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Membership Benchmarking Report: How do You Compare?

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How does your association’s membership marketing practices and performance compare to other associations? …

How does your association’s membership marketing practices and performance compare to other associations?

Marketing General, Inc. has just publicly released the final report of a Membership Marketing Benchmarking Survey on the tactics and strategies associations use to recruit members, engage new members, renew existing members, and reinstate former members.

The Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report included over 500 participating association executives.

Among the report\'s key findings are that nearly half of the associations surveyed continue membership growth; direct mail is the most effective channel for recruiting new members; offering a first-year dues discount is the most effective membership recruitment incentive; a highly personal approach to new member on-boarding helps retain new members; and continuing renewal contacts and services improves renewal rates.

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  • The 2012 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report is now available as free download. You can access it at the following site:



    http://www.marketinggeneral.com/resources/benchmark-report/
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  • very nice data driven presentation with interesting insights, particularly for member retention strategies
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  • For additional membership marketing information including white papers, research reports, and articles, please visit our web site:



    www.MarketingGeneral.com.
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  • 3,338 association executives invited to take the survey 599 total respondents – some incompletes 18% survey response rate 95% confidence rate with 5% plus or minus margin of error.
  • What do associations do in member marketing? What do they believe is most effective? What correlates with success: More new members Better renewal rates Overall Membership growth
  • Benchmarking Report page 28 (one year) and page 29 (five year) 45% report membership UP – 35% report DOWN
  • Benchmarking Report for Recruitment page 30. 49% report Recruitment UP – 21% DOWN.
  • Our philosophical platform in membership marketing is to look at the five points of the membership lifecycle. Awareness – Share of mind and share of database (NSTA) Recruitment – Push Product (Coffee) Engagement – First day at a new job (Jim) Renewal – Member’s Vote (Election Campaign) Reinstatement – Restore Relationship (Misunderstanding)
  • Benchmarking Report page five (5). Surprising that Classic Awareness Builders were rated so low: Social Networking – 35% Search Engine Organic – 34% Advertising – 29% Paid Banners on other sites – 12% Search Engine Ads – 8%
  • Benchmarking Report page 10. What did you pick as the best channel?
  • Benchmarking Report page 14. Of the associations reporting over 80% renewal rates, about one-quarter use first-year member discounts 100% of the time, compared to associations with renewal rates under 80% in which only 10% offer first-year discounts 100% of the time. What did you pick as the best offer?
  • Benchmarking Report page 17. Directionally, associations in which overall membership has increased over the past year are more likely to report that members join to network with others in their field. Associations with renewal rates lower than 80%, those with declines in overall membership, and those with declines in overall renewal rates are significantly more likely to report that members join the organization to learn best practices in their profession. Why? Any theories?
  • Benchmarking Report notes on page 18. Associations with renewal rates higher than 80% are significantly more likely to use on-boarding methods that require more personal contact, such as in-person new member receptions and invitations to chapter meetings. Additionally, these associations are also significantly more likely to provide new members with mailed welcome kits compared to those with lower renewal rates.
  • Benchmarking Report page 19. Healthy renewals = healthy membership. Very hard to compare renewal rates between Associations. The associations indicating a renewal rate of 90% or higher are significantly more likely to also report overall increases in the total membership as well as increases in new members over the past year, compared to those associations with lower renewal rates. Associations with renewal rates less than 80% are significantly more likely to indicate declines in overall total membership, new members and renewal rates over the past year.
  • Benchmarking Report page 25. Associations with a renewal rate of 80% or higher report that members are significantly more likely not to renew because of price (27% vs. 12%), while associations with lower renewal rates (under 80%) are significantly more likely to indicate a lack of renewals based on a perceived lack of association value (26% vs. 17%).
  • Benchmarking report page 20 (number of contacts –10) and 22 (months). Interestingly, associations with renewal rates of 80% or more are significantly more likely to report that they do NOT stop contacting lapsed members (26% vs. 14%) compared to those with lower renewal rates. Additionally, association with less than 80% renewal are significantly more likely to end their renewal efforts after only three months past the member’s expiration date. Findings indicate that directionally, associations with higher renewal rates (over 80%) are more likely to contact members regarding renewal at a greater frequency than those with lower renewal rates. The sweet spot seems to be somewhere between seven and 10 contacts regarding renewal.
  • Benchmarking Report page 26. However, associations with higher renewal rates (80% or more) are significantly more likely to allow a grace period of four months or greater, compared to associations with lower renewal rates. Similarly, but in a directional sense, associations showing growth in overall membership, new members and renewal rates offer extended grace periods compared to those associations that are declining in member numbers.
