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Redefining Marketing for Associations: the 2016 Associations Forum National Conference

The Associations Forum focuses on strengthening associations, through good governance. Each year the Annual Conference brings together the diverse mix of associations that exist for the interests of their members.

We had the pleasure of opening the second day of the conference with our plenary session on Marketing Governance. Most associations do not have dedicated marketing teams, with the responsibilities often being divided between membership, sponsorship, communications and service provision roles.
As a result, many associations miss the strategic insights that are provided through marketing. This often means that metrics are not being effectively collated, making it difficult to evaluate the return on marketing investment.

Alex at the 2016 Associations Forum National Conference

Alex at the 2016 Associations Forum National Conference

Examples include the missed opportunities that arise from an Association not identifying potential sponsors from an existing membership base, or failing to adequately reflect value in fee for service offerings. Furthermore, there is often a lack of clarity over the touchpoints required to acquire and retain members, as well as other supporters and partners.

These failings are due to the lack of Marketing Governance, caused by a lack of connectivity between marketing related functions and the strategic direction of the organisation. Marketing Governance provides the required framework for an association to become market facing, so it can engage and motivate behaviours of its members and other stakeholders.

Our session explored the five pillars of Marketing Governance, ensuring a strategic approach that considers potential risk, as well as financial resources, personnel and reporting requirements.

Importantly, marketing governance provides the oversight that is required to make informed decisions, from the board, through to the executive, management and operational staff.
Marketing exists to deliver value, Marketing Governance provides the framework required to demonstrate and evaluate this return.

Alex Makin

Author Alex Makin

In a career spanning over fifteen years, Alex has been instrumental in transforming, reinvigorating and growing the capacity of businesses and not-for-profit organisations. He is a visionary who understands the big picture. Alex's expertise is a Certified Practising Marketer and as Chair of the Victorian State Council of the Australian Marketing Institute. Alex is also an accomplished speaker, author and mentor and former Mayor and Councillor for the City of Maroondah.

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