When you know what your members problems are you can solve them.
Terry Monroe, Director of Membership and External Relations for the International Association of Fire Chiefs caught this incongruity:
The top challenge to growing membership is difficulty in communicating value or benefits, but in terms of top membership goals, “increase understanding of member needs” is 4th at only 28% (compared to increasing member engagement at 67%).
So we all agree on the need to get members more engaged and we all struggle with communicating our value, but at the same time, we don’t seem to put a priority on understanding member (customer) needs.
Source: Marketing General, 2014 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report.
Joe Rominiecki also provides details on this issue in his article 4 Survey Findings that Illustrate a Big Problem for Associations.
There are 3 pieces to the member benefit/value equation:
- Determining a solution to your member’s problem
- Developing the solution in the way that is most helpful to your members
- Describing the solution to members in the way they need to hear it
Communicating the value is just one piece of the pie. You also have to know what might be of value and how you deliver it in a way that is most valuable. The best way to get these three pieces right is to understand your members needs.
The best tactics for understanding your members needs are:
- Talking with them. What is their biggest challenge right now?
- Conducting qualitative member research. What is their worldview? What are their goals? Why did they join?
- Observing their conversations in communities (thanks again Terry). What questions come up over and over? What topics are surrounded with the most emotion?
Are you struggling with communicating member value? You can do this better when you understand your member’s needs.