Marketing has been pushing back the boundaries in terms understanding customer behaviour, deepening insights and segmentation over the years, yet a surprising amount of membership marketing has almost stood still.

Too often, member organisations fail to treat their members as individuals. While a one-size-fits-all approach can be convenient, it rarely connects. Today, many such organisations in the built environment sector are struggling to survive, or seeing stagnation in growth – simply because they are not close enough to their members, and have therefore lost relevance.

Find the reasons, see the results

Effective membership marketing is all about winning hearts and minds by providing absolute clarity about members’ “reason to belong” as well as through value-based “reasons to engage”. But outstanding membership marketing doesn’t just do this by treating all members the same; it’s about tailoring the proposition precisely to the different needs of a diverse membership base.

The solution is simply to stop seeing your members as “members”, and start treating them as individual people. And a good way to do this is by building Personas.

It’s time to get personal

Adopting a Persona-based approach to your membership marketing will deepen engagement, raise satisfaction and increase retention.

Why? Because members will see that you are genuinely meeting their needs: listening and responding to their personal, business and emotional reasons for belonging to and engaging with your organisation.

And a Persona-based approach does more than just deepen loyalty, it can also help to unlock growth.

Ways Persona Building can unlock growth #1

Building relevance builds revenue: Growing your membership organisation shouldn’t just rely on increasing member numbers. You can also increase revenue by increasing your members’ up-take of related paid-for services, training and products. Because the creation of Personas brings you closer to understanding individual member-type needs, you can build and offer more relevant services and products.

Additionally, your forums, EDMs and other targeted communications will start to trigger your members’ needs, and address their frustrations. Your training programmes will help members to improve their business, develop their professional skills, and deliver higher quality service to their customers. All of which adds value and locks them in.

And it’s not just about commercial benefits
Closer connection with members helps support your organisation’s higher purpose too: whether that’s increasing standards, promoting best practice, or improving the built environment. Your members will identify better with how you’re delivering this purpose and see the benefit of it to them individually or as a business.

You then become “essential” to them in a way that allows you to achieve your organisation’s reason for being, while ensuring it also thrives.

Ways Persona Building can unlock growth #2

Building relevance attracts more members: By having a clear and deep understanding of your members’ reasons for belonging – across many different member types – you’ll be able to target new members in a more cost-effective way. You won’t have to rely on expensive one-off acquisition campaigns that have a short-term impact but do little to support your long-term growth. A Persona-based approach allows you to create a sustainable marketing and communications approach that not only attracts members but which remains relevant.

And Persona-based membership organisations aren’t just member-centric, they’re people-focussed. They don’t just look to provide for the functional needs of members, they build meaningful relationships to understand and connect better with the real needs of all the people they serve. And in doing so, they stay ahead and grow as the wants and needs of those people change.

Creating valuable and authentic connections with members has never been more important, and should be at the top of any membership organisation’s strategy. CMDi can help you get there faster, and with more certainty of achieving the right outcome.

CMDi are pioneering the use of strategic persona building programmes in the sector right now. Our Persona Builder programme is already being used by leading organisations. Contact me on 01483 546 900 or email to find out how to develop a Persona-based marketing strategy that unlocks growth in your organisation and adds value for your members at the same time.


Find out more

Dianne Lucas
Managing Director