Kick-start your 2022 membership marketing programs.

by Rick Whelan

Why is it that we are only a few weeks into the new year and I already feel behind? Maybe it’s because every holiday season the workload wanes a bit as staff and clients take much-needed time off, or maybe it’s because most people are not thinking about their marketing programs as the year dwindles down.

With January here, there’s lots to do; lots to put in place to help assure a successful 2022. Whether your fiscal year ends this June or in December, there’s much to accomplish and the calendar is already working against us.

I start every year with a quick look back at the marketing programs that worked and didn’t work for my clients.

For those that worked, I want to know how I could have made them even more successful and what I can test next over the coming months. For those that didn’t work, I want to know why. Was it a bad concept, or was it a good concept executed badly? Should I have thought about a better offer, was my timing off, my pricing wrong? There are a thousand things that could go wrong with any marketing effort, but before I trash the entire concept, I want to look at what happened and what I can do differently next time. I find many times it’s the tweaks that work best. There is often magic in “trying it again.”

I also look at the health of the profession I am marketing into. Will the marketing I plan reach the audience with a message and offer they can and will respond to. The past year was telling when it came to which markets would respond and to what offer.

MGI found that the health care market (doctors, nurses, chemists, therapists, and the like) was truly resilient during the pandemic. In fact, some of the strongest successes–as measured by new member joins and increased revenues–came from these segments during the last year. Conversely, the education market was hard hit. Marketing to this group suffered and is only now recovering.

There is much ground to make up this year, and we have to begin now.

With so many things to do, it’s wise to start with the ones that can make the biggest difference. First, concentrate on getting current members to renew. That may mean adding more efforts to your current renewal program, trying new media channels to get the message out, or offering premiums for action.

Second, focus on those members who are still in the profession but have not renewed in the last year. The pandemic disrupted all our lives and when there is uncertainty, there is hesitation to act. As people return to work and back to a new normal, they may now be ready to rejoin, so an active reinstatement program should be part of your 2022 plan.

And so should new member acquisition. A December McKinsey & Company survey found:

“Overall optimism and spend remained strong with 44 percent of US consumers feeling optimistic and spend increasing 11 percent year on year. High-income consumers are the most optimistic (61 percent), but all income groups contribute to the spend growth. Similarly, all generations are contributing to the growth even though millennials are most optimistic (62 percent).”

Similar studies show repeatedly that consumers trust and value their professional associations.

Now is the time to get back into the marketplace with well thought-out offers and messaging that spur your members and prospects to act…and act now while the year is young.

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