Low sales for almost every organization in every sector looks like an awareness problem. “If only more people knew about our pogo sticks, inflatable canoes, or apples, more people would buy.” Incoming association boards and staff often leap to this conclusion too. Flat membership numbers or small market share must mean low awareness. Low awareness usually is a symptom, not a cause, however.
In most industries or professions people know each other. Peers meet each other and vendors and consultants are out there meeting everyone. When there is a great conference, training program, research report, or other fantastic resource people talk. But they do not sing praises when there is nothing to talk about. The okay conference that most attend to get credit will not get much positive word of mouth. Neither will the social receptions that are fun but not meaningful or the articles that are a dime a dozen.
Most association’s awareness problems are member engagement problems in disguise. Improve your value and deliver exceptional experiences to improve engagement. Do this and watch your awareness problem disappear.