What REALLY Drives Success for Your Association?

Information overload – we all experience it personally, every day, with our emails and social media feeds and online media and print media and broadcast media, and that’s hard enough to manage. But in 2016, our associations ALSO struggle with information overload. We have many rich sources of data about our members, our other audiences, and our operations that we can mine in a dizzying variety of ways, so many, in fact, that it can be almost impossible to separate the signal from the noise.

On July 19, Trevor Mitchell (American MENSA) and I had the opportunity to address this topic for DMAW’s Lunch and Learn series, presenting “Defining and Using KPIs for Measurability and Success.”

We started the hour-long webinar by talking about the importance of discovering what REALLY drives success for your association. It’s not always the most obvious thing. For instance, in associations, we often focus on member count, and up is always good, right? But if you have a limited universe of potential members, or you’re recruiting marginal members that lead to a lot of churn, maybe constantly increasing membership isn’t actually a KPI for your association – maybe something like market share (that is, what percentage of your overall universe is involved) or member share (that is, how involved are your existing members) would be a better choice.

We also covered the four key categories of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), the siren song of vanity metrics (and how to avoid it), and the importance of measuring what really counts, all illustrated by Trevor’s stories of MENSA’s journey toward identifying their KPIs and using them to drive decisions and create change.



Looking into My Crystal Ball

I’ll be speaking for DMAW’s Bridge Conference in August. Leading up to the event, they’ll be devoting a feature in their July issue of AdVents to“Fall 2012 Predictions from the Experts To Jump Start Your Year-end Planning.”

They asked each speaker to answer (in 75 words or less) the question:

What development, trend, or marketing innovation do you predict will be in place by the fall of 2012 to influence every direct marketer’s year-end planning?

My answer?

Mobile. The percentage of people using smart phones is going nowhere but up, and it’s having an increasing impact on the ways we can engage our audiences and on their expectations of us. From apps to mobile-friendly websites to ensuring your emails render correctly and legibly to the ability to take mobile donations, nonprofit organizations MUST become fluent in mobile in 2013.

How would you answer the question?