We’ve discussed in recent blogs the need for marketing membership associations to be more creative in order to retain and grow their memberships, by adding more value than ever.
Giving members the opportunity to network was no longer enough, and associations admitted that in the ‘good times’ too many freebies were given away – raising member expectations beyond that which could be delivered today.
The main consensus upon which all marketing associations were agreed, was that they needed to better deploy their own marketing skills and techniques, to help attract and retain their members.
But this is easier said than done – in particular when attracting the millennial marketer. Here, some associations have struggled with the benefits Vs value battle.
For the millennial generation which is very digital savvy already, and what we might call ‘transactionally’ shrewd, it’s very much a case of ‘what are you going to give me if I join?’
The moment they don’t get what they want, they won’t think twice about cancelling a membership, unlike their older peers who generally place a lot more value on a professional membership with a Chartered organisation.
What we need to do, is better understand the millennial audience to attract them as members.
If we can crack the benefits vs value battle with them, and attract them into a membership early on their careers, then we can hopefully retain their loyalty over the longer term.
To do this, the sales proposition for the millennial generation needs to be based on immediacy.
They can get content from everywhere for free, whenever they want it. And whilst this presents a challenge for marketing associations, it also represents an opportunity.
Historically, the supply of informative content has underpinned the membership sales proposition, and this needn’t change. We just need to make sure that the content is immediate, targeted, and relevant.
To do this, we need to make sure that we are segmenting our target audiences and associated marketing communications, accordingly. In short, we need to make sure that we are deploying marketing techniques as effectively as we are teaching them.
We also need to think of the link between the millennial generation and the older, wizened marketers.
In the past, marketing associations used networking opportunities to attract their members.
Whilst this remains relevant, the millennial generation don’t tend to realise the importance of having the sort of network that we can provide until they get their third or fourth job.
Only then will they begin to have more in-depth network needs, and want to harness the experience of the old ‘wise owls’ of the industry.
So how can we get them through the marketing membership door earlier, and retain them for the long term? Perhaps the offer of an experienced mentor could help.
This could pose an opportunity not only to attract the millennial marketer, but also the older, more experienced marketer.
The two are inextricably linked – the millennial needs the experience of the wizened marketer, and the wizened marketer will want to share their experience and knowledge – or else be buried with it!
In summary, the main thing that marketing membership associations need to remember is to carry out effective marketing themselves.
The only way to ensure a targeted strategy to attract millennials is to do the research – don’t be afraid to ask them what they want. After all, you will need to deliver on some of it if you are to attain this audience of the future.
For more information about the European Marketing Confederation and its own membership benefits, don’t hesitate to get in touch.