The Marketing Audit:
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 more work.
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 members.
Dr. Elliott B. Jaffa|