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membership base Archives - Syneka Marketing

Asking the wrong question: The Taxi Industry receives feedback via Twitter

Ask the wrong questions, get the wrong answers – Exploring the YourTaxis Campaign

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, News | 2 Comments

It is unfortunately for too common for businesses to ask the wrong questions when seeking marketing support. This perpetuates the ineffective tactics led approach to marketing, which ultimately diminishes returns due to a lack of consistency with the desired strategic direction.

We often see this when a business is seeking website modifications, social media content or a branding refresh. There is the assumption that these isolated tactics will result in business growth, rather than the question being ‘how do we ensure consistency across the marketing experience and throughout each stage of the customer journey’.

Social media in itself will not foster customer loyalty or engagement if the customer base is not receptive to this medium. Similarly, a website will not result in new business if the processes behind the site are cumbersome or unwieldy.

Often there is need to dig beyond tactics to discover the broader marketing questions that need to be answered. Specifically, there the need to consider how each tactic should reinforce the customer journey to culminate in an experience that fosters outcomes.

We saw this earlier this year with Woolworths failing to consider the ramifications of its Fresh in Our Memories Campaign, and more recently with @YourTaxis, a social media campaign that failed in its attempt to shift public perceptions of the taxi industry.

Woolworths asking the wrong questions: The Fresh in Our Memories Campaign

Woolworths asking the wrong questions: The Fresh in Our Memories Campaign

While Woolworths should have had the resources, foresight and capability to think through the ramifications. The client of the YourTaxis campaign was a not-for-profit membership organisation that would have limited resources and failed to ask the right questions.

The Taxi industry, which has traditionally had few direct competitors, is now under significant pressure from Uber, despite the ride sharing service being somewhat legally ambiguous under current Victorian legislation. The Taxi Industry has responded by been undertaking advocacy efforts to review Uber given current legislation.

Uber has significant strengths in social media and strong online loyalty, aspects that are not shared by the taxi industry. A tactics based approach resulted in the YourTaxis campaign simply replicating what had worked for Uber, despite the high element of risk. The campaign failed on any discernible metric, with Twitter users complaining about Taxis and many complementing Uber within the same Tweet.

Asking the wrong question: The Taxi Industry receives feedback via Twitter

Asking the wrong question: The Taxi Industry receives feedback via Twitter

The question that should have been asked was ‘how do we improve the perception of taxis to assist in influencing the political debate?’ Had this question been asked, a social media campaign focused on soliciting public views would have never been considered.

A strategic marketing approach would have asked the right questions: focusing on all elements rather than just promotions

A strategic marketing approach would have asked the right questions: focusing on all elements of the marketing mix rather than just promotions

Answering the right question would resulted in a substantially different campaign:

  • There would be a focus on service delivery, highlighting improvements, such as driver training and standards, as well as streamlining the complaints process.
  • Promotional campaigns would have focused on the role of taxis as a form of transport to an audience of State MPs and other decision makers, rather than end users.
  • A public component could have been explored through the hopes and aspirations of taxi drivers, with the aim of building personal rapport with the sector.

Answering the right question would have resulted in a campaign focused on the entire marketing mix, with stakeholders including passengers and policy makers. Alignment between each element in the marketing mix, particularly the service, processes and people elements would have enhanced the industry’s standing.

A strategic approach to marketing ensures the right questions are being asked, so you can reach the right answers. Unfortunately in this case, the wrong question was asked twice, with a second campaign on Remembrance Day resulting in further criticism through social media.

Asking the wrong question twice: The YourTaxis Tweet on remembrance Day

Asking the wrong question twice: The YourTaxis Tweet on Remembrance (not Rememberance) Day

The end result is an industry that now has a harder time influencing debate and decision makers, as well as a not-for-profit membership based association that most likely has diminished standing with its members. It is a shame when time, money and reputation is thrown away simply because the wrong questions were asked.

PS We attempted to reach out to the Agency that initiated the YourTaxis campaign to explore their perspective. We received no response.

Membership and Marketing Workshop with the National Seniors Association

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | No Comments

The National Seniors Association is a peak organisation representing the interests of Senior Australians. Advocacy is undertaken at a national level, with local branches providing activities and events to encourage social interaction, recognize skills and reduce isolation.

Like most membership based organisations, the National Seniors Association needs to strengthen the ability to recruit and retain its members. This morning we conducted a workshop with the National Seniors Association to discuss strategies to assist local branches with membership recruitment and retention.

Membership needs to be seen as a key marketing function for both the National Seniors Association and its local branches. The workshop explored the need for consistency, ensuring that local branches understood their strengths and the reasons that someone would like to join. Furthermore, we discussed techniques to ensure that prospective members were being reached and converted into active membership.

