Marketing Has Changed (sigh…)
Years ago, the practice of marketing was product-centric and focused on broad based societal values with little emphases on the individuality of the consumer. This worked as advertising/communications technology was only broad-based channels like TV, magazine circulation and radio. We saw the beginning of “ad campaigns” to entice, impress and flatter the public using consumer motivational research to target specific markets. These campaigns became legendary to include “The Marlboro Man,” (Leo Burnett Co.) “Maidenform Woman” (Norman, Craig & Kummel) and “Hathaway Shirt Man” (Ogilvy & Mather).Years ago, the practice of marketing was product-centric and focused on broad based societal values with little emphases on the individuality of the consumer. This worked as advertising/communications technology was only broad-based channels like TV, magazine circulation and radio. We saw the beginning of “ad campaigns” to entice, impress and flatter the public using consumer motivational research to target specific markets. These campaigns became legendary to include “The Marlboro Man,” (Leo Burnett Co.) “Maidenform Woman” (Norman, Craig & Kummel) and “Hathaway Shirt Man” (Ogilvy & Mather).
Today, in what is commonly referred to as “The Relationship Era,” prospects expect to be addressed individually. Mass advertising, and those techniques, are no longer financially practical.
Therefore, here are 5 key elements to consider in developing a successful member acquisition program:
1. Know Your Member
To properly market membership, you must first clearly understand who your ideal member is, where they congregate and what their challenges are. All successful membership marketing initiatives begin from these three points. To assist you in this you may want to create a Member Avatar or Persona. You may have several personas with each including information on the target market that you will use to develop your strategic and tactical plans. It will influence your offer, where you promote, when you promote and every other aspect of your marketing. Your persona should contain the following information*:a. Goals and Valuesb. Sources of Informationc. Challenges & Pain Pointsd. Obstructions to Purchasee. Demographic Information*Source: Digital MarketerThe data necessary to complete your persona may well be taken from your personal experience, contained within your accounting and engagement data or collected using qualitative and quantitative research.
First and foremost, personalize all of your communications.
3. Promoting the Offer
Use your persona to help determine your offer and key message points. In promoting your offer, your message should outline the benefits of membership and lead the prospect to the natural conclusion that membership is a viable solution to their personal and/or career challenges. A good format to follow is one commonly used by writers to develop a story:
ACT 1: Hook
ACT 2: Journey/Setback/New Challenge/Climax
ACT 3: Resolution/Take-away
Here’s a practical example of a membership promotion:
ACT 1: We recently reviewed our membership list against a list of leading <industry organization> and were surprised to find that you are not currently a member of the XXXX Association. Either our records are in error, or you have not yet activated your membership. Whatever the reason, I want to make sure that you have the opportunity to activate your membership with XXXXX Products Association today.
ACT 2: The XXXX Association is your most important resource for objective information about the XXXXX industry. When you activate your XXXX Association membership, you gain access to valuable tools, industry information and a network of business opportunities that give you immediate value.
The XXXX Association is THE Voice of the Industry!
• Example 1
• Example 2
XXXX MarketPlace Helps You Grow Your Business!
• Example 1
• Example 2XXXX Association is Your Source for Knowledge and EducationJoin the XXXX Association and you’ll receive instant access to important industry resources including: • XXXX Association Now – The association’s award-winning monthly newsletter…
• The ….—Our bi-monthly publication keeps you informed on industry news and the latest regulatory, legislative…
• Member Updates—Membership in the association keeps you up to date on fast-breaking up-to-the-minute news…
ACT 3: XXXX Association is your most important resource to success and business growth. Join the XXXXXX Association today and stay informed, connected, and gain a competitive advantage.
4. Multiple Channels
It is well-accepted that repetition plays an important role in moving a buyer from prospect to member. Therefore, use multiple channels to reinforce your campaign as much as possible. We’ve found that response rates lifted to a direct mail campaign when multiple email efforts were added. In addition, social media is fast becoming a viable and targetable tool to support your acquisition campaigns.
5. Develop a Testing Strategy & Track Your Results Marketing is about testing.
Nobody knows what will work. If we did, we’d all be billionaires. Unfortunately, magic crystal balls don’t exist. That’s why we need split testing. Limit the number of variables in your campaign so you can identify what works and doesn’t work.
Finally, set appropriate expectations for your campaign. While this is truly dependent upon your personal experience, anticipate results for a direct response campaign that range from 0.25% to 1.50% depending upon the familiarity of the prospects to your association.
According to consultancy McKinsey, the decision-making process is now a circular journey with four phases: initial consideration; active evaluation, or the process of researching potential purchases; closure, when consumers buy brands; and postpurchase, when consumers experience them.
1. Your opinion doesn’t matter. If there’s anything I’ve learned in this business, it’s that opinions don’t make money. My friend and mentor Craig Sullivan likes to say that “opinions are like @$%*%^# – everybody’s got one.” You are not your customer, and you have lots of different kinds of customers. Implement this rule in your company: whenever somebody voices an opinion, they have to preface it by saying: “In my insignificant, unsupported, baseless opinion.” That will set the right tone for the importance of whatever is to follow.
2. You don’t know what will work. Every now and then you meet someone—typically someone (self-)important—who will proclaim to know what works, what should be changed on the site for improved results.
Simply put, they don’t. The only way to truly determine what works in marketing is to test, analyze and verify. That’s why split-testing is so critical.