This month's article is authored by Dynamic Benchmarking's Heather Tarpley, Business Development Specialist. Heather's background in Association Business Development gives her a unique perspective on what online benchmarking can do to help associations work with their supplier members to find tangible benefits with the organization. You can connect with Heather on LinkedIn to tap into her knowledge and experience.
As a former association executive, it’s probably no surprise that I’d consider member recruitment and retention a priority for all associations. After all, what would an association be without its members?
Members ARE your association. They attend your events, use your services and, in most cases, account for the majority of your revenue. But as in any business, your members expect you to deliver something of value in return for their dues – networking opportunities, education and certification, legislative advocacy, industry discounts – and their expectations may vary as much as the benefits you provide.
For your supplier members, a captive audience of highly targeted member company prospects often ranks highest on their list of tangible benefits...but is one that is often difficult to deliver.
I’ve spent much of my career managing the business development and recruitment efforts of associations and I know that courting the lucrative supplier member is a challenging, but important priority. In many instances, suppliers tend to make up the majority of paid sponsorships and exhibit opportunities for events and services, generating significant revenue that opens many opportunities to the membership. And while many would gladly pay handsomely for unlimited access to your member roster, this is not something that is generally sold by associations due to member privacy requirements.
So how do you deliver tangible benefits to your supplier members while ensuring your regular members aren’t aggressively solicited?
Enter benchmarking. The data provided by benchmarking studies has long been valued by association members for the insight into industry trends and valuable competitive analysis data. These studies provide value to all members and can provide several meaningful benefits to your supplier members.
Online benchmarking, in particular, offers tangible benefits that lets supplier members know that you are delivering on your promises of member benefits, including:
A win-win for members and your association, benchmarking studies offer an additional sponsorship opportunity for your supplier members, giving them yet another means of getting their name in front of your general members. By offering supplier members a chance to sponsor your association’s online benchmarking studies, you provide them with a convenient and easy branding opportunity while delivering valuable business intelligence to all members.
Sponsorships help your organization easily defray the cost of a study, while increasing your perceived value among your membership, as well as increasing member engagement and loyalty. With online benchmarking, sponsorship can be offered in the study questionnaire or in the branded reporting, giving your supplier members added exposure with their target audience.
MEANINGFUL DATA ABOUT THEIR TARGET AUDIENCE
Benchmarking studies deliver meaningful information about your regular membership that your supplier members can use to target their sales efforts, refine their messaging and even develop new services and products that target member needs. Supplier members can use benchmarking data to improve their business operations in many of the same ways in which your regular members do.
Online benchmarking provides the added benefit of customized reporting that suppliers can use for targeted research specific to their current goals. This kind of data measurement cannot be replicated outside of your association’s study, nor can it be as customizable in any other format.
ACCESS TO MEMBERS IN AN ACCEPTABLE FORMAT
Benchmarking provides an opportunity for member engagement between regular and supplier members. Often associations limit general member access to supplier members in order to preserve the privacy of the organization. By conducting online benchmarking studies, supplier members can find relevant, non-intrusive ways to interact with members, giving them higher levels of access as well as increasing overall member engagement for the association.
Deliver on Your Promise of Value
As you look for ways to increase member satisfaction across all factions of your organization, consider benchmarking studies as part of your arsenal. A tangible benefit to all members, it truly is a great way to deliver on your organization’s promise of value.