Technology

Achieve More by Connecting the Dots for Your Association

By Dave Bornmann • January 18, 2019

Dave Bornmann, Naylor Association Solutions
Dave Bornmann, Naylor Association Solutions

Have you recently stopped to think about how your association’s tech solutions can complement one another to maximize your existing resources and provide a better member experience?

Too often, associations think of their technology solutions from too narrow a perspective: How can my AMS more effectively manage my member data, or, how can my career center help me provide increased member value? This thinking in silos results in a series of satisfactory solutions that miss an opportunity for your association to provide a richer membership experience while enhancing your potential member value proposition.

Let’s start by looking at content: Thoughtful content printed in your newsletter(s), your magazine, or your directory, broadcast on your video channel, referenced in your career center, or spoken at your annual symposium attracts non-members and keeps current members engaged while positioning your association as the premier information resource in your industry. You’re likely promoting your content on your website and on social media to generate interest and increase your reach.  Your tech solutions – career center, learning management system, marketing automation platform and AMS – independently manage, track and measure it all.

But can your technology more effectively amplify ALL your content??  Set meetings with your colleagues to consider the ways your association can work across departments to share tools and merge information and schedules to amplify communications and technology outside of traditional functional groups.  Imagine:

  • Your latest webinar is promoted through social media, summarized in your magazine, stored in your learning center and promoted in your career center. Member attendees automatically get continuing education credit in your AMS while non-member attendees are added to a potential member marketing list.
  • Job postings are included in your newsletter, drive people to your job board, improve your site SEO, and automatically add non-member job seekers into your AMS for new-member marketing.
  • Keynote sessions at your annual meeting are captured on video, promoted in your newsletter and stored in your learning center for further member engagement and revenue generation.

Most association staff members have many projects on their plate and a finite amount of time. But lowering intra-staff barriers, while requiring a front-end investment of time and effort, is well worth the seamless experience your members will have on the public end. The best part about these examples is that in many cases they don’t require additional investments. They simply require your association staff to stay apprised of content and tools that traditionally reside in other departments.

The challenge: Most association staff members have many projects on their plate and a finite amount of time. But lowering intra-staff barriers, while requiring a front-end investment of time and effort, is well worth the seamless experience your members will have on the public end.

If your staff meets these ideas with resistance, consider the following approaches:

  • If one solution, such as your website, is one of your top traffic generators (as it often is), flag it for your executives along with ideas for how to extend that traffic to other online publications and products. Run a trial and monitor results.
  • Talk to colleagues in other parts of your association about how certain tech solutions can support their initiatives (e.g., membership growth, event attendance, certification enrollments). Create a map of all your content, communication channels and technology platforms. Brainstorm all points of connectedness.  The more people see how your association’s publications, events, and tech solutions can complement each other, the more champions you will have to fully integrate them.
  • Update senior staff about each of your tech solutions’ revenue generation and member engagement metrics. Identify strong points of content and integration already in place, opportunities for future integrations and the expected improvements to your member experience.

Breaking down content and tech silos is worth the heavy lifting. Your members will notice a richer content offering from your association and will respond positively. Use tech to give them the best content experience you can offer.

Dave Bornmann is the vice president of marketing at Naylor Association Solutions. 

This supplement originally appeared in the Associations Now March/April 2016 Tech Toolkit. Reprinted with permission. Copyright ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership, Washington, DC.