Membership and Association Marketing Intelligence

November 18, 2014 | Vol. 13 | Issue 11
Membership and Association Marketing Intelligence Market Assessment and What Goes Into It. While for many associations the overall size of their market and the basic responsibilities and needs of their members appear to remain the same, like an iceberg where over 90% of its volume and mass is underwater, there is a great deal more going on “under the water” than is easily seen with a casual glance.

The association leaders who understand and appreciate this are the ones who will keep their association from running aground on the unseen ice.

During this period of strategic planning and budget development, many of you are looking to better understand your membership, prospective members and stakeholders by performing a “Market Assessment.”

A market assessment has an important role to play in your strategic planning as it helps you understand the size and number of potential members and customers so you can set realistic goals for revenue and market share; and, the “market needs” that help determine product development and marketing.

Breaking this down to its elementary components, we are seeking information in the following three areas:

  1. Target Market and Market Trends
    • Detail the size of the market broken out by segment/region
    • Estimate potential growth and determine if the market is stable/mature/growing/shrinking
    • Identify major factors driving growth and any restraints or risks
  2. Members, Customers, and Sales
    • Identify/classify potential members/customers
  3. Competition
    • Assess competition based on:
      • Features of membership and other products
      • Types of members and customers
      • Who buys what, when?
      • Trends
      • Pricing
    • Review advantages and disadvantages of these products/services in relation to satisfying member and customer needs
    • Review the unique value proposition for your membership and products versus those offered by the competition
    • Discuss if your membership and products address current market issues in the short or long term.

The tools to collect the data necessary to answer these questions fall into three areas:

  • Primary research: any type of research that you go out and collect yourself. These include:
    • Quantitative research – used to determine the relationship between one thing and another and helps identify causality by isolating a number of variables and looking at the relationships between them (statistical significance). Surveys are often used to collect this information.
    • Qualitative research – is directional, aimed at providing a general description of a population, identifying overarching trends, and exploring issues. It is often used to assist researchers in designing the questions used in a survey for a quantitative study. Tools usually used for this type of research include online focus groups, executive interviews, and tradeshow intercepts.
  • Secondary research – the systematic review and summary, collation and/or synthesis of existing research. Sources include academic papers, economic reports, trade publications, previous studies, etc.
  • Data-analytics – the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data. Using your internal database of member and customer transactions (both financial as well as social), analysis of the relationships between key data-elements within your database can turn it into a relevant source of business intelligence to identify, develop, and possibly create new strategic opportunities for the association. The tools used to accomplish this usually include descriptive statistics, exploratory data analysis, confirmatory data analysis, and predictive analytics.

Marketing General Incorporated’s experienced staff of researchers, data and intelligence analysts, and market strategists can help your association identify new opportunities to grow membership, develop new products, and expand your customer base. Our staff will help you transform the raw data into meaningful information that can be used to develop the strategies and tactics you need to increase membership and drive revenue.

If you have any questions concerning your current membership marketing program, how research and data-analytics might help you improve the impact of your program, or how to best present your plan to leadership, please contact Rick Whelan, President. His direct number is 703.706.0350 and his email address is Sources

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