MGI Tipster Volume 1, Issue 21

Defining Your Membership Value Proposition

Membership organizations are realizing the importance of defining and communicating their membership value proposition like never before.

That’s because in a tight economy every dollar is spent carefully. Members want a clear and concrete reason to join or continue their relationship with an organization.

In essence an organization’s value proposition answers the question, “Why?” Why should I as a prospective member join, or as a current member renew my membership in, this organization?

The challenge for some is having a system to help an organization quickly and economically do this evaluation.

At Marketing General Inc., we use a simple three-step process to help staff or volunteer leadership explore and strengthen the value proposition.

Here are the steps.

  1. Define and list all the features of membership. Put as many features of membership on the list as come to mind. It helps to hold and touch these features. So to begin, lay your tangible member benefits on the table. For those that are not tangible, print out descriptions of them from your website to make them more tangible. One feature on your list, for example, might be your job bank, another might be the membership social network.
  2. Assign benefits to the list of features. As a next step, write down the key benefit(s) that the product or service provides to a member. Be specific by answering the question, “What does this feature mean to a member?” For example, a professional association job bank means that members access a trusted source to identify jobs specifically in their field. A social network means that members can instantly connect with professional colleagues who can assist them with a particular problem or need.
  3. Connect the dots. Now that you have a long list of features and benefits, the next step is consolidating them into simple and concrete value statements. It is useful to center benefits around one of life’s BIG three motivators: Pain, Gain, and Fear. So, for example, a member can gain by joining because she is in the know about the top jobs in your field and is regularly connected to the prominent networkers in the field who can help her advance her career. Membership helps you get ahead faster.

Better understanding how your products and services meet real needs can focus and empower your membership marketing. Give this a try; you will be pleased with the results.

If you would like to talk to us about defining your membership value proposition using these techniques, please contact Tony Rossell at the address below.

Tony Rossell
Marketing General Inc.
Direct: 703.706.0360

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