Thursday Buzz: Speak Your Members’ Language

To make your marketing communication useful for your members, start by matching their needs. Also: how to be the great facilitator.

If you’re trying to reach your members, be sure to speak on their terms. Otherwise, you might miss them entirely.

Writing over at SocialFish, Smooth the Path’s Amanda Kaiser discusses the importance of writing from your members’ point of view, rather than your organization’s. That involves using their words and answering the questions they need answered.

“Look through your copy,” she writes. “Are there more we’s than you’s? Are you writing about what you think or what your members think? Are you writing about what you think they should care about or what they think you should care about?”

Her point? If your members feel like they’re being talked down to, they’ll “have a hard time making the link from why your organization is so great to how you can help them.”

A Meeting of the Minds

Remember that you’re not the only game in town as far as such communication goes. Often, the best learning happens when your members to talk to one another. CommPartners’ Sandy Friedman argues that you should be helping to facilitate this conversation.

“Whether it’s something as easy as a recipe or as complex as planning a convention, peers exchanging ideas and experiences is a vital part of the learning process,” she writes. “People want to know what others think and how they solved their problems. Associations that understand and facilitate this approach by hosting this engagement are the ones that have the best chance to leverage this movement. The newest generation of members aren’t going to take your word for it … they’re going to get advice and learn from their contacts and friends.”

How are you leveraging member-to-member conversation in your organization? (ht @CP_Sandy1)

Other Good reads

For a fascinating case study on what dropping outdated technology means, check out how The Home Depot supercharged its inventory management system—by dropping fax machines.

The marketing department isn’t just a “service” segment of your nonprofit anymore but a key part of your strategy, argues Colleen Dilenschneider.

At the Event Manager Blog, Shawna McKinley talks strategies for fighting food waste at conferences.

What happens when you get mobile security wrong? In the case of LifeLock, it meant having to essentially discontinue one of its most popular apps, CMSWire reports.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

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

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