Being responsive is critical to keeping members. There is a need to develop formalized feedback channels, such as surveys to ensure that member feedback is being considered. The use of surveys enables a consistent methodology to ensure that changes can be evaluated and compared against previous results.

Members are stakeholders of an organisation and need to develop a sense of ownership over their organisation. Fostering this level of engagement will assist with maintaining membership numbers and keeping them actively engaged.

Alex conducting the workshop with PAMS

Social Media Workshop with PAMS (Professional Association Management Services)

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | No Comments

Professional Association Management Services (PAMS) is a business that provides management services for associations, focusing on day-to-day operations.

PAMS contacted Syneka Marketing to discuss social media and its potential for the membership based associations that it manages.

Alex with Richard, the Managing Director of PAMS

Alex with Richard, the Managing Director of PAMS

Syneka Marketing provided an in-house workshop outlining common social media tools, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others, outlining the core strengths of each, and their potential uses.

Social media needs to work in conjunction with other marketing and community activities, where its strengths of being able to reach peer networks and reinforce key messages, can be leveraged.

The workshop provided an opportunity to share Syneka Marketing’s expertise and assist PAMS in understanding how social media can work for its clients.

The Membership Growth Toolkit is the ultimate resource for successful Member Recruitment, Retention, Renewals/Reactivation and Revenue earning, designed specifically for anyone in the not-for-profit sector.

Membership Mastery Melbourne 2013 Workshop

By | Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Presentations, Resources | No Comments

Membership Mastery is a joint workshop organised by Kevin Cahalane from Membership Growth and Syneka Marketing. Kevin outlined processes for membership retention and recruitment, including the need for comprehensive database membership and customer service.

Kevin Cahalane presenting at the Membership Mastery Workshop

Kevin Cahalane presenting at the Membership Mastery Workshop

I discussed membership marketing and the need to adopt a consistent approach that is reinforced through key messages:

The recruitment and retention of members should be considered an important marketing goal for any membership based organisation. Membership provides an independent revenue stream and opportunities for ongoing growth.

A marketing plan should articulate the strengths of your organisation and the key messages that will appeal to potential members. An organisation’s strengths provides a competitive advantage and should be adapted as tangible membership benefits.

Every organisation competitors, whether through competing causes or other alternatives to the expense or time required for membership. Understanding tangible benefits creates a value proposition to prospective members.

The value proposition should be articulated as key messages that are reflected across all communication tools. Prospective and current members need consistent messages to reinforce the value of their membership. The importance of membership should be conveyed to existing members to encourage renewals. Prospective members should be encouraged to realise the value and benefits they would receive from membership.

Alex Makin discussing marketing and membership at the Membership Mastery 2013 Workshop

Alex Makin discussing marketing and membership at the Membership Mastery 2013 Workshop

Websites provide the potential for a comprehensive and instantaneous membership resource, but need to be updated to demonstrate their importance. If access to a membership section is considered a benefit, then it needs to include ongoing value added content.

Websites are often the first point of entry for prospective members and someone will question whether the organisation still exists if there is only outdated content. Similarly, social media needs to be maintained to foster online communities. Content can be integrated between and a website and social media, providing a base level of communications and freeing up time to engage communities.

Social media can be an effective tool in membership engagement, but there is a need for policies and clear guidelines. Social media guidelines should be published on your website and in areas such as the about section on Facebook to ensure that members are clear on acceptable usage.

You should designate spokespeople who make official announcements, but board members, staff, members and volunteers should be encouraged to interact and respond to conversations. The authorised spokespeople should be empowered to manage difficult situations and encourage offline discussions to manage negativity.

Online engagement enables the ability to strengthen membership retention. Stronger levels of engagement increases the likelihood of word of mouth recommendations and extend the organisation’s reach.

Ongoing communication with consistent messages will reinforce the organisation’s value proposition and the ability to appeal to current and prospective members.

Membership Growth

Ten Ideas for Welcoming New Members to Your Organisation

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Resources | 3 Comments

You have put in the time and effort, spent the money, promoted your organisation far and wide … now you are reaping the reward of a growing membership base.

Yet in so many not-for-profit organisations, more members leave after the first year than at any other time. I have conducted surveys in this area and the reasons are numerous and complex – financial and changed circumstances are a couple of reasons; however, other responses relate to things such as a lack of benefits, poor service, lack of opportunity, poor facilities … in other words there is something deeper, particularly with first year members.

Below are ten ideas and suggestions which, if combined properly and worked well, can reverse the ‘first year member drop-out’ syndrome.

