Archive for the ‘Communications News’ Category
Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 by user
By Al Rickard, CAE
1. Decide if it really is a crisis – Sometimes you have to recognize something for what it is and have a sense of humor about it. Embarrassing and inconvenient do not necessarily warrant full-blown crisis intervention.
2. Use your crisis management plan – Every organization needs a crisis management plan, including a complete crisis communication component. Use the plan and communicate accordingly. Results from past crises shows that organizations with a plan fare better in terms of public perception and, in the case of publicly traded corporations, in share values.
3. Respond quickly – If a problem is festering and members, the public and others are framing the issue and defining the conversation, it’s only going to get worse. Get out there and show you care about the problem and the people it affected – even if it’s only a quick statement to say you are looking into it and will have more information soon.
4. Don’t sugarcoat the truth and downplay the problem – You don’t want to create unnecessary alarm, but it’s better to warn of the worst-case scenario and have it turn out better than to say it’s a minor problem and then have it blow up in your face. Once you’ve lost your credibility, you’re done.
5. Be real and make it personal – Don’t get caught up in corporate-speak that can make your response seem cold and calculated. Speak from your heart and show some compassion.
6. Make sure the facts are correct – Remember the West Virginia mining accident when the Governor of West Virginia announced that the miners were alive when they were actually dead? Not good.
7. Identify a spokesperson – One person should deliver updates in a crisis and the media should know who to go to. When other people attempt to speak in an official capacity, the results can be disastrous. For an association, the spokesperson is usually the chief staff executive but could be the Board Chair.
8. Don’t delegate CEO or Board Chair responsibility – One of these key leaders must be in charge in a crisis. The only time a CEO should delegate responsibility or spokesperson duties to others is if his/her credibility is damaged beyond repair, and in that case they should also resign.
9. Apologize and accept responsibility – People will accept an apology and forgive you, but just apologizing is not enough. You have to be accountable.
10. Actions matter – Communication is essential, but without action to solve the crisis, words mean nothing. Make sure you have a solid action plan that is likely to produce real, measurable results that you can report in future media briefings to show progress.
11. Be brief and be clear – We live in a sound bite world, and it’s only the memorable sound bites that break through and are remembered. Distill your messages down to the essence and deliver them boldly and in an interesting way.
12. Don’t ask for sympathy – remember the famous line from Tony Hayward of BP saying, “I’d like my life back?
13. Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes, even bad ones – When something really bad happens, people will think it is the result of one of two things – evil or stupidity. Which would you rather be – evil or stupid? If it was stupid, say so. You’ll take a short-term hit, but people will forgive you. You can fix a stupid thing by getting smarter. But there is no defense for evil intent – real or perceived.
14. Don’t lie – It never works. It seems obvious to say, but even U.S. presidents have broken this basic rule.
15. Plan social media strategy in advance – When a crisis breaks, social media will soon be buzzing with random facts, opinions, speculation, misperceptions, and even calls to action. A good social media strategy developed in advance with a strong crisis communication component will help you manage the waves of social media discussions that will occur. Trying to develop a social media strategy in the midst of a crisis won’t work.
16. Fix misperceptions – If misperceptions are festering among your key audiences, do something about it. Be transparent. State the truth. Apologize again if necessary. Explain the situation further. But if exposed to the truth, the collective wisdom of the crowd will rise to the surface in the social media.
17. Know when to let go – No negative story lasts forever, even though it may seem like it. Every story is different, but use your best judgment to assess when the story has run its course and you have done all you can to shape it. You don’t want to prolong a problem or make it worse.
This text has been scaled down. The full version is available here.
Al Rickard, CAE, is president of Association Vision, a Washington, DC-area communications company. He is a member of the ASAE Communication Section Council and Co-Chair of its Cross-Collaboration and Community Advisory Group.
Thursday, February 17th, 2011 by Autumn Jones
Yesterday, the 32nd Annual Association TRENDS Salute to Association Excellence was held int he Presidential Ballroom at the Capital Hilton in Washington.
Maggie McGary, online community and social media manager for the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association was named Publishing Trendsetter of the Year by the Angerosa Research Foundation. She was recognized for her efforts in developing and maintaining an organizationwide Web 2.0 strategy. The association’s blog receives more than 40,000 visits per month and is accessible through a variety of mobile devices. She also writes a personal social media blog “Mizz Information” and is a guest blogger for the Washington Post and SocialFish.
The winners of the All Media Contest were also recognized.
It was a great day for communications!
Maggie McGary receives the Publishing Trendsetter of the Year Award from Debra Stratton, Stratton Publishing
Thursday, February 10th, 2011 by user
By Rick Whelan
I read an interesting and timely blog posting on this site from an “about to be” former member of ASAE. The writer states the many reasons he did not find the benefits of membership to have been worth the dues, and therefore will not renew his membership for 2011.
