Presentation on theme: "10 Marketing Secrets that will Change Your Association Forever ISAE 2003 Convention David E. Stevens."— Presentation transcript:
10 Marketing Secrets that will Change Your Association Forever ISAE 2003 Convention David E. Stevens
What we’ll learn: 10 Marketing Secrets Insights and examples based on a decade of working with a multitude of associations, plus the experience of hundreds of brands. We will not be discussing the specifics of the “tools” (advertising, promotion, PR, etc.). Those are still critical and must be executed with excellence. These secrets are the overarching strategies that will make the tools more effective.
Secret #1: Don’t assume you understand your members. Example: “The Focus Group” Lesson: Customers surprise you. Your customers hold insights and opinions that you may never realize unless you ask or observe them. Just because “it worked in the past” does not mean it will now (example: association that was victim of its own success). Just because “it works for everyone else” does not mean it will for you (example: “display” versus “feature” importance for packaged goods).
Secret #2: Focus on those few things that truly have an impact. Example: “The Unit Manager and the Fair” Lesson: Develop a “big hit” mentality. Cut marginally profitable programs and activities/projects; let the staff focus on items that make a tremendous difference. Determine the usage of services or products (include type of membership); cut the bottom 20% and reinvest those resources in something that has a greater impact. If a benefit is not in-line with the association mission, consider cutting it or minimizing it.
Secret #3: Play to your association’s strengths. Example: An early marketing lesson Lesson: “A Bird in the Hand…” still rings true. Regardless of what you are marketing, favor your base of past attendees, sponsors, etc. Do not act as if this is the first time you are marketing to this audience. Cover the base – and the rest is net extra. Consider the net profit (or loss) associated with an incremental purchase, especially when marketing outside your membership.
Secret #4: Emphasize frequency. Emphasize frequency. Emphasize… Example: “Bad Breath…” Lesson: Keep your message alive. It will always be difficult to break through the clutter of messages your members see. Great advertising or marketing is critical, but it is still not enough. Frequency is key. Seven times will just start to make a difference. Great advertising is difficult to wear out. Do not base “wear out” on your senses – base it on target audience opinion.
Secret #5: Don’t underestimate the power of New! and Improved! Example: “The Media Heavy Up” (and billions of dollars of profit) Lesson: Invent! Invent! Invent! “New” and “Improved” are capable of great things, but they are also financially risky, so start with “concept development.” Try to do “concept and use” testing to avoid the “Little Boy Who Cried Wolf” syndrome. Test market when possible, but do not tip your hand unless you are ready to expand quickly.
Secret #6: Seek critical mass. Example: “The Mega Event” Lesson: Build something that cannot be ignored. Create a presence so large that it forces others to pay attention. This is not just for PR and event planning. This is part of the reason why “new and improved” work over and over. Other tactics: Marketing calendar, flighting, regional (focused) media buys.
Secret #7: Build alliances that favor your association. Example: Business partnerships Lesson: Alliances are harder than they appear. Alliances are often built out of weakness. If the other party is weak, they might not provide enough benefit. If the other party is strong, they might try to take advantage of you. Seek strong, fair partners. Short-term, tactical alliances carry less risk and can serve purposes such as “critical mass.”
Secret #8: Don’t “flank” when you can “extend”. Example: Pick the winning concept… A) Starbright DVD Cleaner B) Starbright DVD Cleaner from the makers of Mr. Clean C) Mr. Clean DVD Cleaner Lesson: Leverage your strengths. The principle: Flankers miss the opportunity to leverage the base brand; moreover, they dilute scarce resources. Convention themes can consume resources and miss the opportunity to reinforce the key association benefit. Your services/products should always reinforce the primary benefit of the association.
Secret #9: Know thy competition. Example: “The Seminar” Lesson: Competition is everywhere. Is it another association? A web site? A business? A potential splinter group or special interest group from your own association? Build your own “War Room.” Benchmark against your competition. Find what they do best, and do it better. Be aggressive – but legal.
Secret #10: Timing is critical. Example: “Rich and the Critters” Lesson: Good efforts go to waste with bad timing. Focus marketing efforts at critical times. This seems obvious, but is often misjudged. Principle 1: Focus on their marketing calendar, not yours. Principle 2: Give them more than one opportunity to say “Yes.” Principle 3: Cinch the deal before you ask for it, not while asking for it. Examples: convention brochures, membership renewals.
Summary: The tools are key. But the secrets make them better. The tools (advertising, promotion, PR, etc.) are still important and must be executed with excellence. But they can “hit a wall” where their effectiveness diminishes. These secrets are the overarching strategies that will make the tools more effective year after year. One bonus tip…