Friday, May 8, 2009

The Conversation Continues: What is the One Thing Most Needed in Association Marketing?

Posted by Princess Eva Angelica at 9:59 AM

I continue to be intrigued with the question, “What is one thing that an association marketing team must do, if nothing else?” As I mentioned in my last post, Associations Now magazine asked me and several others to answer that question in the May issue.

So I have continued the conversation by asking others for their thoughts. I think when you ask someone to focus their marketing philosophy down to its core; you really get some great insights. Here is what I have heard back so far.

Brian LeHouillier is a Managing Director at the American Society for Quality. I love his perspective because he is a true believer in the quality approach. He wrote:

“I think the number one thing the marketing function must do is be able to show, in quantifiable terms, the return on the organizations marketing investment. Everything else, list selection, branding, messaging, design, copy, etc. are all very important, but if you can’t show that the effort produced a desired result (increased membership, revenue, market share, etc.) it will be looked at as a cost reduction possibility.”

Jeff Ward is the Director of Administrative Services/Chief Financial Officer for the Ohio Historical Society. He is a change agent and a get it done type of person. Jeff said:

“I think that associations need marketing teams to continue to ‘push the envelope’ (e.g. keeps hitting the market, try new things). And I've found that it's easier to accomplish these tasks by using outside consultants.”

Finally, Stuart K. Meyer is the Marketing, Membership and Communications Officer for the Emergency Nurses Association. Stuart approaches this question from an entirely different perspective. He shared:

“One thing an association marketing team must do is put the general principles of behavioral economics into practice at all levels of strategy, tactics and relationships. Behavioral economics reveals the power of emotion in decision-making even in the presence of rational facts. Think of it as Association EQ or the Emotional Value Proposition (EVP) . . . Cultivate a humanizing emotional connection between the member and your association and you might have them as a loyal member and promoter for life.“

I might sum up these perspectives this way, get something done and measure it, but do not forget that we market to real people with real desires and wants.

Your comments are welcome.

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