Is Your Member Segmentation Strategy Wrong?
The Problem With Career-Stage Member Segmentation
If career stage has been the category used for your member segmentation, it’s likely been difficult to spot any trends or changes. For example, do mid-career and late-career members respond to different messages or engage with different things? They probably don’t.
Career-stage segmentation does not work because it doesn’t tell you how to treat people differently to get the best response – It is not actionable.
What you need to know are the ways your audience is different, which often falls into two distinct categories: what interests them and their relationship with you.
These groups were very distinct. For example, many physicians were not interested in advocacy, but those who were were extremely passionate. So, talking about advocacy to the wrong people may have led to unsubscribes while talking about advocacy to the right people got an enormous response.
Segmenting By Interests
Understanding Interests Through Action
The Loyalty Ladder
Don't Ignore Non-Members Either
You can also extend this approach to non-members. People come to your events, subscribe to publications, and contribute to journals – yet they aren’t members yet. More often than not, these non-member “constituents” make up a larger group than members.
For example, you can look at non-members who attended your event and infer their interests from what they did there or how they are similar to members whose interests you know. Once you have that information, your segmentation strategy can be to send more of those resources via email with a call to action aimed at turning them into members.
Thinking about non-member interactions as rungs on the ladder gives you a pathway to walk them up to a membership.
Member Segmentation In Action
You do not have to choose between these approaches. Some of the most successful associations combine these segmentation strategies to attract new members and increase loyalty as effectively as possible. A winning acquisition and retention strategy allows interests to guide messaging and loyalty to inform offers.
It used to be that only the largest, data-savvy associations could achieve this kind of member segmentation. That is not true today. Better technology makes data analysis easier and less expensive every day, even in-house.
Could you be doing your member segmentation wrong? There is no reason not to start doing it right.