One-Size-Fits-None: Why Segmentation is so Important to Associations

Kate Jones

Today we welcome a guest post from Amanda Myers at Abila. Make sure to stop by and see Abila this week at the Informz Users Conference!

There are a lot of studies out there that have looked into member engagement from the perspective of what organizations think works or what members say they want. We wanted to do something a little different with Abila’s Member Engagement Study. Abila surveyed both member organization professionals and current or recently lapsed members (lapsed within the last two years.) The goal was to better understand how the attitudes, values, and preferences of members, align and diverge with that of association professionals/staff. We also went the extra step and segmented the data so we could explore any differences across four generations; Millennials, Gen Xers, Boomers, and Matures.

As expected, the benefits and value members get from being part of an organization change, grow, and evolve as members age and advance in their careers. Younger generations care more about job opportunities and training. Older generations are more interested in getting the latest industry information and staying current on the latest code of ethics and credentials from associations. Younger generations need more benefits, whereas older generations need fewer.

Member Engagement Study

However, very few organizations target members with any sort of consistency. Often times associations adopt a “one-size-fits-all” approach across their entire member base. Eighty-one percent of organizations use membership type as the primary – and oftentimes the only – data point around which to plan and execute member communication campaigns. Organizations are missing a major opportunity to target communications by member age and career stage.

Member Engagement Study

Segmentation is becoming a must-have in the world of email marketing. Association professionals who take advantage of it – and, do it well – enjoy higher click-through rates, better deliverability, and improved engagements from their emails than their non-segmenting counterparts.

You can get started by looking at the total membership and identifying traits that make a subgroup significantly different from other audience members. A significant difference is one that requires a different message or approach. For associations, these differences are typically based on demographic or behavioral differences among members.

Use your AMS to create the segmented lists, and import them into your email marketing system *cough* Informz *cough*. You can start small with a single email and monitor results, or you can build out complex, automated nurture campaigns. The better segments you can create, the more tailored messages you can deliver.

You can download the full Member Engagement Study for more ideas on member engagement trends and segmentation.

Thanks, Amanda. We look forward to seeing Abila at the Informz Superfan Summit this week. Learn more about the Informz for NetFORUM (Abila) integration here. You can also get your questions answered by Abila and Informz at the Summit!

About the Author
Kate Jones

As Digital Marketing Specialist at Informz, Kate manages the company website, social media strategy, press releases and marketing collateral. Outside of work you can find Kate chasing her toddler and dog and laughing at the chaos with her husband.