Wednesday Buzz: Why Voicemail Still Matters

In the age of texting and email, the human voice still holds lots of currency—even for younger audiences who seem destined to tune out voicemail. The secret is in the frequency. Also: What problems do your benefits solve for members?

It may be the ultimate generation gap—many younger people simply can’t stand voicemail and would much prefer the benefit of an email, tweet, text message, or anything you can read in less time than it takes to go into your voicemail inbox and press play.

Gizmodo writer Leslie Horn is one of those people. But when her father passed away recently, she learned something important about voicemail: In certain contexts, it has value that a tossed-off text blurb never can match.

This line from her essay on the topic really nails the point:

Sometimes, it’s just good to hear someone’s voice. Email is great, texting is fine, but it takes effort to pick up the phone. Typing and talking have an inverse relationship: as it’s gotten easier to write your feelings, it’s gotten more difficult to speak them. Even if your feelings are just “I was calling to say hello.” That means something.

In our world of nonprofits and associations, telephones remain one of those wildcards for certain audiences—in some cases, a voicemail can become a bunch of noise, rather than the signal that it’s meant to be.

Applying what Horn’s getting at to the association world: When we reach out by phone, those calls have to mean something to our members and to their relationship with us. Otherwise, we could be in danger of becoming an annoyance.

Are Your Benefits Clear as Mud?

You may have a ton of benefits to offer your members, but they won’t look to you to provide them if they aren’t clear on what those benefits are.

In her latest post for Association Marketer, membership marketing strategist Amanda Kaiser of Smooth the Path argues that part of the issue may be that we’re emphasizing the wrong thing by focusing on the benefits rather than the problem those benefits are meant to solve.

“We want to sell membership so we put our benefits first. We’ve got to stop selling benefits and start selling members’ problems,” she writes. “Connect with them first. Show them you know what their problems are and then show them how you can solve their problems.”

If we can’t do that, we’re in danger of getting tuned out. (ht @MarketWithMAX)

Other Links of Note

Keep it simple, stupid: At BusinessWeek, branding expert Steve McKee breaks down what makes a brand succeed.

Time to throw out “human resources”? Conferences That Work author Adrian Segar suggests a few alternatives to what he calls an “ugly” term for the department that manages employees.

The best part of waking up…is lukewarm lemon water in your cup. Wait, what? columnist Drew Hendricks has some other offbeat ideas to improve your morning routine.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

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

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