We've all seen the trends - some more than others. With membership declining and conference attendance slipping, what will be the inevitable outcome?
Your association will become irrelevant.
Now, let's pull the layer off the onion and see how this is (or will be) happening.
1. Your members are now mostly millennials. This phenomenon is putting a lot of pressure on membership dues. This group that grew up with the internet is not used to joining anything. They think they can get all the content that you have been providing to them for FREE - just by asking Google. They also need to be entertained. So, if your content is not digital (video or a podcast), and it's not proprietary to your association, you have a big problem.
2. Your content is text based. 90% of people are visual learners. This means that text based learning or text based content is a burden to absorb. Your members judge you not only by how good the content is, but also by how it is presented.
3. Your sponsors are not interested in a branding buy anymore. This is a huge shift from even just a few years ago when sponsors really did not expect a measurable return on their sponsor investment. Now, marketing departments are involved and demanding accountability. How are you supposed to give them a return on investment when your conference membership is declining?
The three points listed above are just a few of the factors that will contribute to your association's decline and eventual downsizing. You need to stop the slide now. How do I do that?
Give members what they want.
Give your members rich, relevant content that they can only get from you. Make it edu-taining by making it video and audio based. Make your content program sustainable by understanding that you should be able to generate significant non-dues revenue with great content creation.
Give sponsors what they want.
Your sponsors are looking for partners in creating content. They want your members to absorb the content while creating content for their own target audience. Be the conduit to great joint-content creation so they come back to you for more and more. This way, your sponsorship model moves away from the conference buy to an annual buy. More revenue. Easier sell.
To learn more about how your association can remain relevant, give us an opportunity to explore some avenues with you.
Association TV® is part of WorkerBee.TV
John Heppenstall is Director of Marketing for WorkerBee.TV