New Money: Discounts Refreshed

How SHRM brought its affinity program back to life.

While the Society for Human Resource Management had an affinity program for years, it really existed in name only. “It really didn’t have any strategy or focus,” says Guillermo Corea, director of digital media and development at SHRM.

After a survey of members and an analysis on the effectiveness of the program in the fourth quarter of 2016, it became apparent that the five or six products that SHRM was providing its members as part of its affinity program weren’t up to snuff. In other words, members wanted an affinity program, but not the one that SHRM was offering.

We believe that the diversity of discount offerings will be appealing to both current and future members.

At that point, Corea says, SHRM had two options. It could continue going it alone—finding strategic partners, negotiating contracts, and managing the day-to-day administration of the program—or it could refresh the program with the help of a third-party vendor, which would do the work on its behalf.

SHRM decided on the latter, bringing aboard Meridian One, which handles the marketing and management of the program. It also brings to the table already established relationships with companies ranging from Office Depot and MetLife to Constant Contact and Avis. SHRM gets a share of revenue from the program.

The association launched its new program, called SHRM Member Discounts, in September 2017 with several dozen companies offering discounts on everything from insurance to travel services. Although it’s still too early to assess the long-term impact on revenue, Corea says that traffic to the program website, where members access the discounts, is way up.

Plus, the revamped affinity program has generated interest from additional vendors that would like to become program participants. SHRM has created a vetting process to determine if those new products and services will benefit members, and it has introduced stipulations for interested vendors to meet to join the program.

One of them is a minimum advertising spend through SHRM’s various media channels. “We’ve also been able to generate revenue from that,” Corea says.

Revenue aside, SHRM wants to provide its members a good service.

“SHRM spent a lot of time researching what members wanted from an affinity program and focused on delivering the best member discount program based on member feedback,” said Elissa O’Brien, SHRM’s vice president of membership, in a press release. “We believe that the diversity of discount offerings will be appealing to both current and future members.”

(Jcomp/Getty Images Plus)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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