Ten Ideas for Welcoming NEW Members to Your Organisation

  1. Send them a ‘Membership Road Map’ – a total package that contains some free ‘goodies’ for them and, more important, a road map that takes them on a tour (virtual if on a PC or in the form of a printed brochure) of your organisation – location(s), people, how to contact, who to contact, events, meetings and all relevant information/timeframes.
  2. Invite them to a new member orientation night. Make it a fun and memorable event (avoid a sleep inducing ‘welcome’ from someone lacking genuine skills in this area) ensure they are made welcome and to feel at home.
  3. Move from free to fee – they get the goodies in the ‘Membership Road Map’ package (it can be a calendar, key ring, personalised membership card, boxer shorts … BOXER SHORTS?!? Hey, no one does boxer shorts, right? Be different!). Also, offer them a discount on an item of merchandise or memorabilia, kind of a ‘new member’s special offer’. It works! However, you should not offer discounts to new members at the expense of your current members – ensure the new members special offer is available to current members also, perhaps under a different promotional banner such as a ‘member loyalty’ offer.
  4. Contact them within 30 days of joining, by telephone if possible, and…
    • welcome them;
    • ask them if they have any specific questions regarding their membership;
    • update them on any events, seminars, functions that are about to happen;
    • ensure they are happy and utilising their membership benefits.
  5. Membership Benefits? Well, why did this new member actually join your organisation? If you don’t know – find out (refer back to #2 or #4, you can ask the question/record the response at either of these early interactions). You see, this person joined the organisation for their reason, not yours. If you know why they joined, you need to focus on that reason in future dealings with the member.Record all feedback on your database.Did they join to gain new friends, save time and effort in studies, improve their social position, build a network, get closer to their team or …? Once you know the reason … you can personalise offers and target them for events and functions that they are interested in.Perhaps they will volunteer their time for a cause that interests them, or utilise their skills to help the organisation or …?This is where a good ‘relational’ data base becomes invaluable.
  6. Appoint a mentor or buddy, which is a good idea for smaller organisations but can be utilised by larger organisations as well. There are people within most organisations who are willing to reach out and help others. Sometimes they will take on more than one person. If your organisation has educational/professional development requirements it would be an excellent idea to appoint your new members with a mentor, who can guide them over the initial hurdles. Retired members are a great recruiting source for this task.
  7. Call them a ‘New Member’ for the first full year of membership. It is absolutely vital that you develop a 12 month retention plan – first year members are your biggest defectors.Ensure you make quality contact (phone, email, social media, post) – yes, post. 37% of members of an organisation prefer their contact via the mail. Who says this? Why, Australia Post, at planned intervals, e.g. seasonal, cyclical or prior to major events, throughout the year.
  8. Commence the Member Renewals process early. Segment first year members within your database and target them. Although you should be trying to renew all of your members early – first year members need to be tracked and monitored.A phone call just before renewals time … a planned contact … won’t hurt either!
  9. Everyone, and I mean everyone, who has contact with members – and here we are talking about that new member – should be trained in delivering superior member service. Your people should be absolutely the best in telephone response, first time contact when a member visits, managing their complaints and concerns and simply making them feel that they are #1 at that point of interaction.An old US corporate study identified that 65% of people did not return to an organisation because of ‘an indifferent attitude from an employee’. Some boffins refer to Service Excellence as a ‘soft skill’. Well … it isn’t  It is an absolute necessity to give your people the skills and knowledge to be the best at what they do.
  10. Your Bonus. You have given the new member a lot of benefits and value throughout the year, now it is your turn to gain some value back, for your organisation:
    • Promote ‘Member-get-Member’. If they are happy with you, do you seriously think they won’t tell others? Well, prompt them!
    • Conduct a new member survey – what did they like, dislike and what changes would they
      recommend from the experiences they had in their first 12 months.
    • Say ‘thank you’ … that will gain you a ton of value!

Kevin Cahalane and Alex Makin will be presenting at Membership Mastery for Professionals on Thursday 14th of March.  The full-day workshop is available for just $595 (GST inclusive).  Visit membershipgrowth.com.au/membership-mastery-for-professionals-2013 for details.

Australian Marketing Institute

Australian Marketing Institute – End of Year Function

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | No Comments

The Australian Marketing Institute is the peak body representing marketing within Australia. Syneka Marketing is a corporate member of the AMI and this evening Natalia Perera and I went to their end of year function.

The Australian Marketing Institute has launched a new vision, which hopefully will streamline governance arrangements and better position the organisation as a peak body. As a membership based organisation, the Australian Marketing Institute needs to demonstrate value to members.

One of the challenges we see, is the need to demonstrate the value of marketing as a profession. There is a need to distinguish between professional marketers and those that diminish the word ‘marketing’ without providing a cohesive strategy or promoting quick wins without considering the long-term success of a business.

The Australian Marketing Institute should define marketing and utilize this to provide value in being part of the organisation. The AMI needs to represent the interests of marketing and advocate its value to policymakers, the media and the wider community.

I’m on the Communications Subcommittee for 2013 and am looking forward to promoting the Australian Marketing Institute and its objectives.