Every association has a variety of member segments; and each segment may have different needs. More than likely, these segments are identified in your membership database: member type, primary reason for joining, tenure in profession, gender, geography or if applicable local chapter affiliation. This information gives every association a starting point for strategic planning, program and benefits development.
There is a second group of member segments that are less obvious or cannot be identified easily. These segments can be found with member research and can fall into two (2) categories:
Once identified, association leadership can determine the size of the segment (both within the current membership base and pool of prospective and lapsed members.) Leadership will then need to assess if the association has the resources in place to meet the needs of the newly discovered segment.
When evaluating the segment and your association as a whole, it is important to look outside of your organization to capture the bigger picture. The Loyalty Research Center can perform an Industry or Environmental Scan that can shed light on:
- What is happening in the industry? How will industry changes impact this new segment as well as the association overall?
- Is the industry growing or contracting? How will that impact the size and viability of the segment?
- Can this new segment drive membership growth? Or, are there other organizations already serving the needs of this segment?
If the newly discovered segment has legs (numbers that are too large to ignore with good growth potential), be sure to add this segment into your member database – perhaps as a special interest group (SIG) and include it on your membership and renewal applications for future identification and targeted communications. This will allow you to further assess interest level and growth potential for this segment. It will also enable you to engage these members in program development.
Author: Tracie Mrakich is a member of ASAE, ISAE, Association Forum of Chicagoland and the American Marketing Association (AMA). She is a past-president of the Indianapolis Chapter of the AMA (INDY AMA) and currently serves on the membership committee of the Indiana Society of Association Executives (ISAE).
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Indiana Society of Association Executives (ISAE).