The digital revolution is drastically impacting the relevance and influence of associations. Traditionally, professionals and hobbyists alike would join associations to network with other likeminds and offer their expertise and experiences. Members would come from far and wide to meet at an annual conference to share ideas and learn from one another. Associations were known for fostering relationships, making an impact in communities, and changing industries.
All of these things once considered differentiators are now a commodity thanks to technology. Professionals keep up with one another through social networking sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. Search engines like Google offer easy access to solutions to problems. And folks are finding it increasingly difficult to justify the cost and time needed to attend an annual conference.
If I’ve successfully rained all over your association parade, bear with me. There’s a silver lining in this cloud.
By having a member mentality, associations can continue to adapt and be better than ever before.
Having a member mentality means that you are maniacally focused on understanding the member’s new demands and expectations. If you think you’re already doing this, I would ask that you go back to the word “maniacally” and be honest with yourself. Your association is facing fierce competition these days, so the status quo just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Your association can’t afford to be a commodity. One way you can differentiate your organization is through the member experience. By morphing it into your competitive advantage, you can create relationships that will lead to lifetime members.
Who doesn’t love that?
It’s Time to Adapt
The first step to having a member mentality is to know your members better than anyone. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Develop member personas
- Research member goals, interests, and behavior
- Monitor member metrics closely
- Conduct Voice of the Member interviews
Once you are reacquainted with your members, it’s time to turn all that valuable knowledge into an asset that can help your organization as a whole. Create a member journey map so you and your team can better understand your member’s experience. The updated map looks like this:
- Time to Value
In all things, start with your member and work backwards. By maniacally focusing on them, you can give them an experience that they can’t get anywhere else.