Larky’s research has identified three reasons for the low awareness:
  1. Members suffer from “perks paralysis” … too many perks to keep track of across multiple memberships … often 10 or more. 
  2. Low numbers of members visit association websites to learn about their perks and discounts. 
  3. Timing: the lag time between when members see the discount (on your website, in an email, etc.) and when they have the need or opportunity to use the discount is long enough that memory is essentially reduced to zero. 
As a result, members leave money on the table and don’t get full value of their membership in your association. 

So what?
Does it really matter if members are unaware of their perks and discounts and barely use them? Does any association think that affinity discounts are the “silver bullet” for member satisfaction? 
In fact, many associations are spending considerable efforts developing and maintaining underperforming affinity programs. And that has a significant financial and opportunity cost. 
Consider this: 
  • Most associations have at least a half-time and often a full-time staff member managing affinity programs – plus, they allocate dollars for marketing. Associations need to ensure that their time and expenses deliver sufficient ROI. 
  • For associations with royalty-generating affinity programs, the revenue is almost certainly far less than it could be. 
  • Affinity programs occupy web site real estate which often needs maintaining and which competes for members’ ever-narrowing attention spans. 
The reasons for offering affinity discounts are to add value to membership, increase member loyalty, influence renewal rates, and generate revenue. 

If members aren’t using the perks and discounts, then they’re not helping you achieve those goals.
If your association is providing affinity programs but they are not reaching your goals, Larky offers free web and mobile tools to help your members. Click here to see how your association might benefit from enhanced affinity programs and increased engagement. 
About the Author 

Andrew Bank is co-founder of Larky and past founder of Techstreet, a digital information service partnered with over 400 not-for-profit associations worldwide. Andrew believes passionately in making lives better with “invisible” technology. He never buys anything online without a discount. Andrew lives in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife and three young curly-haired kids. He can be reached at

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