Case Study: The Executives Club of Chicago’s Membership Doubled

The Executives Club: Doubling Membership in Chicago - Case Study.
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The Executives’ Club of Chicago was in dire need of revitalizing its membership. As one of America’s leading business forums, the Club’s member value proposition had remained unchanged for over a century, clearly reflected in its membership. The Club was facing a crisis due to weak recruitment and retention efforts. 

To take this challenge head-on, Dr. Margaret Mueller, a dynamic new CEO, collaborated with Energy BBDO, a renowned ad agency in Chicago, to rebrand the Club. Dr. Mueller recognized the importance of aligning the membership model with the new brand to achieve success. Consequently, she decided to put the entire membership model and member value proposition on the table.

Our membership doubled in the last three years.

Nailing The Member Value Proposition

Many associations struggle with their member value proposition. From our experience, we’ve noticed that most associations fail to ask the right questions about value. They tend to focus on what members want rather than what they need but can’t find elsewhere. The ideal member value proposition should address those needs uniquely. 

To tackle this issue and assist associations in creating a value proposition that aligns their strengths with members’ unmet needs, we developed the Sequence Way-to-Play℠ strategy process. The outcome is clearly understanding where associations have a “Right to Win” and the foundation for an exceptional value proposition.

(For another example of Way to Play℠ in action, see: How SAE International Boosted Non-Dues Revenue 10X: A Case Study Success)

Through a collaborative effort, we convened senior staff and Board members to rethink their approach and leverage their distinct strengths in meeting the members’ most pressing needs. The new strategy transformed the direction of the organization by:

The result? An enhanced offering for members that truly delivers on value:

Success: Club Membership Doubled

The impact has been phenomenal. Once the Club introduced the new value proposition for corporate members, numerous individuals expressed their desire to strengthen their connection with the Club. Not only were they willing to pay more, but they also showed an increasing willingness to sponsor. We witnessed a surge in enrollment from individual members across various locations far beyond Chicago. 

Existing members were thrilled with the changes, evident in their heightened satisfaction and continued loyalty. 

These exciting advancements have greatly enhanced the Club, bringing significant benefits to the business, including:

Association Growth Takeaways

The Executives’ Club Of Chicago’s impressive doubling of its membership serves as a valuable lesson for other associations. It highlights the importance of focusing on the unique needs of professionals and providing a value proposition that goes beyond what they want. Associations can successfully attract and retain members by asking the right questions and understanding what professionals truly need but can’t find elsewhere. 

Click here to learn more about how we help associations like Exec Club create a winning member value proposition.

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