Does your association use member research to measure member needs? If you do, are you just using one research methodology?
Associations with more than 20,000 members and those with operating budgets over $5 million are more inclined to use research to measure member needs, and are significantly more likely to employ several research methodologies than smaller associations or those with smaller budgets. – Excerpt from the 2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report by Marketing General
The small to mid-sized associations who need it the most are not getting good information about their member’s needs. They are either not investing in research or if they are, likely conducting the research incorrectly and getting inaccurate results.
Why not conducting member research hurts the association
1. Not truly understanding what members need means not providing the benefits, products, services and other intangibles they really want.
2. But we did conduct member research… years ago. Data from 7, 5 or even 2 years ago may not be accurate today.
3. Launching the wrong product or service or taking away a critical benefit is far more costly for your budget (and member engagement) than conducting member research at the outset.
How using one research methodology yields inaccurate results
1. Many organizations rely on the results from quantitative online surveys to guide their strategic decisions. This is a mistake. If not done correctly the results from quantitative surveys can be highly flawed. Have you ever filled out a survey where you were selected the answer that was sort of closest to your answer but, wasn’t really your answer? Getting the forced choices right is very difficult especially if you don’t know what all the possible choices are.
2. Less rigorous methods of research can also cause risky bets. Using secondary research incorrectly, relying on kitchen-table research and not segmenting members properly can all cause significant problems.
Is increasing your understanding of member needs near the top of your association’s goals list? Getting a member research project started now can help you make successful strategic decisions sooner. Using the right research methodology and using that methodology correctly will help you achieve your goals.