What can Membership Associations expect in 2023?
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What can Membership Associations expect in 2023?

What can Membership Associations expect in 2023?

Friday, September 23, 2022 / Michael Kettenring

Covid has left its scars everywhere. The impact on associations proved to be exceptionally severe. “Member Engagement” as the primary function of many associations came to a hold as it relied on in-person events. Well, this is old news, right? May be yes, but it changed everything. More importantly, associations had to find new ways to stay in touch with members and to reinvent its value propositions. 

We are not yet out of the woods, so let us have a sneak peek into what we can expect in 2023.


Membership Growth and Retention

Growing concerns over recession, the current inflation are major concerns for all corporations these days. This is leading to budget cuts and membership dues will certainly be on top of these cuts. It will be very important for associations to communicate their value to their members to keep the membership dues flowing. 

When following the sentiment of people everywhere we seem to have entered the phase of an evolving society seeking new "civil values". This suggests that Purpose-Driven Brands, or brands being held to higher standards, get more acceptance. Corporate social responsibility has emerged as a strategic function with implications for the entire organization. Buyers and consumers make decisions based on environmental, social, and governance criteria. 

The number one focus for associations to support membership growth is to build a brand purpose that aligns to the brand vision and mission.


Non-Dues Revenue Generation (Events)

Finally some good news. After a sluggish 2022 with continued lack of demand for events, in-person events are coming back! So is the revenue generated by on-site events. 
There is more good news. Virtual events which experienced explosive growth in the last years are holding their popularity post-pandemic. In some cases, virtual events are becoming a secondary channel for in-person events (hybrid). This in turn opens new potential audience and revenue possibilities. But it comes at a cost as production costs are not to be underestimated. 

The real surprise has been that associations are using virtual events increasingly for continued weekly or monthly webinars as a new tool to stay in touch with members. And their members have embraced this interaction as they see a value in terms of education and networking.

The market for virtual events is changing in more ways: 

  • For one, attendees are looking for a simple and easy-to-use virtual interface. Fancy campus looks and interactive avatars become a niche for game-oriented events. Professional attendees prefer a robust, focused yet inclusive online experience. 
  • The inflated budgets in 2021-22 for over-the-top virtual events platforms are getting smaller, which will cull the herd of IT platforms.
  • Stand alone technologies only providing the streaming experience are getting replaced by integrated and inclusive platforms with event registrations, e-commerce, CRM functionality, fully embedded into association management systems. As an example, WEEcommunicate launched such a platform in 2021 as an integrated part of its Association Business Solution partnering with Zoom as its streaming component.


Digital Engagement Strategies Drive Marketing

A recent study by Forrester ( Read more ) revealed that changing buyer behavior is turning marketing budgets upside down. It has become even more important how to portrait yourself than how much money you spend. 

High growth corporations focus on three core objectives

  1. Create reputation through purpose
  2. Be honest in your engagement
  3. Provide a personalized experience 

The clear message for CMOs is to connect marketing efforts designed to drive reputation, create demand, drive engagement, and provide a personalized experience.

Of course, there is another reason for the budgets to be more manageable: Digital marketing and new all-inclusive technologies! 

Social Media Marketing, Email Newsletters, Google Adwords and other types of digital advertising tools keep marketing budgets reasonable.

The most critical element to make this actually happen are innovative All-in-One Association Business Solutions such as WEEcommunicate. All-inclusive applications make it affordable to create a personalized user experience for members. Personalized content, blogs, newsletters, and white papers are served with exactly what members are looking for instead of being bombarded with irrelevant information. Integrated online community sites with privileged access foster member engagement and interaction in real-time. Gone are the days of expensive piecemeal software.

Since digital marketing can only thrive with meaningful data, these innovative platforms need to be able to collect data in real-time so you can run reports and adjust your content and engagement strategies on the spot. Years ago, it was unthinkable to have this technology at your fingertips, today it is unthinkable to run an organization without it.

This is why All-in-One Software Platforms are the primary catalyst to empower associations going forward.


About Us: WEEcommunicate.com specializes in innovative customer engagement technologies. Our All-In-One Cloud Software Solution empowers organizations to market intelligently, increase lead-to-sales conversions, and reduce IT costs dramatically through our proprietary cloud technology platform. We offer an APP Suite with a full set of APPs to support most business models online at low cost.

Are you interested to find out how your organization can benefit from WEEcommunicate?

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