Would your association like to increase revenues while offering more value
to and creating warm and positive feelings among your members? Then learn
the term, "Marketing Audit."
Why is it that associations are accustomed to a financial audit but never
conduct marketing audits? Probably because they don't know how to conduct
one nor know whom to call.
What can a marketing audit uncover? There are a variety of options to
consider that will generate more revenues while providing more
value-addeds to members. One basic outcome of a marketing audit is to
reveal how to increase both attendance and exhibitors at an association's
annual meeting. A marketing audit asks the questions, "What can we offer
to all of the members who stayed home?," "How do we obtain more
sponsorships from exhibitors?," and "What can we offer to all of the
exhibitors who turned us down for exhibit space?"
Unfortunately, most association execs and marketing directors are afraid
to audit themselves when it comes to marketing efforts. Why the fear? They
more than likely will uncover numerous ways of doing more business with
members. So what's wrong with that? Associations are notorious for being
overly conservative and reluctant to try something new. For many
associations, "We've never done that before" is the motto. The
reengineering of business and marketing practices will identify new profit
centers for associations. Some "optimistic" associations view this as an
opportunity to generate more revenues, while "the pessimistic" perceive
Associations already have a captive audience; thus it's a natural for
associations to expand into related businesses. To help understand this
concept, think of the store where you buy your groceries. Many
years ago supermarkets sold only food. Now you can get your prescription
filled or your film developed, buy any meal already cooked for you, buy
fresh flowers, or even do your banking.
A marketing audit reveals many areas in which an association can quickly
and inexpensively expand its activities, identify specific areas where
marketing activities should be focused, and generate increased
revenues. Today valuable information can now be obtained cost effectively
by surveying members on-line using e-mail.
Not every marketing effort will work for every association. For example,
members of some associations would prefer the option of new educational
videos instead of books; while others would welcome clothing in bold
colors with a new snazzy logo rather than white or blue. Notice the key
here is the word, "new" - trying something creative and different.
Association execs must push their marketing departments to work harder and
smarter. The results of a marketing audit must not be viewed as more work,
but rather as the discovery of new and golden opportunities and challenges
to make the cash register ring and put smiles on the faces of your