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ASSOCIATION TRANSFORMATION

The (not so new) need to know your audience

We have to get a better grip on our audience and targeting that audience, and we have to get serious about this because we're talking about membership on so many levels, using so many platforms be they hybrid, virtual or in person.


Knowing your audience is not a new requirement. However, non-profits and associations over these last 15 to 18 months have come to realise that they may not know their members as well as they should or indeed, as well as they think they did. When it came time to serve members in a different way, they didn't have the information or relationship necessary to engage proactively with those groups.

So how do we utilize marketing to not only help us push membership, but also develop relationships with our audience - because in reality we are asking to be a part of their world. Firstly, you need to find out what's important to the organization? What does success look like? The organization needs to stay a step back and define that first. That way, we have a greater understanding of what we need to evaluate, looking monthly at what we're doing, why we're doing it, how we're doing it, and what areas of growth is important to the association, as well as important to the members.

This isn't a short-term journey. When you're working with organisations, and they're trying to not only identify their audience, but listen, and then create something that's sincere and personal and builds a relationship, then you are not looking at six weeks engagement or even six months, this is something that needs to be integrated into the organisation's fabric, it needs to be something everyone in every department is doing - building relationships.

Associations need to think long term – who is your member of 2030? Embrace this targeting segmentation persona of development with that future member in mind and ask - what's the entry point to our organisation? How is the person who doesn't even know who you are yet going to stumble upon us? And what's the messaging to that audience?

Consider also how have audiences changed during the pandemic, and how do we go through this process differently than we may have in 2019?

The change is happening right now. Your audience is open to change.
They're in a moment right now where lots of things are unknown, so right now is the time to realize that they are open to change. So if there's always been that thing you needed to try, if there is a way forward that doesn't look like the way the association has always taken, then this is that moment to step in and say, “Okay, we have an open door, let’s try….”

Begin to realize that the audience needs something to change, they are open to change - be sure and be prepared that you are too.

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