Change Management

What Would Make Membership in Your Organization Recession-Proof?

Membership organizations have faced unprecedented challenges  in the last few years between the impact of the economy, massive changes to so many industry sectors and professions, and constantly evolving technology and ways of doing business. New  entrepreneurial membership web sites may enter your niche that offer online services that meet many of your members' needs at a lower cost. There is a sea change in people's attitudes toward associations and other membership organizations. It is no longer a given for people to belong to a professional or trade association. The bottom line - it is not about your organization, it is about your member or customer. What is in it for them? What are the compelling reasons that people should belong - not because they are in this profession or business but because your organization gives them benefits that they cannot live without. Do you know what is important to your members and prospective members? What they need and want? What problems keep them up at night? How can you help solve them? If your answers to these questions are based on historical answers, it is important to revisit them  through market research, listening to your constituents through social media and what they say when they contact your organization, and having regular conversations with members and prospective members in key segments. Take every opportunity you can to chat with people and listen carefully to what they care about. Ask questions about  how can we help you, how can we make a difference in your life and to your business? (more…)

By Lisa Danielpour, ago
Marketing Strategy

Sheer Anxiety about Social Media

When people share how they are using social media (or NOT!) for their organizations, I hear everything from sheer anxiety to pure delight. Using social media is open door leading to a question mark

  1. Fun
  2. Exciting and energizing
  3. Engaging
  4. A great way to share information and ideas
  5. An opportunity to hear what customers, members, and constituents are thinking
  6. A very effective, free promotional tool
  7. Intimidating
  8. A waste of time or at the least too time consuming
  9. A privacy nightmare and intrusion into people's private lives
  10. A risk mitigation waiting to happen
  11. An opportunity to listen to your customers' conversations and feedback
  12. A tool to be used to help meet your organization's goals and enhance your mission
  13. It all depends on your perspective.
Even the most hesitant recognize the wild popularity of social media, but worry about the time and energy it would take, are skeptical about how effective it would be, or are anxious about privacy, risk, and control. But take this into account -- social media is more than a tool or trend, it has become the fabric of community, collaboration, and interactive communication. While social media is constantly evolving, it is not going away, and it is imperative to be part of the conversation to stay current and position yourself and your organization for the future. (more…)

By Lisa Danielpour, ago
Marketing Strategy

Is Your Social Media Outreach on Target?

Are you getting the maximum impact from your social media efforts? Many organizations have implemented the first stages of social media engagement, typically including a facebook fan page, someone tweeting occasionally, and perhaps a LinkedIn group or Flickr feed. Experimenting with different tools and techniques, promoting a specific event or product is always great. But to be truly effective and promote your brand and mission, you need to have a strategic social media plan that outlines the objectives, strategies, and outcomes you are seeking. It should align with your organization's strategic mission and objectives and how you are using other traditional marketing and public relations techniques to meet them. And it needs to clearly define what success looks like and how you will measure it. This doesn't have to be complicated or lengthy. It does need to be fluid and continuously updated as you learn what works and doesn't work for your organization and goals, and as the social media world constantly changes. The Direct Business Impact of Social Media Outreach and Engagement A huge benefit of social networking for most organizations is that the more  you can engage and involve your current and potential customers, members, or clients, the more likely you are to retain them and to increase your share of their business. One of the greatest values of social media is to better understand your audience, get instant feedback, and provide an opportunity to listen and engage. (more…)

By Lisa Danielpour, ago
Career Advice

What Will Success Look Like?

In the midst of never ending projects, emails, calls, colleagues stopping by to chat, and social media updates, do you have a clear perspective of which are the most important goals you want to achieve in your professional and personal life? It is so easy to be pulled into the maelstrom of seemingly urgent tasks and lose sight of what will really take your career to the next level, or more importantly, feel most satisfying to you personally. Seagull flyingWhat are the top three professional goals that will take your organization and career to the next level? What about in your personal life? What is truly most important to achieve and how will you know you have succeeded? Whether you are an entrepreneur or a professional serving a large or small private sector company or a nonprofit, keeping your eye on three overarching goals and the milestones and measures to get you there is critical for success. The same is true for your personal life -- for example, striving to keep work/life balance through getting regular exercise and/or spending quality time with your family. (more…)

By Lisa Danielpour, ago
Career Advice

Are You Focusing on What Is Most Important?

It is easy to be distracted by the endless mundane but seemingly urgent everyday projects and talks, but they do not position your organization or your career for the future. Does your organizations have three clear goals and messages that are most important for success? close up photo of forest treesDo you keep an eye on changing trends in the marketplace, your constituents' needs and wants, and the impact of constantly changing technology? And then regularly update your goals?   Having overarching goals for your organization gives staff a shared understanding of your future and your priorities. It is also vital to know the strategies, milestones, and measures that illustrate what success looks like. It is common over the years for  organizations to have a wide variety of products, programs, projects, and procedures that evolve to meet different staff's interests and expertise. But do they serve the mission and guiding strategies for the organization? Or do they eat up time that could be better utilized to ensure the future you envision? (more…)

By Lisa Danielpour, ago