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Why anything less than a system that manages your member data and website content together in one solution could put your organization’s future success at risk
For associations, it’s all about engagement these days. Given that new member acquisition is so challenging, nothing is more important than ensuring that the members you worked so hard to attract in the first place will renew their memberships next year and well into the future.
But how you engage members is changing. There is pressure from three different fronts:
• Economic: With tight budgets, members are scrutinizing every expense and looking for demonstrated value from their memberships.
• Demographic: Your member base is steadily becoming younger and these newer members come with greater expectations for a website that’s personalized to their needs, provides self-service capabilities, and allows them to connect with their colleagues through social media.
• Technological. Smart phones and tablets are also changing the landscape – anything that your members can do online, they want to be able to do via their mobile devices. You need to be ready; if not, your members could turn to another organization that better responds to their needs.
No more duct tape and chewing gum
If your organization is like most, you use multiple, disparate systems: an AMS to manage data, a Content Management System (CMS) to manage web content, another tool/vendor for your mobile website, and yet another solution for your private social network. Even if you do get them integrated, they’re jerry-rigged at best and it’s a constant battle to access the information you need to make vital business decisions. This complex environment increases your total cost of ownership and makes it difficult – if not impossible – to keep all the systems up-to-date.
A single solution for your website and data
“Integration” among AMS/CMS systems has proved to be an outdated, inefficient model. The latest and most forward-thinking trend is to implement an “Engagement Management System” (EMS) that manages all your data and web content in one centralized system.
With an EMS, you’ll have fewer vendors to manage (resulting in lower costs). Anything you can do in your back-office member database – manage dues, events, product sales, donations – can be done online and with greater convenience.
Because it’s designed with mobile/social members in mind, an EMS will provide them with anytime, anywhere access to your organization from any device. They’ll get a highly personalized experience based on their interests and habits that you’ve tracked in a robust database behind the website. They can update their profiles, connect in private social networks, register for events, and more. These on-demand tools and resources demonstrate the value you bring, ensure retention, increase staff productivity, and boost your organization’s revenue performance.
Engagement = retention
If you put a Ferrari body on a Pinto engine, you’re left with a pretty solution that won’t get you very far. The same is true if you try to update your website’s look and feel without addressing the data engine behind it. To ensure active member engagement—and thereby produce strong retention rates—you need to select a system that is designed to manage data and content as one. Anything less is already obsolete.
Alves is CEO of Advanced Solutions International. Details: www.advsol.com.