The Power of Strategy: How AMA Achieved Exponential Member Growth

The Power of Strategy: Amas Exponential Member Growth Success
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The American Medical Association faced a serious challenge in boosting its member growth. Despite the profession expanding, the association’s membership numbers remained stagnant, leading to weaker revenue and a smaller market share. This decline in members had a negative impact on the association’s relevance and influence in pursuing its mission.

They called this situation “The Cliff,” likening it to physicians dropping their AMA membership right after medical school and seemingly disappearing as if they had fallen off a cliff. This trend of an aging membership without new, young members was a cause for concern.

Additionally, the association’s affinity products and discounts were not competitive or popular among its members. Furthermore, their subsidiary insurance agency, AMA Insurance, was underperforming, adding to the financial strain on the AMA.

The AMA’s standing with doctors had suffered. They weren’t happy with the perks it offered and believed their needs were no longer a priority for the association. Meanwhile, tech startups were gaining traction in the same sectors where the AMA was active, outshining them in various ways.

Solution: The "Digital Reboot"

We discovered the underlying reasons for their problems. Firstly, the AMA focused too much on itself and not enough on doctors, causing physicians to believe that the AMA only cared about its own interests and not theirs. One doctor even went so far as to say, “the AMA must die.”

Secondly, many physicians were unaware of what the AMA even did. When asked to name something the AMA does, 80% could only mention the flagship journal, JAMA. However, in reality, the AMA does many essential things for physicians and dramatically impacts the practice of medicine. Through our testing, we found that once physicians understood the AMA’s contributions to them, they became very positive and willing to join.

We collaborated with Todd Unger, an innovative Chief Experience Officer, to tackle these membership issues. Taking these insights into account, we developed a solution called the “Digital Reboot” that simultaneously addressed all the critical concerns faced by the members.


Its been a dramatic impact. Transformative. Our rate of growth last year tripled.

A Transformational Strategy: "Members Move Medicine"

The program’s central focus was a bold new membership strategy called “Members Move Medicine.” It revolved around doctors and positioned the AMA as their unwavering ally in patient care. This brand showcased real-life physicians in heroic photographs and shared their impactful stories, highlighting their crucial work and the support provided by the AMA.

To back up this brand, we presented twenty “proof points” – brief, clear statements about what the AMA did that doctors found valuable but might not have known about. These covered things like cutting drug prices, fighting the opioid crisis, stopping big insurance companies from merging, and more.

The campaign was executed digitally by creating engaging content that attracted physicians to join the AMA on their website. This significantly increased web-based enrollments, going from zero the previous year to processing thousands of new memberships.

We took additional steps to tackle the remaining challenges that impeded member growth. One standout step involved creating a breakthrough strategy for segmenting members, using data analysis to pinpoint and focus on physicians based on their specific interests. (For more information on how to do great segmentation, you can read about it here.)

Other major growth initiatives included:

Explosive RESULTS: The Membership Growth Rate Tripled

These combined efforts were a massive success in every aspect. Membership growth tripled, there was an improvement in the enrollment of young members, engagement saw a significant boost, and Health System Membership proved to be a winning initiative.

The AMA’s new membership strategy was met with overwhelming approval and completely changed perceptions of the association, both internally and externally. This transformation was so significant that AMA President Dr. Barbara L. McAneny declared it the most outstanding achievement in the organization’s history during their national convention.

Some of AMA’s most remarkable impacts include:

Association Growth Takeaways

The implementation of the “Members Move Medicine” strategy by the AMA proved to be a game-changer for their member growth. By focusing on doctors and positioning themselves as allies in patient care, the AMA saw incredible results.

Membership growth tripled, attracting a wave of young professionals who were eager to be part of this movement. Engagement soared, showing the effectiveness of this approach in capturing the attention and involvement of professionals in the healthcare industry. Additionally, the Health System Membership initiative added another layer of success to their strategy. 


To read more about how group membership drives exponential growth, see: Unlocking Growth: Organizational Membership for the Future

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