As a membership marketer (not employed by ASAE, but a longtime ASAE member myself) it got me thinking about the formal or informal process a current member uses to decide not to renew.
It goes to the heart of many an association’s membership problem – the growing number of people who never join, or who join, only to leave in the first year or two of their tenure.
In simple terms, it’s the association’s “value proposition,” or “the gets” of membership that many times drives the decision to un-join.
So how can an association be better armed to intercept –and then reverse– the decision to un-join?
First, associations need to realize that they are not the only game in town for professional information. As the blog writer says, there are dozens of sources for info.
Growing competition for time, attention and dues dollars is the chief impediment to association new member growth.
Not only does all that information available – much of it for free — take a toll on our time, but it often leaves us on overload. As a result we shut down to new sources of information, or offload sources to give ourselves some breathing space — in this instance web sites and blogs won out over an ASAE membership.
Second, associations need to treat different members differently, so the fact that this member self -identified as a young professional meant they had developmental career needs that should have been address proactively by the association. Certainly a look at the ASAE web site shows that it has lots to offer YPs.
Third, ASAE should have reached out to the YP as a new member asking what he needed or making suggestions that would have help keep him engaged.
Prospects are not sure “what the association has to offer” or have seen “no compelling reason to join” in the first place, and new members are not sure what they are getting for their dues, so it’s easy to let the membership lapse.
I suggest my clients become “career partners” with their members changing and modifying the offered member benefits and services as the member’s need change over time.
If the company pays for membership, most of us would probably let our membership continue almost indefinitely. But this member, who first used his boss’s membership and then decided to pay for his own, didn’t think the $100 paid was worth it.
Even that tells me that at some point ASAE membership did have value, but something changed after joining.
Companies’ moving association membership from company-paid to personal-paid is a growing trend, and one that is already causing problems for some of the biggest trade groups and membership societies. This will require, even more than in the past, that the association makes clear the membership benefits and meets professionals right where they stand. Increased communication, letting them know you’re still there for them, will become key.
Sadly, not only was the member at fault in this case, but the association, too. There was no way that after only one year the member could have possibly explored all the value available at an association like ASAE, and he should have recognized that and extended his membership.
I have been a member for 10+ years and still find value in many of their offerings that I did not know even existed months before.
And ASAE was at fault for not recognizing and then addressing this member’s particular need as a “Young Professional,” which would be very different from what I may look to ASAE for.
Please understand I am not picking on the member or ASAE, just using them both as examples here.
Since ASAE is the premier association for associations, it would be interesting to know if this member will ever rejoin as he may move along and upwards in the association profession.
Rick Whelan is president of Marketing General Incorporated (MGI). For 32-years MGI has helped hundreds of associations grow brand awareness, new member recruitment, member engagement, renewal and reinstatement programs. Visit MGI on the web.
Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 by user
By Barbara Meyers Ford
Thad McIlroy, President, The Future of Publishing and keynote speaker at the Cadmus 2010 Executive Management Retreat, gave these ten guidelines for publishers looking to survive the current climate of publishing.
- Don’t Think “Either/Or.” Think “AND” where and = evolution.
- Trends are not linear. There is no evidence that print will die, but there is tons of evidence that its decline will continue. What we haven’t determined is the extent of that decline.
- Data formats remain a problem. Why didn’t XML go mass media? Its growth is happening in a non-algorithmic fashion.
- iPhone, iPads, and Notebooks can not all survive. There is a limit to the number of separate digital devices that people want to carry and that limit = ONE.
- People won’t deal with complexity. They would rather have a simple answer that is inaccurate than a complex one that’s true.
- Digital sales are gross. They don’t bring about the same unit revenues as print so there must be a change in the business model to create a tighter cost structure.
- Free is overrated. Most people will pay a reasonable amount for content. DRM increases the attractiveness of providing free samples, however, which are good.
- Traditional educational institutions are KAPUT; they are on a road to change in spite of their conservative nature.
- Don’t be defensive or you’ll attract predators.
- When there is a level playing field, GOOD content always wins. Problem: the field is rarely level.
Event Date: October 27, 2010, Baltimore, MD
During her 35+ year career, Barbara M. Ford worked for societies and consulting companies before establishing Meyers Consulting Services (MCS), specializing in society management and scholarly publishing. Since starting MCS, Barbara’s work with commercial and non-profit publishers (as well as organizations in allied industries) ranges from a day of advice to months or years of service as adjunct staff in senior positions.
