Lunchtime Links: The Limits of Your “Young Professionals” Group

Are your younger members missing out on larger opportunities within your association via your "young professional" group? Also: A great example of brand hijacking during last night's Grammys.

Are your younger members missing out on larger opportunities within your association via your “young professionals” group? Also: a great example of brand hijacking during last night’s Grammys.

Sometimes a term is just a term, but in many ways, it can be a lot more.

Take “young professional,” for example. It may be useful to help get millennial members in the door, but does it end up holding them back? Thoughts on that and more in today’s Lunchtime Links:

The problem with “young professionals”: Are you shooting yourself in the foot by setting apart your young professionals in an age-based group? In a guest post on Frank J. Kenny’s blog, Christina Green says yes—because it can cordon them off from the larger community. “Giving Gen Y a group of their own doesn’t give them a voice, it segregates them,” she writes. “Allowing them opportunities to lead and volunteer within the larger chamber [of commerce] membership is more important than giving them their own group.” She suggests that younger professionals “are ready to dig in and lead,” and putting them in separate groups limits their growth opportunities. What’s your take on this? Are “young professionals” groups helpful or damaging to your association’s efforts? (By the way, be sure to check out Katie Bascuas’ blog post on the topic from a few months back.)

Event hijacking genius: Daft Punk accepted their Grammy for Album of the Year while wearing their traditional robot helmets, but it was the hat worn by their collaborating artist Pharrell that got brands talking Sunday night on Twitter. A lot of corporations that otherwise would have had little interest in the music awards broadcast spent the evening tweeting on-brand jokes in an effort to draw attention. As DigiDay notes, most of them failed to connect. But the fast-food chain Arby’s won big last night when it riffed on the hat that the “Get Lucky” vocalist wore during a performance with Daft Punk on the show—a hat that bore more than a little similarity to the one in the Arby’s logo. This sort of brand hijacking doesn’t always work, but organizations can certainly gain a lot of free exposure from this approach if it’s done well—as the Greater Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau did when it riffed on Peyton Manning’s play-calling a couple weeks ago.

Member retention blues: As our own Joe Rominiecki wrote last week, keeping members aboard isn’t always easy, with some members less in need of constant engagement than others. But something more basic might be at play for some associations dealing with retention issues: a lack of resources. That’s a finding from Greenfield Services’ 2013 Pulse Report, which noted that even though it generally takes eight to 10 marketing contacts to drive action, just 15.4 percent of Canadian associations in the study reach out to their members about renewal seven or more times prior to a membership expiration date. “[T]he problem is clear: The vast majority of associations lack the staff, budget, and strategy to run the strong, effective member retention programs they need and want,” the firm’s Meagan Rockett writes “They’re reaching out too infrequently. And they’re starting too late. More than three-quarters of 2013 respondents said their organizations began renewal outreach no more than three months before a membership was set to expire, compared to 71 [percent] last year.”

What’s your approach to member retention? Any advice you’d like to offer? Shoot us a comment below.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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