Before You Go To Your Go-To Member Insight Methodology

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Match your business goals, your project’s goals, your members’ goals with the right member research methodology. Why no member survey may be better than one member survey. The post Before You Go To Your Go-To Member Insight Methodology appeared first on Smooth The Path. Consider what the methodology is best at doing. Related posts: Why Survey Monkey is dangerous. Beware of one question surveys for associations.

Associations are Leaving Data on the Table

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Back in the old days of in-person meetings, member conversations helped only the members having the conversations. Not only do their conversations help them, but these conversations can also help us help them because these conversations are untapped rich qualitative member data.

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Sorting Out the Opinions that Matter the Most for Our Associations

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Member Insights core member engaged feedback helpful member insightsThe post Sorting Out the Opinions that Matter the Most for Our Associations appeared first on Smooth The Path.

Whose Feedback Matters Most to the Future of the Association?

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Related: Identify innovating members. We should value the members who value the association the most. Is the association providing enough value to long-time members? Member Experience Member Insights association change change management future focused member experience member feedback member insights riskThe post Whose Feedback Matters Most to the Future of the Association? appeared first on Smooth The Path.

Don’t Ask for Feedback from Members Who Are Too New

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Should we look outside the association to talk to prospective young members? The post Don’t Ask for Feedback from Members Who Are Too New appeared first on Smooth The Path. Member Insights Member Research member feedback member insights member research new members qualitative member research quantitative member researchRelated: Data and association decision-making.

Board Member Focus Groups Tend To Be Wildly Inaccurate

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When it comes to member research, and maybe even feedback, your board is not a reliable source. Board members may: Remember the good old days and want to return the association to that time. Be much more advanced in their careers than the average member. Have a more robust network than most members. Feel more connected than most members. Board members usually are not representative of your core members, or average members, or new members.

How Often are We Out of Sync with Members?

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Likely members think the value of their membership is more than or less than we think they think it is. Likely members have better or worse experiences with the association than we guess they do. Likely members like the conference more or less than we assume they do. The problem with being disconnected with members is we may focus on the wrong strategies, develop the wrong new products or services or send out marketing messages that just don’t hit the mark.

What Member Feedback to Keep, and What to Toss

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Often from the board, sometimes from members, periodically from volunteers, and maybe from staff. We want to be responsive to our members, but wouldn’t it be great if we knew if the feedback was correct or not? After all, it would be silly to turn the association inside out at the whim of one member, especially if the biases of that one member make them flat out wrong. So how do you know if one person’s feedback represents an army of like-minded members?

Asking Members to Opt In After a Bad Member Experience

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I met a really unusual member today. After having a bad first conference experience most members don’t attend again. After having a bad chapter event experience most members don’t go again. After reading a few emails and finding no value most members start ignoring the association’s emails. Most members, when they don’t get value, when things get difficult, when they have a bad experience, opt out. Not this member.

When is it Time to Turn to Qualitative Member Research?

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When surveys stop working but you still need to learn more about member’s challenges, problems, opinion, needs, wants, and goals. You analyzed member data and conducted surveys, here’s what is next. Helping members answer the questions that matter most. The post When is it Time to Turn to Qualitative Member Research? Member Research member insights member research qualitative member research quantitative member research solutions surveys

Our Members are Self-Centered

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Our members are self-centered. Our members have… no time. Only organizations that solve our member’s problems, speak their language, and understand them will get their time and attention. Can you stand in your member’s shoes and do this? Related: Member Engagement Research. Better member retention from frictionless experiences designed for your association. Our point of view is not our member’s point of view.

How to Leverage Your Association’s Super-Members

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The trouble with association boards is they tend to be populated with super-members. Super-members are members who are so engaged, so seasoned, so advanced in the profession or industry they are not like most members. If your board members fit this profile, they are not good candidates for focus groups to determine the member experience. They no longer think or behave like most members, certainly not new members.

Our Member’s Decisions Are Not What They Seem To Be

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Do you ever find yourself wondering why members make the decisions they make? Sometimes member’s decisions seem so irrational. Why are our members so irrational? At that moment, in their shoes, knowing what they know, having the experiences they have had, in the environment, our members are in, they are making the most rational decision possible. Related: When we create a vacuum of information, our members make up stories.

