Our latest Re:member research investigates the key changes in consumer membership communications, how audiences are responding and the trends that will shape marketing plans in the year ahead. Here John Innes looks at seven key lessons to be learned from the research.
1. Have a game plan
The number of channels open to you is greater than ever, but your resources and budgets are finite, the digital space is more saturated by the day and attention spans are narrowing. It’s impossible to be everywhere at once, so identify whih channels can deliver your messages most effectively and support your long-term objectives, then focus your efforts on using them brilliantly.
2. Be member-centric
Although consumer membership organisations are more integrated in their content planning, many are still overly preoccupied by the channel rather than the consumer experience. Remember, all content is membership communication and should be consistently excellent, whether it’s a long-form article in your member magazine, a Facebook campaign or a renewal email.
3. Let data inform your approach
Targeted communication yields results, but it relies on solid data. However, SEO and analytics are cited as the second biggest skills gap among respondents, and just 3% describe the quality of their data as excellent, indicating that there is significant room for improvement in data use. A truly data-driven culture requires upskilling if organisations are
to harness the full creativity at their disposal.
4. Remember your purpose
A flexible content plan is vital in a fast-changing world, but don’t lose sight of your strategy if
you want to remain relevant. That means giving thought to the distribution and long-term goals of a new podcast launch rather than throwing money at a one-hit wonder. Think about how your content fits in with your overall marketing strategy – or doesn’t – and commit to growing your audience.
5. Plan before you press send
With more content creators on the scene, how do you get noticed? Social listening tools such as Falcon, Sprout Social and Hootsuite are a good way of tuning into your members’ interests. So before you fire off another blog, check whether it’s what they want to read about and then consider what the content adds to the conversation. If the answer is nothing, reinvest that time in something that really moves the needle.
6. Innovate to resonate
The member magazine continues to rank highly for effectiveness and perceived value (see page 20), but 2020 has doubled down on digital content, such as highly segmented email, interactive online quizzes, podcasts and video, at an accelerated speed. With rising printing costs and digitally native consumers, your print offering has to be part of a much smarter marketing mix if you want to resonate with your audiences.
7. ABC – Always Be Changing
If Covid-19 hadn’t happened, would you still be churning out the same content? The world is unrecognisable to that of January 2020, and who knows what the next year will bring. So, adopting a business-as-usual mindset won’t cut it. Keep listening, learning and evolving.