Money & Business

Editor's Note: The Personal Touch

By / Jun 1, 2015 (Moodboard/Thinkstock)

Why personalization matters more than ever for associations.

On a recent trip to Seattle, my husband and I had a chance to hop on a boat for a cruise around Lake Washington. The views were, of course, beautiful: water, mountains, and early-spring foliage were everywhere, along with spectacularly expensive waterfront homes. One of them belongs to Bill Gates.

Now, I’m not generally thrilled by brushes with fame, but I got a little charge out of getting within a few hundred yards of the home of the richest man in the world. Our guide described features of the place that floored me. Never mind the six kitchens, 24 bathrooms, and 60-foot pool with underwater sound system; Gates’ Xanadu 2.0 is, you might say (with apologies to Apple), a smarthouse.

Imagine you’re a lucky guest. When you arrive, you’re given a lapel pin containing a chip that interacts with sensors throughout the house. The chip is programmed with your preferences for room temperature, lighting, music, and other amenities. As you move about the place, conditions adjust to your liking. When you enter a room, touchscreens let you select artwork that suits your tastes.

Now that’s personalization.

What Gates does in the extravagant extreme is what associations are aiming to do for members on a much more practical scale. As Joe Rominiecki reports in this issue, strategy, data collection, and technology are beginning to align in ways they haven’t before, allowing associations to serve up content, events, and other experiences that are customized to each member’s liking. The challenges are significant, but the opportunity is powerful, and the tools are becoming more readily available. Check out Joe’s story to learn how associations are doing it.

You don’t have to provide the full Gates treatment. Just give your members ways to make small temperature adjustments in their membership experience, then watch to see how much longer they hang around.

Julie Shoop

Julie Shoop is the Editor-in-Chief of Associations Now. More »

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