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In the past, marketing was carried out with specific demographics in mind, but today, demographic lines have been blurred more than ever. This has been especially apparent when targeting Generation X, or individuals born between the late 1960s and the early 1980s, as well as Generation Y, also known as the Millennials, often considered individuals born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s.
The savvy consumer or association professional in 2015 is looking for a variety of things when considering joining a professional organization, and failing to get on board with technological changes may end up costing your organization dearly.
Social Media Influences All
If you're trying to reach Millennials, your organization or association needs to have a social media presence, hands down. While you may think that this is limited to Facebook and Twitter, the two major players working through social media channels, you'd be wrong. Instagram, Tumblr, and a whole host of other social media platforms are available to engage potential members, so don't limit your online efforts.
With that stated, you should also find and concentrate on a core group of followers through social media instead of spreading your brand too thin. Take a balanced approach in order to provide new info on services, products, and events while engaging users where they spend the most amount of time.
Engagement Becomes Personal
You may have been using time-tested engagement strategies that you felt were working, but in the digital realm, engagement needs to become personal. This means sending out interactive newsletters, emails, and social media posts regarding you organization's progress so that you can get real-time feedback, even if it isn't what you want to hear. The attendees at a trade show may not necessarily provide you with detailed feedback on the spot, and vendors who are attending may be a bit shy, but through the use of online engagement tools, you'll have a chance to receive feedback on a personal level as the face-to-face component is removed. Millennials get this, and they expect the ability to share their concerns with others across the web, all in real time, and in most cases, anonymously.
Online Payment Tools Are a Must
If you expect to collect dues from association members in today's Internet economy, you need to allow for online payments. In the past, membership dues may have been collected via check through the Post Office, FedEx, UPS, or other manual methods, and while these methods still stand as viable, you'll want to provide your members and potential members with the ability to make dues and other payments through the web.
If your current association website does not offer such arrangements, you'll either need to upgrade or partner with a financial institution that allows for the setup of recurring payments through email. Of course, taking the latter route may be more costly in the long-run, so it would be wise to get even a simple payment website set up in order to make association payments more convenient.