How One Small Marketing Team Gets Big Engagement Results
Inside the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association’s successful efforts to drive community connections and problem-solving.
Like many association professionals, Katie Cammer does a little bit of everything at the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA). But her main role is serving as senior manager of growth and expansion for the global nonprofit. And while the HBA’s staff may be small, their mission and goals are far-reaching. “Part of my focus is on the community, making it successful and engaging, and the other part of my role is about growing the association beyond our existing chapters and regions in the United States, Canada, and Europe.”
To achieve these huge initiatives, the HBA utilizes Higher Logic, a powerful engagement platform that helps associations strengthen relationships with existing members and reach new ones.
“The primary way we accomplish our mission to increase gender parity in the healthcare industry is through networking,” Cammer says. “We saw that our local chapters were able to deliver that strong network for those in close proximity, but we weren’t able to easily connect members across the entire association. And so we turned to Higher Logic to meet that need.”
Higher Logic powers the HBA’s member forum, which Cammer calls a “community within our community,” connecting all 11,000-plus members of the association. “We have a very robust and effective member directory where you can search by region or a number of other demographic fields that we collect from members: career type, company type, special interests,” she explains. “And it is wonderful because so many of our members are looking to build bridges and make connections outside of the bubble of their company, and that is not easy to do without this kind of facilitated network that we’ve been able to provide.”
As research has shown, networking is one of the top benefits that members want from their association. And on a recent episode of The Member Engagement Show with Higher Logic podcast, the show’s hosts and guest broke down the reason why — because a community forum can serve as an emergency “bat signal” when you need it most. Chances are that if you have a problem, someone else in your association has experienced it before. And unlike a friend in a different industry offering advice, getting guidance from a fellow association member who knows the specifics of your industry inside and out is invaluable.
Most marketing pros rely on data to determine if their outreach is working, and Cammer is no exception. “Every month, we look at the number of discussions posted, the number of replies to those discussions, and the number of unique logins to the forums,” she notes. And with the analytical help of the team at Higher Logic, Cammer has learned that HBA’s engagement numbers are at or above the industry benchmarks. “It was great news to hear that, because it translates to member satisfaction, which in turn translates to member retention and growth. Word of mouth is a huge part of our business, and we know that a satisfied customer is going to share their experience with others.”
Key to the forum’s success is the automation offered by Higher Logic’s platform. “When a new member joins, we have an automated email from the community that asks them to engage in the forum and reply to our ‘introduce yourself’ thread,” Cammer says. “That has been incredibly successful, and to be honest, with 11,000-plus members and less than 30 full-time employees there is no way we’d be able to provide that level of personalization without this platform.”
Higher Logic also keeps the staff connected. “We currently have 650-plus volunteers,” Cammer says, “and using Higher Logic’s Volunteer Manager Module is crucial to finding new volunteers, assigning them access to resources associated with their roles, and overall tracking.”
Automation and efficiency help Cammer and the HBA team devote more time and energy to the association’s goal to advance the role and impact of women in the business of healthcare. “Our members really run the gamut of the healthcare industry, including people who are working on COVID-19 testing, so it does give us a sense of pride to know we are supporting people doing such important work.”
Higher Logic, the industry-leading, human-focused engagement platform, delivers powerful online communities and communication tools to engage members at every stage of their journey. Higher Logic provides a robust engagement platform and strategic services with over a decade of experience in building personalized and scalable community engagement programs. We serve more than 3,000 customers, representing over 350,000 online communities with greater than 200 million users in more than 42 countries worldwide.