Whether you’re marketing widgets to manufacturers, enterprise software to large businesses or toys to children, the principles remain the same. Understand your product offering and your competition, create a profile of your target customers and prepare your marketing strategy.
This is no different for membership organisations, the only stumbling block can be that they are often led by their members in the form of boards and committees, and so your marketing strategy may have to be signed off by more people and take longer to approve.
Why create a marketing strategy?
Writing a marketing strategy is a great way to focus the mind and thus, your marketing activities. The simple act of writing it down on paper will help to clarify what you’re hoping to achieve. But remember that your strategy should always be reflective of the overall vision and strategy of the organisation. Once you’ve nailed your key strategic objectives you can start to get into the nitty-gritty and add more detail about how it’s going to be delivered, by whom and when. A marketing strategy often contains two key streams, new business acquisition, or prospecting, and customer retention.
Managing your prospects and existing client database can be complex and many organisations choose to use membership management systems such as those supplied by ofec.co.uk to streamline the process.
Finding new members
If you already have a large membership you should already have created a customer profile based on the demographics of your existing members, such as age, sex, employment status and disposable income, for example. You can then target your prospecting activity based on this profile. This is more difficult for new organisations who will need to create a notional profile based on who you think will be interested in membership.
The Office for National Statistics provides a wealth of demographic information for you to study,
Remember that as your membership demographics shift you will need to refine your customer profile to ensure that you continue to target the right prospects.
Often overlooked, retention of existing members should form a key part of your strategy. They can provide you with valuable and free marketing in the form of word of mouth. It’s important to recognise that their needs and wants may change over time and to respond accordingly.