Throughout the year, Higher Logic has interviewed numerous leaders in the association space on the Member Engagement Show podcast. Here we offer you the top takeaways of this year from our most popular episodes.
Episode: The Past, Present, and Future of Digital Experience
Guest: Jim Catts, co-founder and CTO at Rhythm Software.
Topic: How technology shapes the member experiences associations provide.
When communication between associations and their members was manual and physical, the cost of creating and delivering content was high and limiting. It only allowed for a “push” relationship with members, with associations deciding what content members would get, and how, and when.
Email represented a new channel to create content efficiently and cheaply, as well as bidirectional communication, more frequent communication, and targeting with specific content.
If email represented incremental improvement, the dynamic web represented a paradigm shift. Members can generate their own content and communicate with each other on low-friction, real-time channels. We have moderated communities. And we have content available on demand and content suggestions are based on observable preferences and actions.
The reasons people join haven’t changed. People want access to a community of peers. They want access to relevant information. They want access to credentialing.
Jim believes there’s still a lot that can be done to improve personalization and tracking member behavior in order to increase the relevance of content. He suggests giving members a menu of options, understand attention spans and the competition for attention, be aspirational, and give members quick and actionable ways to make a difference.
“We used to talk to associations about their technology strategy as if it’s something separate from how they deliver on those values to their members. You can’t make that separation anymore. Your technology strategy now is your strategy, and technology is fundamental to delivering that value.” – Jim Catts
Episode: What Motivates Members
Guest: Todd Henry, Founder of the Accidental Creative, which teaches creative professionals to thrive in the create-on-demand economy. Todd is the author of five books; “The Accidental Creative”, “Die Empty”, “Louder Than Words”, “Herding Tigers”, and his latest, “The Motivation Code.”
Topic: There are things that motivate us to do certain things or take certain actions, and then there’s everything else…the stuff that doesn’t motivate us at all. Motivation of association members is not a one-size-fits-all affair.
Don’t create content based on your own personal motivations. Not everyone is motivated the same way we are. Your time will be better spent learning what the motivations of your members are rather than assuming.
Research shows there are exactly 27 unique ways people talk about peak moments of deep engagement and satisfaction in their work, what drives them, and what motivates them. Your “motivation code” is the combination of your top three to five things that activates involvement in some kind of participatory event or an outcome you’re driving toward.
Motivations don’t change much over time. You might have some shakeup in your top motivators, but something that was a significant motivator 10 years ago isn’t likely to drop to the bottom of your list.
If you want to understand someone’s motivation, ask them about a moment in their life when they achieved something memorable and significant. Why was it so meaningful? The answer will show you what drives them so you can speak to their motivation faster.
Don’t wait for your job to motivate you. Instead, we can discover what motivates us, then bring that back to our work and incorporate it in more meaningful ways. It’s a far more proactive way of thinking about motivation.
“Every motivation is a gift. And once we learn to understand how to receive one another, according to those motivations, it changes collaboration.” – Todd Henry
Episode: Revenue Strategies for Today’s Association Leaders
Guest: Dawn Sweeney, the longest serving and first woman president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. Executive in residence at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and a principal for the New England Consulting Group.
Topic: Now that the pandemic is (hopefully) moving into the rearview mirror, we sought out some expert and highly experienced advice on how best to move into rapid recovery-mode where revenue generation is concerned.
It was always important to have a great team and support that team, but it’s more important now than ever. It was always important for the work to have meaning and purpose, but it’s more important now than ever. It was always important to understand people’s needs and gear products and services to that, but it’s more now than ever. There are opportunities to be more relevant than we were before.
Go beyond dues and build value to your members by understanding their businesses and challenges. Find the high-gain opportunities and where you could make the biggest impact. By high gain, we mean you can improve something 100%, but if that something represents only 2% of their cost of doing business, that wasn’t a high-gain opportunity.
Grow a change and growth culture. The team can’t be afraid to work across silos and challenge each other in pursuit of a bigger vision. That includes the board and its leaders. People must be free to state the truth and heed the data. And there must be a willingness to drop things that are only marginally successful.
Affinity programs make sense if they’re connected to the core mission. Be clear why you’re doing it. If it’s just to raise money for a revenue line, that’s not good enough. Long term, there’s a danger it can damage the brand and trust. Affinity programs are good tools, but you must be very discerning.
It’s easy to get in the zone where you’re just looking at your own vertical and certain competitors. The big ideas come from completely unaffiliated, unconnected industries or experiences. Look up and around, and you’ll see a new idea.
“There are many challenges in the pandemic we’ve all experienced that are overwhelming. There are also opportunities. One of them helping us all get better and move out of our comfort zone, getting through fear and into the payoff, which is learning and growth.” – Dawn Sweeney
Don’t Miss Any of These Compelling Conversations
At Higher Logic, we’re committed to keep these expert and informed conversations for association leaders going throughout 2023. And we would love to have you subscribe to The Member Engagement Show and become a regular listener of this podcast, which was designed especially for you.
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