For associations looking to better connect with their members, “relevance is king,” explains Community Brands CEO JP Guilbault.
As our world shifts rapidly towards an era of technological advancements, the means of how we communicate with our audiences has also dramatically shifted.
We now have access to a surplus of data which allows us to reach segmented audiences with personalized messaging. JP Guilbault, President and CEO of Community Brands, the leading provider of software solutions which empower associations, nonprofits, K-12 schools, and faith-based organizations, says “there has been a seismic shift in the past few years in how organizations are able to connect with their members. This change is technology-enabled and comes through digital platforms—everything from web sites to social media to texts.”
With technology enabling us to communicate to audiences with simplicity and ease, some vital components can be lost in exchange for speed. An absolutely crucial element to successfully connecting with your audience is the relevance of the content being sent to the recipient. Guilbault says “rather than a shotgun approach to blasting out material and seeing what hits, associations are better served by taking a data-driven approach to target their marketing efforts. In short, to make a real impact, relevance is king.”
Knowing and captivating your audience
“The most important part of marketing is to know your audience,” says Guilbault. “If you don’t know who they are or what their needs are, your messaging is not going to connect no matter how inventive it is. Don’t spend too much time thinking about the number of notifications you’re sending out,” he adds.“The common concern is, ‘Are we spamming users?’ However, the cadence of messaging is not the issue. The issue is relevance of content. When you are sending irrelevant notifications, that’s when communication starts to feel like bombardment. Remember, the more relevant your content, the better chance you have of stopping users mid-scroll and getting them to comment and connect.”
“With the amount of digital data available, there is no longer an excuse to not know your audience,” Guilbault says. “You have an AMS that is connected to a community—and the member data lives in that system. Organizations can now sort that data for relevant keywords and build messaging around them,” he says.
“The days of associations needing to do time and cost-intensive surveys to understand their members are long gone. It is all available digitally: what members buy, what events they attend, what topics are their greatest concern. It is all readily available.”
The opportunity of micro-moments
“Social media and digital platforms allow associations to take advantage of the micro-moments in people’s lives,” says Guilbault. “Consider the time people spend waiting in line at Starbucks or even waiting for an elevator. Those two and a half minutes are a golden opportunity to engage and communicate your message. People want to be productive; they don’t want to just stand there doing nothing,” he notes, “and even in the shortest of downtime, these moments can be an opportunity.”
Guilbault provides an example of micro-moments in action through traffic and navigation app, Waze. “Waze can sense when the car is stopped at a red light, they call it the “Zero-Speed Takeover”. At this moment a digital billboard is pushed to driver along with notifications for nearby coffee shops, lunch spots etc … pop up in the app—they are literally driving traffic to the surrounding businesses that would have otherwise been overlooked. The messages need to be concise and easy to understand in order to be effective,” Guilbault continues to say, “take a simple action to get this result. It needs to be so simple and fast enough that a person can do it at the same time they are contemplating their coffee order.”
Be relevant—and everywhere
“The strategies and mediums in which we’re communicating have expanded greatly. You can no longer focus communicating on just one platform,” says Guilbault. “I’m not saying you’ve got to be on every social channel —but you do have to be tapped into consumers with differing preferences who are connecting across multiple devices and be relevant at the moment of need. One person might want a micro message as a text, one might prefer a LinkedIn post.”
In terms of measuring effectiveness, Guilbault says, “I would be cautious about using only likes and shares and comments as a barometer. There are a lot of lurkers on social media who consume content without interacting with it in meaningful ways. Here is an example from my life … I saw an ad that caught my attention for an app on a subway in New York City and downloaded it. There is no way for a marketer to know that I liked that subway ad and why. But that doesn’t matter—it worked! Shift your mindset … Focus less on the number of ‘retweets’ and judge effectiveness by impressions and conversions.”
You’ve heard the sickeningly cliche phrase “content is king” more times than you can probably stand. Today that’s still true, but without context, it’s nothing. Lisa Gevelber expands:
With empowered consumers now connecting across an array of devices in a variety of situations, the way a marketer wins is by offering information people value in those moments. It’s not that being relevant is a new concept. But being relevant to the moment is where marketing power—and consumer expectations—now lie.
About Community Brands & JP Guilbault
JP Guilbault currently serves as CEO and President of Community Brands, the leading provider of business management, engagement, commerce & payment solutions to member-based organizations. With 3,000 employees serving over 130,000 clients in 34 countries, CB empowers people and organizations to grow stronger, succeed faster, and achieve their dreams- because powerful work needs powerful tech.
Learn about tech for good at https://www.communitybrands.com