Monday, August 18, 2008

Strategic Planning and Membership Development

Posted by Princess Eva Angelica at 1:16 PM

Once a track record is established, membership marketing can be fairly predictable. Acquisition response rates to proven lists and renewal rates on a membership base are statistically predicable.

However, this does not mean that a membership program can be put on auto pilot. Continually testing new approaches in copy, offers, formats, and channels is required to keep a program healthy.

Marketing works best when it flows and adjusts like a team in a basketball game instead of like a scripted theatrical performance.

That’s why I very much appreciate the perspective in the recent article, “The Perils of Strategic Planning”, in Associations Now.

“Flexibility and fluidity, not strategic plans, are the keys to success . . . the ability to respond quickly without moving through layers of committees for approval to adjust the plan.”[1]

This may sound basic, but I have seen strategic plans, bylaws, and operational procedures shackle programs that otherwise might be thriving. Membership development works best when the marketer keeps a finger on the pulse of the market. As new tactics prove successful, the strategy should be adjusted to respond to the new reality.

[1] James F. Hollan, CAE, “The Perils of Strategic Planning”, Associations Now, (August, 2008): 72 – 78.

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