5 Ways Great Associations Become Great

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What makes an association great in the eyes of members? Members say, Transactions work like I expect them to. I am proud to be a member. I aspire to meet the other members of this association. Or the staff, board, and members go above and beyond. The new member engagement rule of three. Association Value Member Insights association benefits association solutions association strategy belonging curated networking member experience membership value

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Our Members Have No Idea What is Going On Behind the Scenes at Our Association

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Our members have no idea that: We have 30,000 other things going on in addition to answering the phone. We are about to go on-stage before 3,000 members, and we are a little nervous. Our members have no idea, and if we were in their shoes, we would have no idea either. It is worth analyzing our actions in stressful situations and reflecting on what you would think if you were a member. Related: Responsive associations boost early member engagement.

Association Volunteers Do Not Engage Because of Time and Timing

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Related: Member participation, volunteerism, and contribution are declining. Member Engagement Member Experience association strategy engaged members member engagement member experience member insights volunteering volunteersHave you ever had someone raise their hand to volunteer, and they ended up being a dud?

What Association CEO’s Need to Do About Membership

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CEOs have a tremendous impact on each member’s perceptions of the association, member culture, and membership metrics. Membership departments tend to focus on members or they focus on the mechanics of membership. The CEO markets a particular job description with a specific set of skills then recruits a Director of Membership who becomes the member expert, and an advocate for members, and a welcoming committee for members.

Common Trap for Association Professionals

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” This happens all the time in association leadership because we are coming at everything with a different perspective than our members. “I am upset because I can’t drill down and see the benchmarking data from the 15 companies just like mine, the association should have made this study more robust,” members say. We think, “man, we killed ourselves to get as many responses as we did, this member should go out and recruit more respondents like her.”

Why Some Long-Time Members Choose to Stay Engaged with Their Association

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Many associations see that their most at-risk members, the ones least likely to renew, are new members. But some new members do engage with the association, and they go on to become engaged 3-7 year members. At the end of the membership cycle, we tend to see engagement fall off again among long-time members. But some long-time members choose to stay engaged, and this is what they say engages them: Long-time members tend to be very advanced in their career.

Our Point of View is Not Our Members’ Point of View

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Our members may think membership is priced too high because of its impact on their budget or personal wallet. If members bought all the benefits a la carte, they would pay twice as much. But, our members may not see any value because the association is not solving the problem they have right now. Members see three precious days out of the office, away from their families. Is your staff’s point of view the same as your members?

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One Thing We can do to Prepare for Change

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Related: Members need association help when they face change or start something new. Did you know that member surveys can be risky? Association Strategy Member Research change innovation member insights member problems risk strategy technologyThe award-winning process for association innovation. The post One Thing We can do to Prepare for Change appeared first on Smooth The Path.

Members Leave Associations Without a Sound

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Related: Don’t ask for feedback from members who are too new. Asking members to opt in after a bad member experience. The post Members Leave Associations Without a Sound appeared first on Smooth The Path. Member Research exit survey exit-surveys lapsed member member experience member feedback member insights member researchThere are important things we may not know about the association.

When Members Believe the Association is Their Cause

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From the outside, this association is very much like many others; there are members, chapters, special interest groups, and conferences. The leadership structure is super interesting because the association is global, large with nearly 17,000 members, and vibrant because they are at the forefront of thinking about how their profession is going to change in the future. When the association needed a new website a member lead the refresh.

A Member Research Strategy to Consider

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Qualitative is not statistically significant, and unless your membership is very small, we cannot capture every member’s voice. Many quantitative surveys can be statistically significant, and they are usually open to every member. So it seems like quantitative surveys should be the method of choice because we want feedback from many members but, both methods have tradeoffs. The New Member Engagement Study is a mixed method study.

Differentiating Between Member Feedback and Member Criticism

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Each time you offer members something new you have a choice. You can listen to the feedback from those members who are all in. Member feedback helps the new change or product reach its fullest potential. What is your association’s take on member feedback? The post Differentiating Between Member Feedback and Member Criticism appeared first on Smooth The Path. They are trying their hardest to give you thoughtful, useful feedback.

A Cheaper, Faster Way to Conduct Your Member Listening Tour

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Imagine what you can learn by listening to your members share their thoughts, ideas, goals, and problems. The post A Cheaper, Faster Way to Conduct Your Member Listening Tour appeared first on Smooth The Path. Association Innovation Member Research listening member insights member problems member relationship member research qualitative member research starting relationships

Is it Day 1 or Day 2 for Associations?

