Fifty years ago, heck, even 20 years ago, the benefits of being a member of an association were pretty limited when we look back on them today. You might get a quarterly newsletter about the latest trends, a few job announcements, perhaps some periodic discounts for a trade show, and hey, maybe even a tote bag. Things have certainly changed.
Member-based organizations and trade associations have realized the power of digital and are now fully accelerating their efforts to acquire new, younger and more tech-savvy audiences - those with far different demands than their predecessors. As a result, these associations are turning to software to develop better experiences, and better they most certainly are.
Cloud-based software provider YourMembership, for example, announced strong growth of more than 20 percent over the same time period in 2015 for its solutions, which extend far beyond traditional association management features to provide career centers, learning management and advertising solutions.
"We're seeing the results of a concerted, ongoing effort to retain our customers and keep them growing, while our sales productivity is on the rise," said JP Guilbault, CEO of YourMembership in a recent company announcement. "The numbers support our leadership role, vibrancy and relevance throughout the industry. With the completion of the first phase of our platform integration strategy, we anticipate it will contribute to our continued growth."
Features of the integrated platform include single sign-on and one profile for administrators across the different LMS (learning management system), AMS (association management system) and job board offerings, a member profile synchronization between each (so only one profile needs to be created), the ability to share data between those systems, and of course the management and tracking of enrollments and purchases in one system.
"This integration makes the efforts of organizations more efficient," said Dan Gaertner, chief product officer of YourMembership. "With member data hosted on a single platform, it gives associations an opportunity to cross-promote their products. Inevitably, the more we integrate these products and the more organizations learn about their users, the more often they can create greater value for their members by putting relevant content like events, courses and career opportunities in front of their users."
This convergence of systems and offerings certainly isn't unique to YourMembership; it extends, in fact, far beyond.
AMS provider WebLink, and Connectik, an enterprise collaboration platform and app, for example, recently announced a partnership that will leverage Connectik's collaboration features and social network tools to help WebLink customers increase productivity and streamline their internal communication efforts. Connectik will integrate its enterprise communications solution into WebLink's platform, which is now being used by more than 800 membership-based organizations and Chambers of Commerce across the United States and Canada.
A self-described "social-first communication platform,"¬¨¬®‚àöœÄ Connectik offers high-powered engagement features that allow organizations to create groups, publish updates, run polls, distribute messages and analyze engagement data. Group members can even interact based on shared interests, as well as keep up-to-date on the latest organizational news and information.
In the future, organizations will be able to find and collaborate with business partners using these tools. Other capabilities for internal staff include collaborative calendars, task lists, event pages, file storage, market places and payment processing.
Far more sophisticated than the quarterly newsletter sent through postal mail in the past.
"We are constantly seeking ways to help our customers find the best ways to recruit, retain and engage their members," said DJ Muller, CEO of WebLink. "We are excited to partner with Connectik to offer collaboration and communication capabilities to our customers, which will improve their internal productivity, as well as increase user retention and engagement."¬¨¬®‚àöœÄ What association management and related systems provide is an opportunity to boost member engagement and internal productivity.
By taking advantage of the best technology solutions available to engage users, build community and improve productivity, associations can further their mission and increase the value they provide their members and those they serve.
+ There are hundreds of solutions that provide associations the ability to manage their members, fundraise and, in general, provide a more meaningful experience. Learn about how solutions including WildApricot, StarChapter, MemberPlanet and others are helping associations build audiences, create more engaging and meaningful experiences and grow at wsm.co/tech4assoc.
Digital marketing executive with proven experience in all aspects of search engine optimization (SEO), performance-based advertising, consumer-generated/social media, email marketing, lead generation, Web design, usability, and analytics. - 20-year Internet marketing veteran, currently serving as the Digital Marketing Campaign Manager at Antenna Group (formerly Chicago Digital). - Former Editor-In-Chief of Website Magazine, and a regular speaker on Web technology digital marketing strategy - Author of several books on digital marketing Including Web 360: The Fundamentals of Web Success; Affiliate 360: The Fundamentals of Performance Marketing; Domains 360: The Fundamentals of Buying & Selling Domain Names, and SEO 360: The Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization.