What is your association’s penetration? That is a tricky question. On the surface it sounds simple. The formula is: the quantity of members we have divided by the total quantity of the kind of professional we serve. If we have 3,000 brand managers as members and there are 250,000 professionals with the title of brand manager overall we only have about a 1.2% penetration. Wow! that’s a tremendous opportunity to reach more members! Or is it?
Many of us mistakenly assume our group of potentials is much bigger than it really is for two reasons:
Apples to Oranges
Dig into our member’s demographics and we find that the members who love us the most share certain characteristics. Once we get a profile we can sort the overall list for the same profile. An example: our biggest segment and best members manage a team of people. They come from companies that at have $500 million in revenues or more. These members work for consumer products companies. This is the type of professional we serve. We can eliminate professionals working for small and b-to-b companies and individual contributors from our overall list. For some reason this later group of professionals seems not to receive value from the association.
The Value They Receive
Our association solves a certain problem(s) for members. If potential members don’t have the problem we solve there’s no value for them to join. But the problem we solve is universal for everyone in this profession, we think. We might be right but if our members don’t agree there is no problem in their eyes.
The group of potential members that we should focus on are the professionals who are like our members, who also have the same problem as our members. The more we know about our members: the problems they have, the solutions we offer that they value, their opinions, their challenges and their goals the better equipped we are to attract the group of potential members most like the group that we already serve the best.
There are probably more members out there like our best members with the same problems we solve but it may not be quite as many as we think.
- Why you want members to belong, not just join
- How do you market? Scatter-shot or targeted?
- What I’ve learned from associations that excel