Sunday, February 28, 2016

Strategic Intent. Board Foresight. Association Rebranding.

In the last five months, three nonprofit associations have engaged me to facilitate strategic intent workshops with their boards.

Ironically, one common outcome from all three organizations: a decision to rename and rebrand.

After the third association surfaced a desire to rename their organization, I reflected back to see if there was anything I was doing that “pushed” them toward rebranding.

I don’t think so.

The commonality of the work process:

  • online survey research of members and stakeholders
  • the Strategic Intent process whereby the organization confirms where it is and then looks forward to where it wants to be/what it wants to become.
Each organization came to the rebranding decision for its own reasons:
  • One forecasted continued consolidation which meant fewer traditional members. They looked at a new name as an opportunity to cast a wider net for non-traditional members.
  • One recognized their existing name no longer fit what it was doing.
  • The third decided its acronym did not fully describe what it did.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Don’t Let Polls Mislead Your Association's Actions

While facilitating an association board workshop Friday, I shared that 9.2% of their members answered in a specific way ... then, I let them know that for this question, 9.2% was only one member!

Associations reading surveys need to be careful what they discover and the decisions they make.

The headlines from Saturday’s South Carolina primary and Nevada caucuses show that the news media suffers from misperceptions arising from polling.

For example, they reported that Hillary Clinton had a “big 5% win” in the Nevada caucus and that Marco Rubio had “narrowly” finished second to Ted Cruz.

Interestingly, Clinton’s big 5.5% win was actually only 647 votes over Bernie Sanders while Rubio’s narrow finish was really 1,091 votes over Cruz. (By the way, using the media’s version of covering polls, that means Rubio’s win was 25.5% more than Clinton’s win.)

I’ve found it more accurate and reflective when you share both percentage and raw numbers.

Associations seeking understanding about member attitudes should do likewise.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

6 Tactics Association Marketers Can Learn from the “Silly Season”

The ongoing U.S. Presidential campaign (sometimes called the “Silly Season”) provides multiple examples that associations can consider for their content marketing and membership marketing efforts.
Disclaimer: nothing here should be taken as support for any candidate or either party.

Just as associations seek to recruit or renew members and/or recruit or retain donors, political candidates (and parties) seek to renew past supporters and to recruit voters and/or donors.

1. Target & micro target
  • Rather than mass marketing, many candidates are targeting messages to specific groups. 
  • For example, Senator Ted Cruz hired Cambridge Analyticia to manage a highly micro targeted campaign that delivers specific messages to specific audiences.
  • Associations can learn micro targeting tactics when they see the multi differences among their membership and potential members and then use that knowledge for their member development strategies.
2. Hone/simplify/repeat your message
  • Candidates develop a few core messages that define who they are and attempt to distinguish themselves from other candidates.
  • For example, Bernie Sanders message is: tax the rich; free college; free medical care.
  • In my experience, many associations have great difficulty articulating the benefits of membership in their organization. Most can list the services and programs they offer but few do a great job in describing the benefits of those services.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Super Bowl Ads Not So Super

I don’t know about you but I didn’t find any “great” commercials in Super Bowl 50.

And, from a marketing/ROI standpoint, that concerns me. Companies were paying upwards of $50 million to woo viewers and sell their products.

Unaided, I can’t remember many other than the NFL’s “Super Bowl Babies.”

But, perhaps I was not the target?

According to today’s XYZ University blog post, “out of 63 product ads we viewed during Super Bowl 50, only two were tailored towards Baby Boomers, six were focused on Generation X, and all the remaining were focused on Gen Y/Millennials.”

While most ads were aimed at Millennials, the XYZ blog notes that “this is especially interesting considering that while Super Bowl ratings have soared in the past decade, Nielsen reports the number of viewers within the 18-49 year old audience has remained relatively flat since 2011.

In other words, companies are desperate to reach the Millennial audience, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Millennials are tuning in.”

As you think about marketing your association (which means recruiting members, generating conference attendance, etc.), are you considering which audience you are after? Are you targeting your messages to reach those distinct audiences?

If not, why not?

What to read more?  Here is IMG's take on the best and worst of 2016 Super Bowl ads.