  • Benchmarking Report page 27. Associations with renewal rates of 80% or higher are significantly more likely to continue to contact lapsed members for an indefinite period of time (34% vs. 20%). Directionally, associations with increases in overall membership, new members and retention rates are also more likely to continue to contact lapsed members indefinitely.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Benchmark Membership Marketing Survey Presented by Tony Rossell How does your association compare?
    • 2. Membership Survey Background
      • Goal: Gain benchmarking insights in key areas of membership.
      • Ask respondents to report on practices and define what is most effective
      • Cross tabulation: Compares practices of high member recruitment, retention, and growth associations.
      This research presents correlations not predictions .
    • 3. Most Associations Report Membership Growth 5% 5% Not Sure 11% 8% Over -10% 16% 27% - 1 to 10% 8% 16% No Change 34% 37% +1 to 10% 26% 8% Over +10% Five Year Change in Membership One Year Change in Membership Percentage Change
    • 4. Recruitment Up 9% Not Sure 6% Over -10% 15% - 1 to 10% 22% No Change 37% +1 to 10% 12% Over +10% Change in Membership Recruitment Percentage Change
    • 5. 2009 Membership Study
      • What channels are most effective?
      • What offers are most effective?
      • How do the high renewal groups
      • onboard new members?
      • What renewal tactics get high
      • renewal rates?
      • What lapsed member practices correlate
      • with membership growth?
      How do they do it?
    • 6. Membership Lifecycle Copyright 2009, Marketing General Incorporated Awareness Recruitment Engagement Renewal Reinstatement
    • 7. Best Membership Awareness Builders 61% Email 54% Co-Worker/Colleague 65% Promotion at Own Conference 76% Direct Mail 77% Member Recommendations and WOMM 85% Association Web Site Rated Most Effective Marketing Channel
    • 8. Best Recruitment Channels 11% Personal Sales 15% Promotion at Own Conference 24% Email 32% Member get a Member and WOMM 46% Direct Mail Rated Most Effective Marketing Channel
    • 9. Best Recruitment Offers 7% Free Gifts or Premiums 8% Member Referral Incentives (Given to Member) 9% Free Trial 17% Conference or Convention Discount 25% First-Year Dues Discount Rated Most Effective Marketing Offers
    • 10. Top Reasons Members Join 1) Access to specialized Information 2) Network with others in the field 3) Connect with Others in the field 4) Obtain Discounts on Product or Meeting Purchases 5) Learn Best Practices in Profession 6) Continuing Education 7) Advance their Position
    • 11. New Member Engagement
      • 1) Mailed Welcome Kit
      • Email Welcome
      • Membership Card or
      • Certificate
      • 4) Volunteer or Staff Welcome Call
      • 5) Invite to Chapter Meeting
      • 6) New Member Survey
      • 7) In-Person New Member Reception
      • 8) Special Discounts on purchases
      • 9) Custom New Member Email Follow-Up
      • 10) New Member Newsletter
    • 12. New Member Engagement Invite to Chapter Meeting In Person New Member Reception Telemarketing Welcome Call Volunteer or Staff Welcome Call New Member Newsletter New Member Survey Member Card or Certificate Mailed Welcome Kit Associations with under 80% Renewal Rate Associations with over 80% Renewal Rate
    • 13. Association Renewal Rates 29% Over 90% 39% 80 to 89% 17% 70 to 79% 8% 60 to 69% 7% Under 60% % of Respondents Renewal Rate
    • 14. Top Reasons Members DO NOT Renew
      • Too Expensive
      • Employer Won’t OR Stopped Paying Dues
      • Lack of Perceived Value
      • Forgot to Renew
      • Retirement
      • Lost Job
    • 15. Continuing Renewal Contact 26% 14% Do Not Stop 18% 17% Over Four Months 15% 9% Four Months 18% 26% Three Months 11% 16% Two Months 8% 12% One Month 2% 3% On Expiration Renewal Rate More than 80% Renewal Rate Less than 80% When do you stop renewal efforts?
    • 16. Length of “ Gracing ” Members 2% 5% Not Sure 13% 5% Over Four Months 13% 4% Four Months 28% 20% Three Months 13% 19% Two Months 12% 22% One Month 19% 25% On Expiration Renewal Rate More than 80% Renewal Rate Less than 80% Grace Services After Expire
    • 17. Continuing Reinstatement Efforts 13% Other 30% Do Not Stop 7% Four to Ten Years 6% Three Years After 13% Two Years After 25% One Year After 8% On Expiration When do you stop Reinstatement Efforts?
    • 18. Practical Research Implications
      • Awareness
        • Build your share of database. Get permission to
        • stay in touch
      • Recruitment
        • Multiple channels, offers, and messages are
        • effective to get new members. But some are better
        • than others.
      • Engagement
        • Make a Personal Connection to successfully
        • onboard a new member.
      • Renewal
        • Don’t let members leave because they “forgot” to renew. Use frequency, benefits, and time to campaign for the renewal vote.
      • Reinstatement
        • Never give up. Former Members are more likely to come back than new members are to join.
    • 19. 2009 Membership Study
      • What channels are most effective?
      • What offers are most effective?
      • How do the high renewal groups
      • onboard new members?
      • What renewal tactics get high
      • renewal rates?
      • What lapsed member practices correlate
      • with membership growth?
      How do they do it?
    • 20. Tony Rossell
      • Tony serves as the senior vice president of Marketing General, Inc ., an Alexandria, Virginia-based firm that specializes in membership marketing solutions for associations.
      • A frequent write and speaker on marketing topics, Tony is a contributing author to two books, Membership Marketing (ASAE 2000) and Membership Essentials (ASAE 2008). He writes the Membership Marketing Blog .
      • Contact Tony at 703-706-0360 or Tony@marketinggeneral.com.

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