The 2015 Association Communications Benchmarking Study includes top recommendations for improving communication programs while new online platform enables respondents to instantly see how they compare to other respondents.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The latest communication research from Naylor Association Solutions and Association Adviser reveals associations believe they are improving in their fight to combat information overload, reduce the amount of communications members ignore, make content more accessible and to ensure communications are mobile-friendly (see infographic). However, it also finds that associations still have a great deal of work to do when it comes to their ability to develop relevant content, integrate all communications and use data advantageously to learn more about their members.
Like its predecessor reports from 2011-2014, the 2015 Naylor Association Communications Benchmarking Report is based on a survey that measured communications practices of more than 700 North American trade association and professional society executives. The survey reveals a continued evolution in the way associations communicate with members and provides a deep dive on what they consider their biggest challenges year-over-year since 2011. Association communication professionals who have not yet participated in the study can do so by visiting communicationsbenchmark.naylor.com and can see how their results compare to others immediately upon completing the survey.
“This report provides an updated view of the challenges associations face in communicating with and engaging their members, and the actions they are taking to improve that engagement,” said Charles Popper, Naylor’s vice president of association relations. “This annual study provides the opportunity for associations to compare their communication strategies to those of their peers in addition to providing them with clear recommendations for communication and engagement best practices,” Popper concluded.
Top challenges reported by associations this year included developing more relevant content and having the ability to integrate this content more effectively across all communication channels. Although concerns over information overload/communication clutter is still overall the No. 1 association communication challenge, it does appear to be on the decline (66 percent compared to 70 percent in 2014).
Still, associations of all sizes, industries and operating budgets are communicating with members more frequently and via more channels and platforms than ever. The frequency of monthly touchpoints with members held steady via print and online channels over the past year, but the percentage of associations connecting with members via social media increased. More than 50 percent of associations are connecting with members at least 11 times per month via social media (up from 43 percent in 2014) and 32 percent are connecting at least 20 times per month via social media (up from 27 percent in 2014).
“This year’s study sheds light on some fundamental issues surrounding communications today,” said Jill Andreu, vice president of content strategy and development for Naylor.
“There is a shift in the type of information people care most about, and there is new emphasis on social media to communicate that information. What associations say and how they say it is different today than it was a year ago,” she said.
The good news is in the best practices revealed by successful associations. For instance, the report shows that associations with fully integrated communications were much more confident about the effectiveness of their content strategy and the quality of their communications. The report concludes with a set of 10 specific recommendations that association executives can implement to improve their communications and avoid many of the pitfalls that other associations have already experienced.
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About Naylor Association Solutions
Naylor Association Solutions provides products and services that drive member engagement and revenue for 1,800+ associations in North America. Founded in 1969, Naylor helps trade and professional associations drive member engagement and revenue by offering an array of solutions, including communications strategy, content, print, digital, video, full service event management, advertising, sponsorship & exhibit sales, career centers, e-learning, association management and association management software (AMS) solutions. It’s not what Naylor does that makes us unique; it’s how we do it. Our team is committed to customer service, has a strong sense of integrity and possesses deep expertise helping associations achieve more success. Naylor has headquarters in Gainesville, Fla., with offices in Alpharetta, Ga.; Fairfax, Va.; Herndon, Va.; Darien, Conn.; Schaumburg, Ill.; and Winnipeg, Canada. Naylor was acquired by Bethesda, Md.-based private equity firm RLJ Equity Partners in December 2013.