You Know You're a Savvy Association Marketer When ...


January 18, 2023

How can you tell good marketing from bad marketing? Simple. It doesn’t feel like marketing. That may sound counterintuitive since advertising is meant to stand out and capture the attention of audiences, but it should be a delightful experience, not intrusive or obnoxious. So, how do you know if your marketing is on the right track?

You make it about your audience, not about what you're selling.

It’s not that your industry (members and prospects) doesn’t care about cool features and everything that makes your association unique, they just care more about how it benefits them. In other words, they want to know, “what’s in it for me?” If your marketing is overloaded with general statistics and selling points that have nothing to do with your audiences actual pain points, you’re doing it wrong. First, focus on understanding the specific need(s) of your industry then show them how your product solves their problem.

Additionally, be mindful of the language you use when describing your association and your audience. If the narrative is your members need you to come save the day, those words will fall flat. Instead, make your members the hero of the story. Highlight their successes and accomplishments without making it about you. In doing so, your marketing will be far more impactful.

You embrace the human side of marketing.

You’re a savvy marketer when you view people as unique individuals with needs, wants and desires. At the end of the day, members and prospects are just people who want to laugh, have fun, and even cry sometimes. Don’t be afraid to appeal to their emotions. It can create a meaningful connection that builds a lasting bond between your audience and your brand.

This is especially true in B2B marketing where the content tends to be more technical in nature. But professionals are people, too. Just because they are a doctor, lawyer, or engineer doesn't mean they leave their humanity at the door when they enter the workplace. Use this to your advantage to stand out from the competition. For example, look at how this cyber security company uses puppets to sell their services. Now, you may not need furry creatures to get your message across, but don’t be afraid to be different and step out of your comfort zone by testing out new tactics and techniques. You may be surprised by the results.

You recognize the value of data.

In today’s digital age, you have to know more than just the "four Ps" to run a successful marketing campaign. Associations expect a return on their investment and therefore hold marketing teams to a high standard. That’s where the importance of data comes in.

You know you're a savvy marketer when you rely on data and insights to drive your decisions. The ability to make sense of large data sets and extract valuable insights is a core competency that all organizations must possess. Establishing benchmarks and KPIs are critical to measuring success along with constantly monitoring and analyzing the performance of your efforts.

You get the power of social media.

By itself, social media marketing is not enough to drive business results; however, it is an essential part of the overall marketing strategy. The fact is, your audience is active on social media everyday. Why wouldn't you want your association to have a presence on these same platforms?  It's an easy way to build community, engage with customers, increase website traffic, and enhance brand recognition. It's just smart business. But don't take our word for it, here are a few stats from Sprout Social to prove it:

  • 55% of users learn about new brands on social media
  • 68% of users agree that social media enables them to interact with brands 
  • 78% of users are willing to buy from a brand after having a positive experience with them on social

You know how to be nimble and flexible.

If we’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s that life is unpredictable. While we do our best to plan ahead and prepare for potential challenges, such as shifts in the marketplace or a recession, we must be able to adapt. One of the greatest strengths of a savvy marketer is they know when something is no longer working, and they change their course of action. Whether it's modifying the message, removing a tactic, or revising the strategy altogether, they do whatever it takes to achieve the desired outcome.

Being informed about industry trends and current events that impact the market will help you make more strategic decisions. 

You take calculated risks and are not afraid to try new things.

The most dangerous phrase in organization is, “This is the way we’ve always done it.” How many organizations do you know that have failed or remained stagnant because they refused to change? Savvy marketers embrace disruption and are okay with going against the status quo. They are inquisitive, innovative, and find creative solutions to problems. When it comes to technology, they view it as a tool to make them more effective and efficient and tend to be early adopters.

If you find yourself hesitant or resistant to change, start small. Pull a group of trusted colleagues together to talk about what is and is not working and ask how can you do things differently? By getting outside perspectives, you may be able to identify areas where you can improve. Next, experiment with different messaging, design styles, trends, and more to see what works. Finally, go out and test these ideas in the marketplace. 

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