A co-founder of the Society for Scholarly Publishing and a past President of the Council of Science Editors, she has devoted considerable time to all the organizations serving our industry and continues to do so. Her most recent contributions are as adjunct faculty in the Masters in Publishing Program, George Washington University. More information can be found at www.bmeyersconsulting.com.
Thursday, December 16th, 2010 by user
By: Rick Whelan, CDM.
Now when budgets are stretched and marketing expenses are bound to be cut, the need to know how much you can really afford to spend to recruit, renew or reinstate a member is more important to know than ever.
As a rule of thumb, if you are making net money on recruitment after all expenses, you are probably not recruiting a many new members as you could.
Aggressive marketers know you can afford to breakeven or even lose money on recruiting new members, if those members stay – on average – more than a year.
Most associations renew members in the 80%+ range, which mean most members stay for 5-years. So if your dues are $100 a year and the member is worth upwards of $500 over those years (less some level of servicing costs), you can certainly spend at least the 1st year dues ($100) recruiting those members.
Regrettably, many associations world spend far less that the $100 I suggest so never fully realize their true new member potentials.
The same holds true for renewals and reinstatements. Again here many associations have a fixed number of renewal or reinstatement efforts they do every year without thinking that many more members might renew or come back if they even did one additional effort.
Here my rule of thumb is to keep trying to renew and reinstate until the efforts begin to lose money.
Even then I would place all those lapsed members into my next new member acquisition effort.
Rick is President of Marketing General Inc, a direct marketing firm helping associations recruit, renew and reinstate members from coast to coast. Find MGI on the web at www.marketinggeneral.com
Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 by user
By Erik Schonher, Vice President, Marketing General Incorporated
When I played sports in high school, my coach would always have us work on “fundamentals.” For soccer (yes, the greatest sport in the world!), we would focus on kicking properly, “heading” the ball, dribbling, and a host of other activities. This helped us to create “metrics” so we could evaluate our own performance and become better players.
As membership professionals, our typical metrics are:
- Response Rate
- Renewal Rate
- Average Tenure
- Lifetime Value (LTV)
- Maximum Acquisition Cost (MAC)
- Steady State Analysis
For many of us we have computer programs that automatically calculate these metrics. However, after over 25 years in this business, I can tell you that occasionally these programs are incorrect, so it is always a good idea to understand how these metrics are calculated just in case you are suspicious of a number and you can do the math yourself.
||Total Responses/Total Number Promoted
||120/10,000 = 1.2%
||(Total Members Today – 12 Months of New Members)/Total Members in the Previous Year
||(10,000 – 2,000) / 9,500 = 84.21%
||1 / Reciprocal of the Renewal Rate
||Reciprocal = 1 – .8421 = .1579;
1 / .1579 = 6.333 years
|Lifetime Value (LTV)
||(Dues + Non-Dues Revenue) x Average Tenure = LTV
||($150 + $100) x 6.333 = $1,583.25
|Maximum Acquisition Cost (MAC)
||[(Dues + Non-Dues Revenue) - (Incremental Costs)] x Average Tenure = MAC
||[($150 + $100) - ($50)] x 6.333 = $1,266.60 MAC
|Steady State Analysis
||Annual New Members Acquired / Reciprocal of the Renewal Rate = Total Membership Steady State
||3,000 / .1579 = 12,666 Total Membership
Incremental Costs include customer service, cost of goods sold, etc.
 Note that this does not tell you when it will occur, just that it may given the current situation.
Erik Schonher is Vice President of Marketing General Incorporated (MGI). In addition to providing strategic and tactical planning for a number of MGI clients, Erik also oversees MGILists which provides list management services for over 80 association clients.
MGI is America’s leading provider of membership marketing services to the association marketplace. For over 31 years, MGI has provided strategic and tactical services that have successfully grown associations’ memberships and driven non-dues revenue. Visit MGI on the web here.
Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 by Joanne Harap
My name is Joanne Harap; I am president of Production Matters, and I’ll be editing the Media Matters blog.
I started my publishing career working at a trade association and moved to a medical association for my next job. I also spent a year at a Washington area printer that specialized in association magazines, newsletters and direct mail. I made the move to business to business publications before becoming a production consultant in 2006. I have worked with several medical and trade associations on vendor selections, financial management, budget planning and preparation and workflow and process improvement initiatives.
We plan to cover many of the topics that are important to you and your association in this weekly blog. We will have quarterly print, paper and postage outlooks to keep you up to date on the latest industry news and pricing changes. We will bring you breaking news in these areas as well.
In addition to the quarterly updates, we will address social media issues, trends in the STM market, how associations are keeping up with digital delivery needs, membership challenges, international issues and timely legal news. We have a stable of industry experts who will address these issues on a regular basis.
Please send me any ideas that you would like to see addressed in this blog. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.