Do you feel like you are just not quite hitting the mark with members? Have you been asking them questions but not getting the answers you need? Have member survey results not been substantive enough? Or have you acted based on the insights from a member survey or your data but did not get the positive results you expected?
We need answers from members. Answers to questions like: why did you join, why do you renew and what are you most worried about and why? There is one research method for associations that gets the answers to these types of questions and produces results that are actionable, complete, and accurate.
Surveys work well to answer tactical questions like what other publications are our members reading? But it is the in-depth member interview methodology that answers the important strategic questions that associations are asking today. Why does this method work so well? Through these conversations we clearly see and understand our members’ thoughts, feelings, worries, needs, wants and fears. We not only see what is happening but why these things are happening. It is this context that supplies us with the answers to move ahead.
Not only will we get great results, members love this form of research too. Survey fatigue is real. But a meaningful, strategic, objective conversation; that is rare.
What have other associations learned from Member Engagement Research? Everything they need to create successful strategic, marketing, and innovation plans.
Member Engagement Research Answers Your Questions
- Glimpse future trends
- Learn how to engage members more
- Understand why members don’t renew
- Figure out how to attract new members including younger members
- Supply your board with meaningful information to make good strategic decisions
- Find out what the joining/registering/buying process is like and the associated barriers
- Learn about your association’s value trigger point to develop a successful onboarding program
- Discover members’ thoughts about current offerings and how to make them better
- Uncover new benefit, product, service, content, and event ideas
- Hear the voices of the innovators in your industry
- See where member need gaps exist
- Amplify the value you create for members
- Learn how to speak your members’ language
- Tell your brand story and attract your best members
- Develop a more effective website and digital presence
Member Engagement Research Process
#1 Define the goals of the research: I will guide you through a series of questions to ensure we develop the right research goals. What are your goals for this project? What are the goals of the association? What problems are most challenging for you? What will you do with the results of the research? Defining goals is the most critical step in the process because the goals drive everything that follows. Together we will set the research goals to get you the best possible outcome ensuring you have actionable insights you can immediately use.
#2 Conduct in-depth member interviews: After discussion guide approval I will hold 45-60 minute interviews, the duration depends on the schedule of the respondent, with 12 to 15 pre-recruited members per member segment. To get the most accurate results, I promise anonymity, and respondents like that I’m an unbiased 3rd party researcher.
#3 Complete a wide to specific results analysis: Collecting near-verbatim comments for each call produces pages and pages of valuable insights. I look for patterns in the responses and use these important patterns to refine follow-up questions as the interviews progress. This way I have the context needed to develop complete member stories for you.
#4 Provide strategic results and reporting: Research reports include an executive summary which answers the goals of the research. You will also find full near-verbatim responses organized by question with question summaries that highlight key insights. If you love the detail, you can immerse yourself in your member’s stories, professional challenges, and language. Or if you want to cut right to the most meaningful priorities that will drive your association, that is in the report too.
#5 Actionable consulting: Together we’ll review the insights then discuss what the results mean. I will share the priorities that came from the data. Some clients want me to present the results to the staff and begin the planning. Some clients find they get the most out of having me present the results to the board and facilitating a strategic conversation. Whatever your planning need, we will customize a consulting solution that achieves your association’s goals.
#6 Close the loop with respondents: Implicit in asking members for their thoughts, ideas, and opinions is the promise we are going to take action based on what we heard. At the end of each project I follow-up with a communication to each respondent thanking them for their ideas and time.
Project Scope and Outcomes
Each research project includes everything: from planning to recruitment, interviews to analysis, reporting to consulting, to respondent thank you’s. This type of member research is accurate, complete and actionable. It is designed to get the insights needed to improve member value as well as the member experience. It is intended to help you create the strategies you need to drive your association successfully forward.
Are you wondering if it is time to conduct research like this? Read more about the member insights process. Why is this method of research is perfect for many associations, not surveys or other types of member research? Because we association professionals need to answer why-type questions, not what-type questions.
To reduce the risk for you, every Kaiser Insights project is fixed price with everything included. Each member engagement research project is $7,500 per segment.
- How a national professional association used in-depth interviews to guide the organization’s strategic plan.
- How CFMA used the research insights to develop their new member onboarding program. AssociationsNow covered the process and outcomes in this article.
Do you wonder if this method of research is right for your goals? Or do you want to know more about the process? Contact me.