An Executive Director's point of view


May 25, 2016: Friendly competition

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Your members are very likely to be members of other groups in your industry or profession.

They may belong to a national association and a local one, a specialty group, an educational or research organization that deals with a topic specific to their interests, and perhaps a related group from outside your circle.

Those groups may be your allies, they may complement your programs, and you may even launch joint activities with them.

But members often can't join them all.

Sometimes, it's too costly. Other times, they just don't feel they can devote adequate attention to all of them, read all the journals and magazines, or attend all the programs - regardless of their quality.

So, they limit their memberships to only those they think are the absolutely most important.

You need to do what is possible to be considered one of the absolutely most important. Make a point of offering an educational program, certification process, informational resource, or something else of value that is not available anywhere else.

Find a way to make your organization an indispensable part of their professional toolbox.

May 13, 2016: What matters

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
If other industries or professions are encroaching on your members' turf and claiming to be able to deliver less expensive services, don't whine to legislators, media, or the public about how your members will be put out of business.

Nobody cares.

Talk, instead, about how the proposed alternatives will reduce the quality of the services delivered to customers, clients, and patients.

Focus on their needs, not yours.

May 11, 2016: Customer (member) needs

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
When disseminating your association's message - promoting membership, conference registration, continuing education, or anything else - appeal to the recipients' needs and desires, not those of the association.

Don't try to convince people to buy what you are selling. Don't try to persuade them of the value of these items.

Instead, put yourself in their shoes and view offerings from their perspective.

Ask yourself, "How will I benefit from these things?"

Offer programs that recipients value, not those that you want them to value or think they should value.

Start with their needs, not yours.

October 05, 2015: Clip art deception

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Do the people in clip art photos look like your members?

Probably not. Clip art models usually look attractive, fit, and well-groomed.

Many, if not most, of your members don't.

So, if you want your web, magazine, or brochure photos to look real, display pictures of real members. You can find them at meetings, educational conferences, exhibit booths, or doing whatever they do in real life.

Don't use models.

(And remember, it is usually not legal to use photos posted on the internet. Most are copyrighted and you may be required to pay a fee to use them).

June 16, 2015: Do people read ads?

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
You'd think so, since companies spend billions of dollars a year on advertising.

But do your target audiences view ads?

Do they utilize ad blockers on the internet?
Do they click "skip ad" when viewing YouTube videos?
Do they disable banner ads and pop-ups on web sites?
Do they silence audio ads?
Do they walk away from the television during commercial time?
Do they watch ad-free movies and TV shows on their laptops?
Do they ignore ads in printed publications?

Ads usually tell what the advertiser wants you to know rather than what you might want to know. So lots of people ignore them, delete them, or tune them out.

When considering advertising your association, or selling ad space to sponsors, ask yourself: Do my prospects pay attention to ads? Do they want to be forced to view ads when they're doing something else? What will they think of the organization and its sponsors if ads appear where they didn't expect them and might not want them?

Don't just do what seems popular or profitable. Know your audiences, approach them in the way they want to be approached, and provide them with a message they'll want to hear.
Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
There's been a lot of criticism of Whole Foods Markets' new strategy targeting millennium shoppers.

Find out why.

April 29, 2015: Very expensive promotions

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Some associations print very expensive promotional materials. Those are often clever, attractive, and eye-catching.

But do association members want their organizations spending so much money on that kind of stuff?

March 24, 2015: Multiple designs

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
When developing promotional materials for association activities, design something different for each venue. Don't try to save money or time by using the same layout for everything. It won't look good and people will be less likely to respond to it.

Web pages, mobile device displays, email, printed flyers, postcards, magazine ads, posters, and lawn signs (if you host a public event), should all utilize separate designs that are constructed for maximum effectiveness in each of those settings.

Written copy, amount of copy, choice of colors, fonts and font sizes, images, design embellishments, etc. should differ depending where they are used.

The money spent for multiple designs will be far less than the money lost if members and customers have difficulty viewing and acting on promotional prompts that are not suitable for the settings in which they appear.

March 11, 2015: Don't stalk prospects

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
I viewed some kitchen chairs on a retailer's web site and for weeks afterward received pop-up ads for them.

That was creepy. It was as if a salesperson had watched me while I looked at the chairs in a store, followed me home, and repeatedly slid promotional flyers under my door to induce me to buy those chairs.

You are not helping customers or members by seeding their internet views with products or information you think they will like. You are just letting them know that you are spying on them.

February 24, 2015: Direct mail benefits

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
These are some of the things that make direct mail an effective marketing tool for your association.

Plus, direct mail often drives people to your web site. Watch for spikes in unique visitors after you've mailed.

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