When the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors® (CCAR) began the process of developing their value proposition, they started by analyzing and prioritizing their most important member “communities.” CCAR invited 20 some members to be part of task force charged with the assignment.
Among the group was “Richard,” a commercial practitioner, one of a small segment (approx. 100 commercial specialists) within the 3,000-member organization. Although Richard has fairly unique needs and a very different business approach than his residential counterparts, he agreed to join the task force to help discover and develop CCAR’s value proposition.
Richard sat quietly as the group brainstormed, tested and ultimately prioritized a list of member segments. Every association has numerous member segments, and some are more (or less) vital to the health of the organization than others. The CCAR task force agreed on three segments on which to focus throughout the process:
1. Owners with >10 agents
2. New members < 5 years in the industry
3. Members generating 4-9 transactions per year (considered at-risk)
These are the segments important to CCAR. Using this selection process, every association’s list will differ based on their membership makeup and marketplace.
The task force ended the full-day workshop by identifying those three groups’ biggest worries and their most compelling business needs. After the meeting I asked Richard if we identified any of his worries and whether the declaration of association’s most valuable benefits would be helpful to him.
He simply and quietly said, “I wasn’t sure when we started this process that any of this would apply to me. Now I can say a firm YES.” While pleased to hear this, I was not surprised. In my work with dozens of associations around the country I find this to be a consistent outcome. Focusing on your most important member groups first will ultimately benefit and serve (and help you reach) many more of your members than if you approach them as one big generic group. In the words of Laura Crowther, CEO of CCAR:
Focusing on these particular member segments helped us identify the specific needs of each group. We were then able to determine what we do well and where we needed to focus our services. It also helped us keep attention on these members versus trying to consider or discuss ancillary services for groups we didn’t prioritize. It helped us avoid thinking too “general.”
We realized that we need to “do what we do best” for our target audience. We need to add and improve in areas we specifically identified for those three groups. Amazingly, those services are beneficial to our membership as a whole.
We kept a keen focus on our important member segments which will continue to keep us on track—not only for our value proposition, but from communications to strategic planning. We all appreciate the result of this important selection process.
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