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True customer (member) obsession and high-velocity decision making are the most critical but also the most difficult for associations. Think about your members. Think about your best members. Not board members but regular members who are highly engaged. We can develop offerings members love. We can attract high-quality members with our improved marketing. Related: How to exponentially improve member engagement at any association.

Engaging Not New or Long, But Medium-Time Members with Your Association

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While conducting member research new members and long-time members share why they engage with their association (and why they don’t). Here’s why 3-7 year members engage with our associations: Because they have already found value and had great experiences, so they assume more value and great experiences are to be had. Related: How new members are prompted to engage. The new member engagement rule of three.

Learn About Members’ Why

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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. 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.

Why We Might Be Interpreting Our Association’s Data All Wrong

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Our assumptions about our members can be wrong. We see the data footprints members leave in their wake, the renewals, the ways they engaged, the content they read. The only way to overcome this bias is to find out what is driving our member’s actions, goals, fears, and challenges. It is not enough to look at the data and see what our members are doing. It is time to discover your members’ stories. Do you know that member surveys can be risky?

Our Members Are Not Crazy

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Members don’t take the time to understand their benefits. Those chapter leaders are not communicating well with new members. There are so many situations that pit association staff against members. If you are sometimes baffled by your member’s decisions or your board’s decisions check out a timely article I recently became aware of. Hearing member’s stories is such a valuable thing, but these stories can be tricky to hear.

Please Ask Members

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As a member researcher I see some validity to this statement. Research, particularly qualitative research is very good at naming member problems but members themselves are often hard pressed to articulate the right solution. The problem with this quote is too often it is used as proof of why member research, of why asking, is the wrong tactic to use for our associations. We have got to ask our members. We may see members pulling back and not purchasing.

Data and Association Decision-Making

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We feel better when we can say 75% of our members do this. When making a strategic decision on the basis of qualitative data (a member survey, our own data or third party data) ask these questions: Who responded and are these the members we most need insight from? Association Strategy Member Research accurate actionable complete data member data member insight qualitative member research quantitative member research

How New Members are Prompted to Engage

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New members are the most at risk members of most associations, but some members do engage. Knowing why they engage, might help us guide more new members in this direction. So what prompts new members to engage? They had a problem they didn’t know they had but read about it in one of the emails from the new member email series. The new member got to sample the association’s benefits before joining. Related: Our members are not crazy.

A New Way to Think About Why Members Join

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Over and over we hear that professional development and networking are the top reasons members join any association. Here’s another way to think about why members join. Here are some of the things they are searching for: How do we know exactly what our members are searching for? Members need association help when they face change or start something new. There is a disconnect between member’s problem and our solutions.

Mind the Member Gap

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When I talk to relatively new members there is almost always a 3-5 year gap between when the member started in the profession or industry and when they actually became a member of the association. This is why younger members don’t join our association: Awareness – They don’t know about the association. Value – They know about the association and they know it is for them but they just don’t see the value of being a member.

Millennials and Our Associations

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Related: The wonder of new members. A new way to think about why members join. Member Experience Member Insights member segmentation Millennials new-to-the-profession professional development professional life event young professionalsMillennials are the next generation we need to attract to associations. They will be our association leaders. Their participation will determine the health of our associations.

Warning Attendees to Not Attend The Conference Again

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Improve the member experience with curated networking. Conference Member Insights attendee experience first impressions member experience member focused networking observation professional developmentA tire pressure sensor is broken on my husband’s truck. At a few hundred dollars to repair he’s been in no hurry to get it fixed. I like driving the truck but I joke that driving it raises my blood pressure by a few points every time I do.

Members Who Share Their Opinions Expect Action (here is what we are going to do!)

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Our members won’t want to give 45-minutes to hour of their time for an interview is a common worry among many association executives. But I find that members actually do. And there are two caveats: first, the association has to be so valuable or so important members want to give feedback and second, the members who actually want to give their feedback are almost always the best members. Members expect us to act on their insights.

Helping Members Answer the Questions that Matter Most

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There’s an interesting dance that happens with member research. We ask the questions we think we want to know the answers to but members see those questions and find they would rather answer some other more important questions. Online surveys don’t allow and don’t prompt members to add important questions and then answer them. Qualitative member research methods do. These new questions always yield super insightful results.