How are you promoting your benchmarking study results? Unlike the iconic Field of Dreams, unfortunately, just building a study does not necessarily mean your members will come! Even the most valuable tools and information need a little help in the marketing department, and benchmarking is no exception. Let’s take a look at a few important steps you should be taking to ensure that you’re not only gathering the best information, but also making sure it’s being utilized to its fullest advantage.
UNDERSTAND WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOUR MEMBERS
Do you know how your members are using the data in your study to improve practices and drive organizational and operational change? If you don’t, you should, or you may as well be selling sand in the desert. Understanding what information your members truly need, and when they need it, to make informed business decisions should be one of the very first steps in developing your benchmarking strategy. Create a focus group of your more active members or conduct a preliminary survey to find out what data your members are missing, so you can be sure you’re providing results that your membership can use in a timeframe when it’s most useful. If your members tend to do their salary and benefits planning in the fall of each year, you’ll want to make sure you have that data available to them in the summer so that content can inform their planning decisions. If you’ve already launched your study, you can still solicit feedback and fine tune it by identifying your study’s power users and asking them how your study is, or isn’t, meeting their needs. If you’re using Dynamic Benchmarking, this is easily accomplished using your platform’s administrative panel. Regardless of where you are in your study process, communication is key. If you aren’t asking, how will you know if your studies provide value and meet your members’ needs?
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Associations are often looked to as the thought leaders in their industries. As the creator of your study, you have access to a treasure trove of valuable data that you can use to meet your responsibilities as a leader in your industry. Once collected, you can use the study data to create industry trend reports, webinars, and whitepapers. This information can fuel your advocacy initiatives and drive educational content for your conferences and be used to start conversations with your members on how to improve both their own operations and the industry as a whole. By utilizing the data as an organization, you’re setting a great example for your members, showing them not only how valuable benchmarking can be, but also planting ideas of how to use that information on their own.
LET YOUR MEMBERS MARKET FOR YOU
Talking about the advantages of using benchmarking data is fine, but showing the benefits is even better. Identify “real-life” applications of your association’s benchmarking tool and showcase how your members are using the data to make business decisions and drive organizational and operational change. It will have considerably more impact than a tired and dry features/benefits list. Consider holding a “Best Use of…” contest to solicit member examples of how they’re using your study data to improve their operations. Invite super users to speak at your annual meeting or host a roundtable discussion led by your super users as an educational opportunity for all. Whatever method you choose, these real-life examples of peers profiting from benchmarking data will have a much greater impact than any other call to action.
By providing meaningful data, leading by example and showcasing real world uses of your study results, you should be well on your way to delivering a benchmarking experience that’s useful to both you and your members.