In business circles we keep hearing – don’t just tell them your what, tell them your why. This is great advice but it is awfully hard to do when we don’t know our members’ why. For every action (or inaction) members (and non-members) take there is a why. As established organizations, knowing our member’s why helps us develop and communicate our why.
Why is hard so we fall back on what.
Poke around and most of the marketing copy you read focuses on what. What we do, what we are and what we have just created:
- We are 75 years old
- This guide is 102 pages
- We are a community of professionals
- The conference this year is in Las Vegas
- We are an association that offers professional development and networking
What doesn’t make for a very compelling story. But why does.
- Be a practitioner with clients you love
- Learn how to spread your great ideas and get them acted upon
- Understand how to seed and nurture the culture your company needs
Just like – what doesn’t make for a very compelling story but, why does – what doesn’t make for very actionable member insights but why does.
Think of all the member research you have done whether it is analyzing the data or conducting surveys. Likely you have gotten a lot of what-type insights.
- 76% of our members renew but, only 42% of new members renew
- The open rate of our weekly newsletter is 56% while the open rate is 18% for promotional messages
- 63% of members rate the conference as the top value while only 47% are very satisfied with the conference
What-type insights are a great first step. What-type member insights point us to what to work on next. And when you are wondering exactly what action to take why-type insights will help.
Why is the next question you will ask after discovering what. For example, new members renew far, far less frequently. Why is that?
Often we are asking these complicated questions:
- Why do members join?
- Why don’t our professionals join?
- Why do members renew?
- Why don’t members renew?
- Why do they attend the annual conference and why don’t they attend?
Have you ever asked a why question and got a what answer? This is because we generally turn to just data and surveys but they are best for uncovering what-type insights. Members answer what when they select from multiple choice answers. Do you want to understand your member’s why? Members can tell you their why when they tell you their story or when you step into their shoes. Check out a whole other set of methodologies like member phone-interviews, secret shopper-style research, onsite conference observation techniques and web user interface work. Start trying these and you’ll understand your member’s why which is exactly what you need to create your association’s why.