Lunchtime Links: When a Member-Focused Campaign Meets a Skeptical Public

Sure, your marketing campaign may be in your members' best interests. But is it in the public's best interests—and when it isn't, can the public tell? Also: One executive director's take on common association marketing issues.

The result? It seemed a bit too self-serving, even if its heart was in the right place.

Sure, your marketing campaign may be in your members’ best interests—but is it in the public’s best interests? And when it isn’t, can the public tell? Also: One executive director’s take on common association marketing issues.

When an association effort to convince the government to keep paper on the table recently hit the media, much of the coverage was a tad, shall we say, mocking. (It literally ended up on The Colbert Report last week.)

Why is that? According to Shelly Alcorn, CAE, part of the problem might be that the initiative, the Envelope Manufacturers Association’s spin-off effort called Consumers for Paper Options, might have been a little too focused on the needs of the association’s members. The result? It seemed a bit too self-serving, even if its heart was in the right place.

“We frequently end up with these ethical issues in associations because of this need to ‘serve the members interests’ with whatever flavor of the day, fake shell group lobbying effort we can dream up,” she argues. “It is quite possible this group has nothing but the BEST interests of the consumers at heart. However, they ended up on Colbert because of one thing and one thing only—they look like what we suspect they might be—a lobbying effort set up to shore up sales for a member base in a dying or diminishing industry.”

At what point should a marketing effort designed to protect member interests go beyond the members themselves? Alcorn raises a fascinating question on her Association Subculture blog.

Tweets of the Day

Matthew Helms, executive director of the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group, offers some thought nuggets on association marketing efforts:

Other Angles to Watch

Gmail’s giant unsubscribe button could become yet another headache for online marketers. That said, it wouldn’t be the first one.

Lifehacker‘s Adam Dachis offers an intriguing tip for travelers: Use Google Street View to scope out potential hotels and ideal room locations just in case, say, there might be an annoyance nearby.

Doing the co-location thing at your next tradeshow? Take a cue from the National Fluid Power Association’s Eric Lanke and turn the event into a scavenger hunt.

You may not be making WhatsApp money, but that doesn’t mean your association can’t think like a billion-dollar startup, says SocialFish.

What’s the coolest association marketing effort you’ve seen lately? Tell us about it in the comments.

Stephen Colbert gave "Consumers for Paper Options" a good ribbing last week. (Comedy Central screenshot)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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