First Steps for Determining the Value of Member Benefits

Assessing the value of membership benefits isn’t always easily quantifiable. An association pricing expert offers advice on how to effectively measure their value—and reveals benefits that have become more popular recently.

If you’re considering offering tiered membership levels with varying value and pricing, what should you take into consideration? “Really look at your product landscape and what journey you want members to take,” said Michael Tatonetti, CAE, founder and CEO of Pricing for Associations.

For example, many membership professionals are wondering if they should bundle everything like annual conferences or educational products into one membership package, or if they should have a basic membership with a lot of à la carte options. It varies by organization, Tatonetti said, but it’s essential to look at what are your members are coming to you for and what they need. Then figure out how that makes sense as a membership package.

“It needs to be something that supports your members in a way that gives them a result, so they feel like it’s worth it to pay for membership,” he said.

Step one of assessing value is conducting data analysis. Analyze trends like what members are accessing, how frequently, and what the key performance indicators (KPIs) are for programs, products, and services. “Value is tangible through the voice of whoever the user is,” Tatonetti said. If it’s your sponsorship packages, it’s your sponsors. If it’s member-related, it’s your members. But value is not always quantitative. Although trickier to capture, qualitative results are also necessary to assess value.

That’s where market research like surveys and focus groups comes in. Ask members what their top three benefits are. Then ask what their number-one benefit is and—more specifically—how that top benefit helped them in the past year. Once you determine how they’re getting value, then assess whether it’s possible to increase or decrease the price of the benefit.

During the past year certain benefits have emerged as much more valuable offerings. Number one? “Getting timely information out, no matter what the method,” Tatonetti said, like newsletters, research and survey data, and webinars. Real-time online education is also in demand. “The more members can get that kind of content, the better,” he said. In addition, Tatonetti said networking, mentoring, and discussion boards have increased in popularity.

Internal data analysis, market research, and market testing matter a lot, he said. Right now, people are willing to tell you what they need and how they expect you to support them. “Get some data, get some science, and stick to what works, instead of grasping for the wind and hoping to find something that works,” he said.

(z_wei/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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