A Member Research Strategy to Consider

Smooth The Path

In the last post and the one before , I have been talking about all the benefits of the qualitative methods of research (qualitative research is deep-dive, story-driven research that is adept at answering your complex questions.). Qualitative is the deep-dive research method.

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.

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. Consider what the methodology is best at doing.

The Marketing of Marketing is not Telling Us The Whole Story About Member Research

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And we focus far more on data and surveys than we do on qualitative market research. Technology promises to give us unprecedented access to our members’ hearts and minds but does it really deliver? We may start to repel members instead of attracting them.

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. Related: Data and association decision-making. Beware of one question surveys for associations.

The Marketing of Marketing is not Telling Us The Whole Story About Member Research

SocialFish

And we focus far more on data and surveys than we do on qualitative market research. Technology promises to give us unprecedented access to our members’ hearts and minds but does it really deliver? When you first step into a marketing role at an organization with few member insights, start with the data. Perhaps you have the tools to segment your audience to figure out who the organization’s biggest champion is, or the biggest user, or most profitable member group.

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.

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. Often.

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.

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. Qualitative member research methods do.

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. Members see three precious days out of the office, away from their families.

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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.

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. The good news is these are exactly the members we most need to talk to. Members want to be heard.

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?

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. Don’t ask them to guess what new members need or want.

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?

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.

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.

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. Dive into your member’s stories and find out how close you are.

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 technology

There are Important Things We May Not Know About the Association

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There are some things about the association we may not know unless we ask members. our long-time members are disengaging. we use different words than our members use. we are solving a problem members have already solved.

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.

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. We have got to ask our members.

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. Members get value when we help them solve their problem.

Overcoming Association Change Fatigue

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If you are walking into an association where one or a combination of any of these things have happened, you may see that everyone is fatigued; staff, board and maybe even members. One great way to build trust is learn about members and help everyone else to learn about members in a new way.

Case Study: In-depth Member Interviews Feed Association’s Strategic Plan

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What else should the association do to support members during these extremely challenging times? With this in mind they decided to test out a qualitative research methodology as input to this strategic planning process. Listening to members.

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). Related: How new members are prompted to engage. The new member engagement rule of three.

Developing My Dream Association

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If I were to build an association, I would pull the most significant insights from all of the research I have conducted. One of the core staff values would be to be intensely member-focused. We would talk with members often, conduct listening tours, and interview them.

How Are Associations Using Twitter?

SocialFish

While all of these things are important for our members to know perhaps pushing all of the time is not so engaging. Instead of just pushing messages through Twitter here are some other ways to use this social media channel that may help you serve your members.