You can’t be all things to all members. End of discussion. It’s hard to accept, but it’s the truth. When I work with associations to develop their value proposition, the first step is often the hardest: segment and prioritize your audience.
When I ask associations to identify the top 3 member segments, the most common response is “Every member is equally important; we don’t want to leave anyone out.” Here’s the good news: if you prioritize and narrow down a few specific member groups to analyze, your message will end up being much more specific and relevant. Staying true to the process helps you look for common threads between the most diverse member segments. Members might look alike, and seem equally important. In actuality they are not.
The good news is that when you uncover a few needs that are common to all 3 segments (and you will), your message will be resonate with members in the “periphery” of the three groups you choose.
First, brainstorm all possible member segments, and then prioritize the list. Association staffs often ask “What is the right criteria for prioritizing member segments?” which is a great question! Criteria is unique to each association, but here are a few ideas:
- Who is important to your future?
- Which group represents the most significant amount of dues revenue received?
- Who is significant to your membership today? (Significance does not necessarily equate with big numbers or big revenue; it could be big influence.)
- If you offered something relevant, unique and credible, do you have the potential to reach members (or non members) that you are not reaching today?
The three groups can be diverse. In fact, the more differentiation the better when it comes to this process. Choosing the right audiences and identifying common business obstacles is all-important input to the 7-step process. Success starts with the right analysis. It will help you to craft a message that answers your audience’s most important needs and worries.