I believe participation as association executives in things like membership, meetings and benchmarking, in the world of associations, is sort of like "paying it forward." It's walking the walk, meaning what you say, and "believing" what you say about the power of associations.
With that said, I want to put focus on an area that I feel associations are losing out on. It's a benefit that associations of the future should put a lot of time and effort in developing. Associations that succeed in the future will be associations that "do things for their members that members cannot do themselves effectively."
No matter what industry, benchmarking provides unbelievable inside intel about what is going on within any set of member companies and the industry. With the economy and business climate being in such a fog, no one feels great about hiring new people, making capital investments or just feeling good about the daily direction of where you are headed.
It is a powerful source when you can open up a set of industry data to see where trends have been and where they are headed. Especially given that trends have been developed from "actual data." Our association does monthly sales trends, as well as, quarterly operational cost studies. It's all online, secure, confidential and easy for members to input data and download real time reports.
Every business has 5 to 10 major numbers that can tell you how that business is doing. I want to challenge association executives reading this to do two things:
- Set up a benchmarking task force in your association, and have them try and nail down the 5 to 10 meaningful numbers that could tell you everything about the direction of the business in your industry. These can be related to sales figures, sales calls, or any operational cost items. Then survey your members to see how many would participate if they could receive a quarterly report of their figures compared to the industry and local region.
- TAKE TIME to participate in one of the most powerful association benchmarking studies in the U.S. This study is put out by Marketing General with incredible data to provide to your staff, association leadership, as well as, any membership committee. It shares intel on membership recruitment, communication strategies, and non-dues revenue structure. Marketing General brings to associations nearly 35 years of testing, market research and data analysis of member behavior and membership marketing. Simply put... they deliver the intel you need to know to grow your association.
CLICK HERE to participate in their study. DEADLINE IS: Tuesday, Feb. 19. Don't Delay!
If you are serious about growing your association, you need to look into benchmarking for your association members and take the Marketing General Survey. Your members and board leadership will thank you.
If you have any questions on benchmarking, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.