With the development of Members Advantage, we have begun to cast our net a bit farther when it comes to industry events such as conferences and trade shows. These shows are great opportunities to meet people and find sales leads, but also a place to keep on top of hot topics in the industry.
Just in the last month, our team attended Digital Excellence (hosted by MemberWise) in London, the American Museum Membership Conference in Seattle, and AMS Fest in Washington, DC.
Philippe van Mastrigt attended the London conference and reported the following:
- Benefits are an important factor to prospects in deciding to become a member.
- Online content is an essential part of what members want from a membership.
- Print magazines are still a highly-rated benefit for members.
- Advantage seems to be the only system that has both strong membership management and strong publishing management.
Mona Hidayet assessed the museum conference in Seattle. Her evaluation included noting that a number of membership organizations had recently restructured their organizations to focus more intently on engaging with their customers. Their findings included:
- Members want to feel like they get exclusive benefits. One organization found that instituting an introductory program geared to millennials which offered similar benefits as a paid membership drove renewals down, as members no longer felt special.
- Long-time members weren’t looking for monetary benefits; they wanted recognition.
- Digital engagement is important, using such touchpoints as: renewal notices, membership cards, questionnaires and the like.
Dan Heffernan explored AMS Fest in Washington, DC. The purpose of this meeting is to bring together suppliers of AMS (Association Management System) solutions and prospective buyers. But in addition to demonstrations of the AMS software the various vendors provide, there were excellent keynote and panel sessions with industry consultants, experts, and visionaries. Some of the more innovative ideas were:
- Let members build their own membership, deciding what they want their “membership level” to look like. Don’t just offer to them what you think they might want – let the member decide.
- We need to live in front of change…we don’t have time to try to play catch-up afterwards, because change is happening at an accelerating pace.
- The formula for success for membership organizations is:
- be member-focused, then
- wow factor + engagement + max value = winning organizations